Google Summer of Code and LinuxBIOS

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We're happy to announce that the LinuxBIOS project will have the possibility to take part in this year's Google Summer of Code™ (GSoC) program. coresystems GmbH was accepted as a mentoring organization for the GSoC and will mentor all LinuxBIOS-related projects.

There is a GSoC page in the LinuxBIOS wiki which collects a few ideas for student projects, among others:

  • Booting Windows and other Operating Systems in LinuxBIOS
  • Port Grub2 to work in LinuxBIOS
  • SCSI booting in LinuxBIOS
  • CMOS Config / Device Tree Browser Payload
  • LinuxBIOS graphical port creator
  • Open Firmware payload for LinuxBIOS
  • GNUFI or TianoCore payloads
  • Boot OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD or other free OSes
  • Improve Linux as a BIOS

Feel free to post more ideas and wishlist items to the LinuxBIOS mailing list.

If you're interested in applying for a project, you need to hurry up. The deadline is March 24, 2007!

LinuxBIOS with X11 server, completely in Flash ROM

LinuxBIOS and X11 screenshot 1
LinuxBIOS and X11 screenshot 2

Now, this is one cool project (and video) from Alan Carvalho de Assis (and friends), as announced on the LinuxBIOS mailing list: LinuxBIOS with X Server Inside (YouTube video).

The setup: LinuxBIOS + a Linux kernel + BusyBox + a tiny X11 server (Kdrive) + the Matchbox window manager + rxvt.

All of this in a normal BIOS chip (2 MB), without any hard drive connected (who needs hard drives when you can fit everything in the BIOS just fine)...

The thing boots into BusyBox in less than 6 seconds, then in ca. 2 seconds into X11 + rxvt. There's probably even room for improvement there...

It seems there will be an OGG Theora version of the video soon, and I hope a small HOWTO about the project, too.

More LinuxBIOS-related screenshots and videos are available in the wiki btw., and a bunch more will follow soon...

LinuxBIOS talk video recording from FOSDEM 2007

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Highly recommended for anybody who might be even remotely interested in LinuxBIOS:

There's a video recording (OGG, 234 MB) of the LinuxBIOS talk at FOSDEM 2007 by LinuxBIOS-founder Ron Minnich.

The talk is about LinuxBIOS, its history, how it works, what the main challenges are, where it's used today and what the future will likely hold. Watch it, you won't regret it.

And if you want to know more, or maybe even consider contributing, head over to linuxbios.org or contact the mailing list.

Capturing and replaying console/terminal sessions with script and scriptreplay

Have you ever wondered how you can easily capture a console session on Linux (and probably most other Unix-like OSes) without the need for special video recording software?

Here's how: you can use the script(1) command (part of the bsdutils package).

  • Start the script command. Without parameters the sessions will be logged to a file called typescript. You can also supply a filename on the command line: script mysession.log.
  • Type whatever you want to record...
  • End the recording session with exit or CTRL-d.
  • You can now view the file with less -r mysession.log (it contains line feeds, escape sequences etc., so a simple text viewer will probably display garbage). You can even print it with lpr(1). Or simply display it on the terminal with cat mysession.log.

An even cooler feature is that you can replay a script with the correct timing information:

  • First you have to also record the timing information using the -t switch: script -t 2>mysession.timing mysession.log.
  • You can then replay the script: scriptreplay mysession.timing mysession.log.

See the script(1) and scriptreplay(1) manpages for more details.

FOSDEM interview with LinuxBIOS founder Ronald G. Minnich

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A few interesting interviews with speakers at the upcoming FOSDEM 2007 have been published.

I especially recommend reading the interview with Ronald G. Minnich, the founder of the LinuxBIOS project.

Here are the questions he was asked:

  • What's your goal for your talk at FOSDEM?
  • We saw the mention on the LinuxBIOS website about one million devices shipped with LinuxBIOS. Could you tell us more about these devices?
  • What kind of support have you received from chipset and motherboard manufacturers so far?
  • Could LinuxBIOS theoretically replace all BIOSes, of are there certain limitations to be taken into account?
  • Could you tell us a bit more about the BIOS side of the OLPC laptop?
  • What exactly is the difference between "easy" hardware to write a BIOS for, and the "tough" hardware?
  • What are your thoughts on the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)?

Answers here ;-)

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