Using 3rd Party Commercial/Free BIOS With XO Laptops
quozl at laptop.org
Tue Sep 25 08:25:32 EDT 2007
Note: I do not represent OLPC, I'm a volunteer contributor.
On Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 03:50:29AM -0700, big one wrote:
> Because XO Laptops are sold to the public using "Buy 2 Get 1", IMO
> there should be a warning to buyer that the machine does not have
> standard BIOS and cannot run unmodified Linux, BSD, Haiku or other
> Operating System.
Thank you for your opinion. The same can be said of a host of other
products, such as those from other companies, like MacBooks from Apple,
or embedded routers. I do not agree with you. OLPC should not state
what cannot run, because the list could not be defined. It would be
best to stick to specifications of what *can* be done than what *cannot*
be done. I am not familiar with the consumer law involved. If this
becomes a quagmire of risk, then I would recommend that the units not be
sold to the public at all.
> Can the consumer buy additional commercial BIOS from 3rd party or use
> Free BIOS for OLPC to enable support for standard Linux, BSD, Haiku
No, not really. There are no other commercial suppliers at this time,
at least none that I am aware of. If you know of one, please let us
It is intended that the distributors of any alternate operating system
take what steps are necessary to port it to the XO. If you want Haiku,
then go ask Haiku Inc. Is not our problem. If you want Windows, then
go ask Microsoft. Is really not our problem.
> Can the customer buy the XO laptops with 3rd party BIOS already
> installed on the hardware, because flashing BIOS is a dangerous
> operation for newbie users?
No, and I don't think that should be an option. In my opinion an
alternate BIOS origin is a waste of effort, and I'd rather the units not
be sold than have to go through this level of effort.
Besides, I do not agree with you that flashing BIOS is a dangerous
operation. The current BIOS can reflash itself, *and* it knows how to
check for AC and battery power before it starts. This level of
reliability was designed in, to give better safety than the typical
desktop PC. It is important that it be safe, since we expect reflash to
be done by kids in the deployed countries. Your experience with other
designs is of only historic interest.
> What kind of BIOS compatible with OLPC, is it Phoenix / Award,
> American Megatrend, Unified Extensible Firmware (UEFI), GNUFI, U-Boot,
> OpenBIOS or other BIOS?
OpenFirmware or OpenBIOS.
Note that the source code is available, and if you choose to do so then
you too could become a provider of a BIOS. I don't see the point in
that though, and there's a risk of division of effort. It is the kids
that matter. Your whinge about firmware is a potential distraction,
which is why I'm answering rather than let it bother the people who are
busy. ;-) I do hope my answers have been helpful.
James Cameron mailto:quozl at us.netrek.org http://quozl.netrek.org/
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