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Re: Debian-installer, older hardware, boot loaders, miboot & amiboot & ..

On Sun, Mar 28, 2004 at 10:30:23PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Sven Luther wrote:
> >  1) A description in text form of what the individual bits of this 1K
> >  boot sector does, and what is needed for miboot booting.
> >  2) a small C program or shell script which generate said 1K boot
> >  sector from some kind of more formal version of the above description.
> If you can document the functionality of the code (and "this instruction
> followed by this instruction followed by this instruction" isn't good
> enough - describe what's happening) and if someone else then writes an
> implementation based on that and releases it under a free license, we
> can ship it.

Well, there are only 3-7 or so mac rom os calls. I don't know exactly
what they do, but i guess that i could figure out.

Basically the aim of this code if to call the mac os rom to initialize
some stuff, and to load the stage 2 compiler.

I have not seen the code, so if someone describe this in detail to me, I
can then write a free reimplementation.

Now, we probably don't have the toolchain to do this, and a full cross
compiler for a handfull of instructions is not worth it.

I guess a small programm with a lookup table for those used instructions
should do as well as a full blown compiler, right ?

And if we go to that, if i use an hex editor to edit the stuff, and give
the description on how to do this in a detailed text description, it
would be free enough. The source would be the description, and the
toolchain the hex editor.

> >This doesn't solve the other problem, and namely the fact that miboot
> >and other boot loaders are not buildable from main without a
> >considerable cross compiler development effort, which may not be worth
> >it.
> Yes, that's somewhat more of an issue. I'd expect amiboot to be
> buildable without excessive effort, although the Amiga includes aren't

Includes are no problem, since they can't usually be copyrighteable, at
least not those involved here. You have to strip all comments though.
This is what the FSF told me when i investigated about the RDB code in

> Free. We can't really ship amiboot as part of d-i anyway - it's a
> loadlin equivilent, not a syslinux one. Amiga-lilo used to exist and
> could be installed into the RDB. I'd be interested to know what sort of
> state that was in. It's a significantly saner alternative.

Yeah, but nobody is interested enough to have a go at it. Roman Zippel
has it running on his box, just ask him. Or maybe it was Geert, don't


Sven Luther

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