Bitfrost and dual-boot

Albert Cahalan acahalan at
Fri May 30 02:34:07 EDT 2008

On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 1:15 AM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at> wrote:
> On Thu, May 29, 2008 at 8:45 PM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at> wrote:
>> On Thu, May 29, 2008 at 5:07 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at> wrote:
>>> On Thu, May 29, 2008 at 10:48 AM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at> wrote:
>>>> I do believe that, practically speaking, all of this is moot.
>>>> Windows uses both SD card storage and the NAND flash storage.
> I haven't seen it and you haven't seen it. What's your source?

As I said in a previous email, my source is Mitch on IRC.
It also just makes sense; I've long doubted the idea that
the NAND (a valuable resource) would just be wasted by
a Windows install.

> Are you
> talking about the version in the Windows-only trials during the next
> month or two?

I'm talking about everything.

Use of NAND flash is a Windows feature that doesn't have
anything to do with the choice of firmware. Even if we get
to keep Open Firmware (a miracle), Windows can still use
the NAND flash.

>> Why do you keep believing that dual-boot XOs will actually ship?
> Because Microsoft and OLPC announced dual-boot. Because Microsoft
> can't buy XOs for resale, and OLPC has no intention of shipping
> Windows-only XOs. Egypt wants dual-boot.

Many people have been burned by believing similar words.
None of that info is trustworthy, all of it can change at any
time, and at least one of the parties has a very long track
record of being ruthless.

> OK, so Microsoft could arrange to wipe out Linux after delivery. Then
> what? Do you think that the world will stand still for that kind of
> overt sabotage? I can't imagine OLPC signing a contract that would
> allow it. I gather that you can. You're on crack, Albert.

You're putting words in my mouth now.

Wiping out Linux after delivery is certainly possible.
It would take the form of a helpful suggestion that
the user format the D: volume to make more space.

I can't imagine that a contract would mention it.

Still, I don't expect this at all. It would allow children
to try Linux. Microsoft doesn't work that way.
The laptops will be Linux-free from the start.

Not that booting Linux would be easy anyway;
remember that it is very hard to remove the SD card.

>> Windows XP is **using** the NAND storage.
>> There is no support for partitioning it. Even if both Linux and
>> OpenFirmware were to support such a thing, you'd have to get
>> Microsoft to agree to something that makes no business sense
>> at all.
> Sources, please.

Sure. See if you want source, proving that
there is no support for partitioning. You can also get source
for Open Firmware somewhere; use Google if you need it.

In case you meant the other kind of source (kind of rude)
to prove that Windows is using the NAND, I'll just have to
say that Mitch said so on IRC. It's also just plain silly to
think that Windows wouldn't use the NAND, both because
it is a valuable resource and to block competition.

> Who says what the dual-boot architecture will be? If
> you won't be able to run Linux after the first time you run Windows,
> as you seem to allege,

I don't know where you got that idea. Plain old Linux
will boot from a USB stick, but it won't be shipping
with the laptop. Since the NAND is in use by Windows,
there won't be a Linux to begin with.

> in what sense is this dual-booting? Are Mitch
> and Scott such technical idiots that they wouldn't spot this?

Right, it's not dual-booting. Dual-booting won't ship,
at least in large deployments.

>>> Also, I think you completely misunderstand the market. The ability to
>>> use Open FirmWare instead of a proprietary BIOS will be of intense
>>> interest to all PC vendors. I expect OFW to sweep through most of the
>>> market in no more than two or three years.
>> I can't imagine why. LinuxBIOS (now coreboot) didn't.
>> Even EFI didn't. Your wishes are not their wishes.
> Albert, I'm not talking to you any more until you start making sense.
> Linux BIOS never booted any Windows other than 2000 (with ADLO), and
> EFI isn't Open Source.

You think the PC vendors care that EFI isn't Open Source?
You think the PC vendors care that BIOS isn't Open Source?
Really, they have NO desire for Open Source firmware.

That's your desire, not theirs. Do not assume they think like you.

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