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Re: Using Linux as a boot loader -- status and RFH

On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:03:49AM -0500, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> Is using an updated u-boot build with the ability to boot a kernel from
> mass storage inconvinent for some reason?  After all there is u-boot
> support for disks, and filesystems and loading kernel images as well as
> tftp boot support and such.

I don't have anything against u-boot, and in fact I helped get support
for the DockStar into the current version. 

But the DockStar is a good example of a trend in embedded devices:
things like RAM and flash size are no longer the main constraint, and
access to features (flash filesystems, USB and PCIE devices, etc.) is
more desirable than ever.  With no disrespect to the developers there,
I think u-boot is doomed to always playing catch-up with Linux in
these areas.

Two concrete examples that have inconvenienced me:

* The USB support is somewhat flaky -- the plug computer mailing lists
  are full of threads about which flash drive brands work for booting
  and which don't.

* The ubifs support is read-only, so u-boot can't repair a ubifs
  partition after a power failure. That means I can't reliably keep my
  kernel in a ubifs root partition, although I'd like to.

Both of these are non-problems in Linux.  Anyway, I'm not out to
convince anyone to "defect" from using u-boot -- I'm just
experimenting with an alternative approach and I'll share what I

Eric Cooper             e c c @ c m u . e d u

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