[Beowulf] Repenting for sins against Dell (on good Friday, no less)

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Fri Apr 10 09:51:53 PDT 2009

>> HP distributes linux-based firmware updates, but only for add-in devices
>> (scsi controllers, BMC, etc), not the bios itself...
> Erm, I just (as in, this week) upgraded the BIOS of a batch of DL160 G5s from 
> within Linux.

nice.  for a lot of models, they make available a dos/win exe
that produces a bootable floppy image.  kind of a pain.

I wonder whether there are any legal or technical reasons to 
prevent something like this:
 	- simple drivers for windows and linux that let you
 	write the bios code as well as access settings.
 	- bios update containing a binary blob of code,
 	with appropriate checksums, etc.
 	- xml-ish description of the bios settings, something
 	<setting name="scrub rate">
 		<description>rate at which a single cacheline of memory
 		will be verified and written back </description>
 		<options default="10ms">
 			<opt val=1> 1ms </opt>
 			<opt val=2> 10ms </opt>
 			<opt val=3> 100ms </opt>
 			<opt val=4> 1000ms </opt>
 		<location type="byte"> 0x43 </location>

being able to check and interpret bios settings (from the normal OS)
would be a major advantage.  being able to set them would be very nice
as well, even if the change didn't take effect until the bios ran again
(next boot).

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