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

On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 12:11:39PM -0500, Eric Cooper wrote:
> 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.

Probably correct.

> 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
> learn.

Well both make some sense.

Certainly USB support is much better in linux, as is networking.

Of course I am not sure the kernel can repair the filesystem either, so
unless you intend to boot a userspace to do the repair before switching
to the desired kernel, I don't see that being solved.  The kernel might
deal slightly better with an unclean filesystem than u-boot, but maybe not
by much.  Of course if the filesystem is ever updated in a non backwards
compatible way (a few filesystems over the years have done such things)
then your boot kernel might stop working (although u-boot very will
might do so as well).

Len Sorensen

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