Thank you for writing an excellent introduction to network booting (Jay Sissom's ``Booting from the Ether'', ELJ September/October 2001 issue). EtherBoot has supported building PXE images since June 25, 2001, so you can avoid both the CD/Floppy and BpBatch. This would have eliminated a whole column of text describing the workarounds.
Sissom responds: Etherboot supported PXE for over a year, but it only supported the sis900 chip since June 2001. The article was written in April 2001, and I didn't realize there was a new release until the magazine was printed. Hopefully the other method will help others as they try to boot other hardware from the network. Thanks. [For more information: http://www.etherboot.org/]
Linux is great for embedded developers and allows for the development of cool technology more quickly and cheaply. But, I have seen no discussion of what the use of Linux does for the end user of a product with an embedded OS. The GPL certainly gives the consumer the right to get the source code, but does it also imply that one can get the information and tools required to modify, recompile and reload the embedded software? If product developers are able to use the embedded nature of a device to close out modification of the enclosed GPLed software, then that cool Linux TV/VCR/phone/toaster might as well be running WinCE or some other proprietary OS.
Stephen A. Wood
We agree. A consumer electronics product is just a development kit that doesn't know it yet. Please hack one to make it do something cool, and write us an article. Vendors, a hacker's web site like http://geek.empeg.com/ is a cheap and effective way to help your fans understand and advocate your product. See ``Three Years in Embedded Linux: an Interview with Hugo Fiennes'' in our July/August 2001 issue.