James A. Crippen james@unlambda.com
Wed Mar 6 22:29:01 2002

John Morrison <jm@mak.mak.com> writes:

> For the terminally curious, the ucode is loaded at 0x11000 (underneath
> the frame buffers in real-mode-accessible RAM so we can jump to it in
> real mode and then enable protected mode.  The load band I just stuck
> starting at 0x100000/1MB.  I can and probably should put it in high
> memory (there is a way to tell Etherboot to stick the bits at an
> offset with respect to the end of physical memory, whatever that
> happens to be at runtime).

Yeah, but doesn't this cause the problem of needing to know how much
memory you have?  I mean, we don't have virtual memory yet, so if you
stick something up at 1GB but you only have 256MB then you'll lose.
I'm not certain here, since I've no experience down there at the
highly ferrous level.

> \begin{excited-babbling}

\excused{\you}

> People would be able to:
>
> (1) go to www.rom-o-matic.com, and burn an Etherboot floppy in about
> 30 seconds,

I dunno, this might be too difficult for people.  You'd need to have a
CD that has drivers for all the modems and ethernet cards out there,
so that way people could boot the CD and have it go download the
appropriate floppy image.  Of course, they'd have to configure their
net connection first, and that would have to be automated for all the
people that don't know how to configure PPP and ethernet links.  Hmm.
How about we just give everyone a computer with E3 installed on it
already?  Then all they'd have to do would be to turn it on.  Of
course, they'd have to learn how to plug the cords into the right
sockets, so that might be more difficult than most people could
handle.  Hmm.  Let's just get rid of computers, since they're too
difficult for people to handle.  That sounds like a great solution.
And it would prevent the spread of child pornography on the net, too!

> (3) simply stick the uncompressed NBI in /tftpboot on a willing
> TFTP/DHCP server

Ooh, what if it's unwilling?  Hmm...  Computer rape?  Don't touch that
port!  No, I refuse to ACK you!!

> FYI, it only took about EIGHT SECONDS to load the NBI image over the
> 100Mbit/sec LAN.  It took much longer than that for my ancient,
> wheezing 200MHz machine to pass its BIOS POST checks.

Ancient?  Wheezing?  I have a 486DX2/50 (with PCI no less!) that wants
to talk to you.

> Seriously, though, this could be pretty cool.  I have to think there
> is real potential for educational institutions to retask those
> roomfulls of hard-to-manage diskful Windows and Linux PCs to being
> diskless LispMs.  It would be so incredibly easy if we did even a
> halfway-decent job.  (FYI, it is a pet peeve of mine that Lisp is not
> more widely taught in CS courses, and that therefore these graduates
> aren't as clued-in to what the Real Big Programming Issues are.)

This would essentially remove the complaint that "Lisp is too hard to
install and maintain."  But see the paragraph earlier. :^)

'james

--
James A. Crippen <james@unlambda.com> ,-./-.  Anchorage, Alaska,
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