PXE bios update, was RE: [Beowulf] Performance issue - CPU Intel 00/02

Velu Erwan erwan at seanodes.com
Fri Jul 22 01:08:37 PDT 2005

> where the text file settings.txt contains all of the settings
> for the BIOS that's being loaded.  Unfortunately I've yet to encounter
> a single BIOS utility that provides anything remotely near this level
> of functionality.  
I was discussing about that with a Tyan tech which told me Tyan was
about to release such tool... I was a few months ago.. Still nothing...

Bios and theirs tools quality is not very good for many manufacturer.

How many allow you to flash the bios from Linux ? How many allow to
configure it via Linux ? How many fills the dmi table with some usefull
information ? How many create a bios with a wrong DSDT table ? (not
usefull on clusters but linked to the bios quality problems cf
http://acpi.sf.net for more informations)

In the cluster-world this issues are really important and I'm always
disapointed when I discover a big bios bug. If I'm able to find it in
10mns the bios manufacturer is also able to do it. It sounds like
motherboard manufacturers releases to much mobo to provide a good
quality bios. Many of them releases 5 or 6 versions before havine a
stable bios !

As "John Hearns" said, the linuxbios issue could be very interesting but
to few mobo are supported yet :( 
I hope as RMS said in http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/supportlinuxbios.html
that many manufacturer will help the development of the linuxbios
project. It could become a nice alternative to this issues like how to
keep your configuration after a bios update.

I just remember, if your systems are strictly all the same you can
update one by hand, make it configuration and save the nvram using a the
dd command. dd if=/dev/nvram of=nvram. Then you update the bios of the
next machine and the update the nvram by dd the nvram you saved.
dd if=nvram of=/dev/nvram.
Then you reboot, if your systems are the same, it may works : if not the
bios will says that your checksum is invalid (you must reconfigure it).


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