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'[EE]: Boot Rom for lan cards'
2002\05\28@105440 by Walter Stenger Sabat

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Hi all,

Wich type of Eproms work on lan cards as boot rom's? Does the same eprom work on
many diferent lan cards?

Regards,
Walter Stenger

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2002\05\28@111501 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Wich type of Eproms work on lan cards as boot rom's?
>Does the same eprom work on many diferent lan cards?

You will need to get the correct eprom for your card, as the code in them
differs depending on the chipset on the card. I would think you would need
to get the correct manufacturers one for your card, I would not trust one
for another manufacturers card with the same chip set.

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2002\05\28@141409 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 28 May 2002, Walter Stenger Sabat wrote:

>Hi all,
>
>Wich type of Eproms work on lan cards as boot rom's? Does the same eprom
>work on many diferent lan cards?

There is a standard for this. The EPROM code will run on any lan card that
accepts EPROMs of that size and supports the standard. The standard is
elaborated by Intel afaik. I used etherboot/netboot (Linux/BSD and other
systems, including Windows and DOS) EPROMs (actually EEPROMs). They are
drop-in compatible once you set up the lan card to recognize your EPROM
type and map it at boot time.

Peter

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2002\05\28@143110 by Peter L. Peres

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I forgot to mention that the program that prepares the boot EPROM writes
the correct lan chipset driver into th card. Alan B. Pearce was correct on
this, my bad. It's just that with the tools mentioned it is a simple
one-button action.

Peter

On Tue, 28 May 2002, Peter L. Peres wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\05\28@151539 by Tom Messenger

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OK. Here's my question about this.

Every lan card I've seen has a big empty dip socket. I gather from earlier
exchanges here that it is referred to as a boot eprom. So... what does it
do if it was installed? What sort of software would reside in it?

Tom M.

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2002\05\28@161040 by Rex Byrns

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part 1 1142 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

Some of the really old Novell boot roms had novell dos on them which would
boot the machine and make your network connection to get the rest. Most of
the scenarios where tightly integrated with the Server OS, (novell,
Lantastic, WWG) where boot ROMS where automatically detected and handled.  I
have not used one in 10 years.  I attached a link to a linux howto on the
subject.  Linux howto's often contain great info on the theory and 'insides'
of network method.



{Original Message removed}
part 2 241 bytes content-type:application/octet-stream; (decode)

part 3 144 bytes
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2002\05\28@162249 by Tom Messenger

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At 03:05 PM 5/28/02 -0500, Rex wrote:
>I attached a link to a linux howto on the
>subject.  Linux howto's often contain great info on the theory and 'insides'
>of network method.

Thanks. I'll check it out.

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2002\05\28@171714 by Olin Lathrop

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> Every lan card I've seen has a big empty dip socket. I gather from earlier
> exchanges here that it is referred to as a boot eprom. So... what does it
> do if it was installed? What sort of software would reside in it?

Usually it adds extensions to the bios so that the bios can boot off a
device connected to the card.  This is not of much value now that disks are
so cheap.


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Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2002\05\28@172611 by Matthew Fries

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I have only used the boot ROMs once in my life, but they seemed to work
OK.

The boot roms load networking protocols and transports, enough to get
connectivity with whatever network you are trying to connect to. In my
case, it was a really old Novell 3.12 server. The server actually stores
the OS that the CLIENT uses to boot from. This way you can have hard
drives (and floppy drives) totally absent from your workstations.

The roms get executed before the the boot sector on the HD or FD would
have been read anyway.

Mind you, this was 10+ years ago, but it worked so well then, I don't
expect it would have changed much since then.

On Tue, 28 May 2002, Olin Lathrop wrote:

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2002\05\28@172621 by Mark Samuels

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Very valuable for remote-booting little embedded pentium systems with no
local nv storage!

At 05:15 PM 5/28/02 -0400, you wrote:
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ARMA Design
Tel:(858) 373-1320
Fax:(858) 373-1325
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Web: http://www.armanet.com



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2002\05\28@213346 by Bob Ammerman

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A little note about boot roms:

Nothing limits the boot rom to containing code that has to do with
networking. You could burn anything into it: password protection, for
example.

The BIOS scans the memory between the end of  video memory and the bottom of
BIOS looking for a ROM signature. When it sees such it executes an
initialization routine in the ROM. That initializer can hook interrupts, or
do just about anything else it wants to.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

2002\05\29@140520 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 28 May 2002, Tom Messenger wrote:

>OK. Here's my question about this.
>
>Every lan card I've seen has a big empty dip socket. I gather from earlier
>exchanges here that it is referred to as a boot eprom. So... what does it
>do if it was installed? What sort of software would reside in it?

Software that implements a BIOS extension and causes the machine to boot
from the network instead of from a disk. This makes it possible to boot a
diskless machine (or 10 or 100) from a server or several (on an intranet).
What exactly is booted depends on the whim of the admins, and ranges from
Unices to DOS (yes, MSDOS), and some versions of Windows. This kind of
machine is excellent for labs, secretary pools, sales terminals etc etc
because the admin can do everything remotely and the diskless machines are
relatively low cost and interchangeable. The server holds one copy of the
OS and it is replicated by the netowk as required for each system (of
course each needs a license unless it's a freebie like Linux, FreeBSD,
OpenBSD (haven't tried to netboot that one), or NetBSD). And the network
is already there in most cases.

The software in the EPROM consists of a lan card specific driver (supplied
by the lan maker on diskette or CD) and a bios extension/boot
manager/tftp/dhcp implementation that pretends to be a disk drive to the
BIOS and loads the whole operating system from the network if it is
selected for booting. A utility (see below @netboot) builds an EPROM image
on the fly and then you burn it or use a floppy for testing and then burn
it (the test floppy causes the machine to boot as if it had a EPROM in
it). There are several refinements, like graphical menus that allow one to
choose which server (!) and which OS to boot, and many many many bells and
whistles.

For a free implementation (that I have used), look for the
etherboot/netboot faq on the Internet.

Peter

PS: Imho M$ is trying to make a dollar out of a similar system with their
.net architecture, by essentially charging for programs and components
per-usage or some other such thing.

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2002\05\29@140528 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 28 May 2002, Olin Lathrop wrote:

>> Every lan card I've seen has a big empty dip socket. I gather from earlier
>> exchanges here that it is referred to as a boot eprom. So... what does it
>> do if it was installed? What sort of software would reside in it?
>
>Usually it adds extensions to the bios so that the bios can boot off a
>device connected to the card.  This is not of much value now that disks are
>so cheap.

It is of *inestimable* value if you have 100 machines with ever-crashing
OSes and you are the sysadmin or the business owner. The machines can
still have disks to keep local data, but they won't refuse to boot after
an oops, because the OS and other fragile things (like the boot sector and
the partition table) are elsewhere (on the server, usually a Novell or a
Unix host).

What's the reliability of a PC running a M$ OS (higher than MSDOS) in real
life ? 99% in 24 hours ? That means you will have to handle one crash per
day with 100 machines, every day (and two for each quiet day).

Peter

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