Subject: Re: more tested peripherals on the TS-7200
To: None <>
From: Toru Nishimura <>
List: port-arm
Date: 01/10/2005 14:10:25
>> I've been trying to get a VGA card working, but most VGA cards present a
>> x86 DOS BIOS extension to properly initialize them, which can't really be
>> executed on ARM.
> Some firmware (eg, SRM for the Alpha, CFE for sbmips) includes enough
> of an x86 emulator to run the BIOS in VGA cards.  Is this an option you
> can consider with the firmware you have in your boards?  

Cyclone firmware for Chalice/simtech EBSA285 CATS ATX board of UK
can run VGA console handsome by emulating x86 instructions inside VGA
circuit.  Probaby it's time to consider alternative firmwares.  Small number
of portable, feature-rich, and open source monitor/firmware available these
days.  Here is the list of widely ported and most popular ones;

- RedBoot from RedHat; it's eCos derivative,
- PPCboot/Uboot from DENX software; the source code tree contains x86
emulator amd miniture USB stack sufficient enough to run USB storage.
- PMON from Algorithmics; MIPS oriented, now defuncted, but still useful.
- PMON2000 by Pefo, the man ported NetBSD to R4000 first time.  Internal
construct was greatly modified, most code was imported from OpenBSD.

I think it's worth considering to hand-craft LIBSA based monitor.  Hardly
recognized by outsiders, NetBSD source code tree has the rich set of
code named libsa to build pre-boot runtime (monitor/firmware).  Originally
invented to have intermediate (1st or 2nd stage) bootloader, it have gradually
accumulated functionality.  By definition, it's a best fit for NetBSD.  I've built
NFS bootloader for my case.  The versatility was proven astonishing.
Development efficency was never better.  NFS read payload is 1024, twice
large of TFTP, and kernel can be placed at the top of exported NFS tree just
as DISKLESS configuration.  No /tftpboot required.  The cycle time to build-try
is less than 10 seconds (!)  Just type "nbmake && cp netbsd /NFSROOT"
and press reset switch, then see what goes.  It costed only 48KB in size.
I consider to add useful features like NOR/NAND storage management
when kernel development become stable.

Kudo to Jesse Off, BTW.  Your HW is probably most useful $149.

Toru Nishimura/ALKYL Technology, a NetBSD company