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Re: About firmware facilities

From: Michal Suchanek
Subject: Re: About firmware facilities
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 22:47:52 +0200

2009/9/14 Brendan Trotter <address@hidden>:
> Hi,
> On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 4:41 AM, Pavel Roskin <address@hidden> wrote:
>> On Tue, 2009-09-15 at 04:27 +0930, Brendan Trotter wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:02 AM, Robert Millan <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> > Well, you have the freedom to disagree with anything we do and bring your
>>> > customized GRUB to a different direction :-)
>>> >
>>> > Anyhow, my priority for GRUB is strong driver-based support.  We could 
>>> > recruit
>>> > someone to develop the framework in next year's GSoC (unless somebody 
>>> > steps
>>> > in, of course).
>>> Why stop there?
>>> If proprietory ethernet ROMs aren't good enough, then what about
>>> proprietory SCSI ROMs, and proprietory firmware/BIOS?
>> We are already doing it.  There is functional ATA support, USB support
>> is under development.
> But, are you doing it for valid technical reasons?

Many BIOSes are undeniably broken without any upgrade path provided by
the original hardware manufacturer.

On the hand, many more BIOSes are usable.

If you think of the BIOS as a part of the hardware then the question
is if there is value in supporting broken hardware. There are also
numerous bugs in the silicon of many (probably most) PCs which are
worked around in drivers or by not using a particular hardware

It may be more practical to throw away a piece of deficient or
sub-spec hardware if it is easily replaced but many people are in a
situation when they have dozens of systems with a particular defect.

Using native ATA drivers in a boot loader might be good way around
problems with BIOS drive size limitations and the like or it may just
bring different problems. We will know only when grub2 is widely
deployed on a wide variety of systems.

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the firmware might be
able to initialize and use obscure devices for which grub does not
have drivers and on which more traditional boot loaders would work. Be
it disks, networking devices or anything else.



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