In the LinuxBIOS tree there are currently ports to 13 different mainboards. LinuxBIOS has been ported to both x86 and the Alpha hardware architectures. It has run on the AMD Athlon, AMD Duron, Pentium II, Pentium III, Alpha 211264 CPUs, ALI m1631, Digital Tsunami, AMD 760, AMD 760MP, Intel 440BX, Intel 440GX, VIA VT8601, SiS540, SiS550, SiS630 and SiS730 chipsets. And this is just the code that has been finished and placed in the main LinuxBIOS tree. Other ports are still in progress and haven't been committed as of this writing. So while the hardware support is limited, the list is growing. LinuxBIOS currently is not tied to any specific chipset, vendor or processor architecture.
The quality of the hardware support varies. On the chipset front, support for SiS chipsets is very good. Both Intel and AMD have a standard policy of documenting their chipsets so the support at both is pretty good. Via does not publicly document their newer chipsets, making support here a challenge.
On the processor front, Compaq has made the important details public, so supporting Alpha processors is doable. Development for the Alpha has not been a high priority, however, because the Alpha is an expensive processor with a dubious future.
The Pentium II and Pentium III are fairly well documented in Intel manuals, except for the L2 cache initialization of their slot processors (the L2 cache initialization is now supported). The AMD Athlon and Duron are not well supported because AMD hasn't publicly documented everything that needs to be set up for their processors.
Support from the board manufacturer isn't necessary because, most of the time, components on a motherboard can be identified by just looking at it.
Board manufacturers generally are interested in supporting only one firmware for their motherboards. As LinuxBIOS currently does not provide a compatibility layer for booting other operating systems besides Linux (notably Windows), there hasn't been much interest from board manufacturers in deploying LinuxBIOS in its current form.
LinuxBIOS provides an innovative look at the job of firmware, how it is structured, written and licensed. As machines become increasingly integrated, LinuxBIOS is rising to meet the demand for greater code reuse and flexibility. If the snowballing interest in the technology is any indication, it looks to have a bright future.
Eric Biederman (email@example.com) is a software engineer for Linux NetworX, focusing on LinuxBIOS and helping with cluster management tool development. When not deeply involved in LinuxBIOS, Eric reads science fiction, plays with DOSEMU and hikes around the Wasatch Mountains just outside of Salt Lake City.
|Happy Birthday Linux||Aug 25, 2016|
|ContainerCon Vendors Offer Flexible Solutions for Managing All Your New Micro-VMs||Aug 24, 2016|
|Updates from LinuxCon and ContainerCon, Toronto, August 2016||Aug 23, 2016|
|NVMe over Fabrics Support Coming to the Linux 4.8 Kernel||Aug 22, 2016|
|What I Wish I’d Known When I Was an Embedded Linux Newbie||Aug 18, 2016|
|Pandas||Aug 17, 2016|
- Happy Birthday Linux
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- ContainerCon Vendors Offer Flexible Solutions for Managing All Your New Micro-VMs
- Updates from LinuxCon and ContainerCon, Toronto, August 2016
- What I Wish I’d Known When I Was an Embedded Linux Newbie
- NVMe over Fabrics Support Coming to the Linux 4.8 Kernel
- New Version of GParted
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Tor 0.2.8.6 Is Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide