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1. Introduction

By the time I've finished working on this project, an important question raised : How to respond best to three types of readers, my project manager, Linuxbios community and my university teachers ? Three documents wouldn't have matched the synthesis so I made up one single document, complete, in constant worry to stick to this peculiar audience without breaking its structure.

In order to fullfill Linuxbios copyright statement, this project has its own codename : Mangrove LinuxBios. In this document, I'll use Linuxbios term to consider Mangrove Linuxbios in Linuxbios. In fact, Mangrove Linuxbios is entierely what was Linuxbios when I worked on it, except concretly one Linuxbios source code update.

It has started a year ago, in a french compagny named Mangrove Systems. I've started a free BIOS research concerning embedded devices or devices running in a contraint milieu.

Of course, I want to render a complete overview of this project. I had a short project time and I've underlined the pros and the cons with the same objectivity.

Based upon my experiments, this is a first release, a synthesis, a snapshot taken from a wide project which constantly self redefines. This document thus follows the same rules. From what I know of, it is still up to date, otherwise I'am sure your relevant input would make it so.

New code names will appear as per industry standard guidelines to emphasize the state-of-the-art-ness of this document.

1.1 Copyrights

LinuxBios Licence

LinuxBios is release under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2, June 1991 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

This software and ancillary information (herein called SOFTWARE) called LinuxBIOS is made available under the terms described here. The SOFTWARE has been approved for release with associated LA-CC Number 00-34. Unless otherwise indicated, this SOFTWARE has been authored by an employee or employees of the University of California, operator of the Los Alamos National Laboratory under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S.Government has rights to use, reproduce, and distribute this SOFTWARE. The public may copy, distribute, prepare derivative works and publicly display this SOFTWARE without charge, provided that this Notice and any statement of authorship are reproduced on all copies. Neither the Government nor the University makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any liability or responsibility for the use of this SOFTWARE.

If SOFTWARE is modified to produce derivative works, such modified SOFTWARE should be clearly marked, so as not to confuse it with the version available from LANL.

Copyright 2000, Ron Minnich, Advanced Computing Lab, LANL,rminnich at lanl dot gov

This document's Licence

Copyright (c) 2004-2005 Mathieu Deschamps

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts; provided is mentioned this document licence.

1.2 Disclaimer

Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.

All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals. Some mainboard manipulation, such as chip desoldering requieres some electronic knowledge and precautions otherwise you risk major hardware problems such as chip smelting. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !

This document sums up a RD work based upon experimental tests. Thus I put some hypotesis, if you spot relevant mistakes or such, I will welcome your mail. Also in this projectbook, I come franckly speaking on what annoyed me. I hope it won't hurt anyone, I know how much it is a time-blackhole working on this type of project.

1.3 News

This is the first release.

Note that you can find the latest version number of the sgml template I derivated and used to create this document. It is fine. This template can be gleaned from this plan entry if you finger this Nyx account.

Also, the latest version of this template will be available on this web space on Nyx in a number of formats:

Note that paper sizes vary in the world, A4 and US letter differ significantly.

1.4 Credits

I would like to express my sinceriest acknowledgements to

Laurent Texier, Mangrove Systems

Stephane Durand, Mangrove Systems

and all the Mangrove Systems Developpers

Ron Minnich at Linuxbios project

Stefan Reinauer at Linuxbios project and Openbios project

and the Linuxbios community

Stein Gjoen at Linux Documentation Project

Martin Wheeler at Linux Documentation Project

and the LDP community

1.5 References and papers

This project book reflects a work base upon organisation's and compagny's projects, papers, debates.

1.6 Reading tracks

I know how convinient it is for you to read HOWTOs. But that is rather a project book, so I have adapted it for you from the very initial version to look like a HOWTO. I propose in this project book two reading tracks :

Either you read it all and, apart from getting the spirit of this RD project, you'll know why and how it's important to derivate a specific Linuxbios branch for your Linuxbios project. Most readers should run on this track because prototyping a Linuxbios is made simpler with a step-by-step approch;

Or you can jump directly to the HOWTO section explaining how to build a BIOS for EPIA-M motherboard. This is to say that, either you already read enough paper on the subject, either you consider yourself well experiencied in Linuxbios and in Bios matter, in the boot process and the multiboot chaining, in the linux kernel customization and in VIA EPIA specifications. Also note that, if you have any other hardware, you would certainly prefer the first track.

Please keep on mind, this has to be accessible to newbies. To do so there is a glossary and actually this document is full of advices, precautions, examples, schemes and clarifications --surely too many for experts !. But be aware that you can find pointers along this document to go directly to your specific point.

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