Subject: Re: Hardware detection and custom kernel build
To: Thierry Laronde <>
From: Matthew Orgass <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 03/06/2004 16:25:19
On 2004-03-06 wrote:

> 1) What are the limits people want to put on the bootloader? The natural
> tendancy is (for GRUB and others) to add more and more feature but this
> will simply make the bootloader another kernel. But the ability to list
> the hardware, access ressources via the network are useful one, since
> this will allow to use machines with small memories, when a kernel with
> a bunch of useless drivers will be unable to fit in this very memory.

  I am not a NetBSD developer and do not speak for anyone else.  That
being said, I believe the general NetBSD philosophy on bootloaders is to
do as little as is necessary to get to the kernel.  However, I think there
is interest in making the kernel itself more useful as a bootloader.
Some MIPS ports have a "kloader" that makes it possible to load a new
kernel (currently used mostly to reboot to a new kernel when a real reboot
would cause unfriendly ROM code to be executed).  Using a real kernel as a
bootloader opens up many more boot possibilities, and efforts made to
reduce the memory consumption of the kernel when used this way may have
other uses as well.  I suspect that even on low memory machines the memory
needed to run the system when up finally is likely to be greater than the
memory needed to find and load a new kernel.

  The sysutils/adjustkernel package can create a custom kernel config from
the boot log (I haven't actually used this so I don't know how good it
is), although the only reasonable method of generating the final kernel at
present is to compile a new one.

Matthew Orgass