On Fri, 2005-01-21 at 17:56 -0800, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 21, 2005 at 04:57:05PM -0800, Karl Hegbloom wrote:
> > Great response so far... any input on the implementation decisions I
> > mention?
> I don't much like the idea of creating a partition for this by default.
> It's a lot of complexity in the default installation, just to make a very
> rare use case more convenient.
It would not be a partition, but rather an image file. On the System
Rescue CD (http://www.sysresccd.org ; please try it) there is a program
called 'memdisk' that is booted by 'isolinux', and it in turn loads the
append initrd=/bootdisk/freedos.img floppy
I have succeeded in booting FreeDOS via Grub by copying the
'bootdisks/freedos.img' and 'isolinux/memdisk' files from the System
Rescue CD (v 0.2.15) into /boot, and then adding:
kernel /boot/memdisk floppy
... to the end of /boot/grub/menu.lst. It seems possible. What remains
to be tested is an actual BIOS flash update from a FreeDOS booted in
this fashion. I see no reason why it should not work, given that an
el-torito CD with a DOS floppy image will certainly work to reflash a
BIOS (I've done that). It seems to me that the flash utility will load
everything it needs into RAM, and then affect only some hardware
registers and I/O via CPU instructions. It should not interfere with
RAM resident floppy drive emulation, etc. If it did, I think the
el-torito or USB stick boot would fail as well. In other words, they've
thought of this already and it should work fine.
What I propose is that a package be created to supply 'memdisk' and then
a second one (? how should this all be arranged) to supply a freedos
image. The freedos one would "Provides" a virtual package, so that
hardware vendors can provide customized images that already contain the
BIOS flash utility and BIOS upgrade image. A generic freedos image
would contain only basic tools, and a simple script would provide a
command line interface to copy files into that freedos image, so a local
admin could easily add the flash utility and image to it.
I believe that 'update-grub' would need to be extended to support it, so
that it can be installed, used, then uninstalled again.
Certainly having a full fledged ;-p DOS partition on an Ubuntu system
would be silly. But what do you think of the scheme I outline above?
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