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LARTware - Blob, the boot loader


Blob, the boot loader

LART comes with its own boot loader, blob (Boot Loader OBject). Blob is copyrighted by Jan-Derk Bakker and Erik Mouw, and released with a slightly modified GNU GPL license. It's slightly modified because we don't consider the operating systems that blob boots as a derived work.

Blob can…

  • initialise the hardware (CPU speed, memory, interrupts, RS232)
  • boot a linux kernel and provide it with a ramdisk
  • download a kernel or a ramdisk to the LART
  • write a freshly downloaded kernel or ramdisk to flash memory
  • determine the memory layout (and tell the kernel about the results)
  • give a command line to the kernel

Blob wish list (which is also the to-do list) in no particular order:

  • Parameter block support
  • Ethernet support (boot from bootp+tftp)
  • Memory setting calculation utility
  • Z-modem download

Using blob on the LART

First connect a terminal (or a terminal emulator like miniterm or Seyon) to the LART's serial port. Use the following settings for your terminal: 9600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, no start bits (9600 8N1, a pretty standard setting for Unix systems). If possible, use VT100 terminal emulation. Switch on the power to the LART. The LART should respond with:

Consider yourself LARTed!
Running from internal Flash.
Starting the memory tester...
Zeroing memory...0xD0000000
Zeroing done. Testing for aliases...
Loading kernel from flash ....... done
Loading ramdisk from flash ............... done

blob version 1.0.0, Copyright (C) 1999 Jan-Derk Bakker and Erik Mouw.
blob comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; read the GNU GPL for details.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; read the GNU GPL for details.

Autoboot in progress, press <enter> to stop ...

If you don't press the <enter> key within 10 seconds, blob will automatically start the Linux kernel:

Starting kernel ...

Uncompressing Linux...done.
Now booting the kernel
...

However, if you press the <enter> key, you will get the blob prompt:

Autoboot aborted
Type "help" to get a list of commands
blob>

Blob has quite some commands, typing help will show you which:

Help for blob 1.0.0, the LART bootloader
The following commands are supported:
* boot [kernel options]      Boot Linux with optional kernel options
* download {kernel|ramdisk}  Download kernel or ramdisk image to RAM
* flash {kernel|ramdisk}     Copy kernel or ramdisk from RAM to flash
* help                       Get this help
* reload {kernel|ramdisk}    Reload kernel or ramdisk from flash to RAM
* reset                      Reset terminal
* speed                      Set download speed
* status                     Display current status
blob>

Have a look at the blob distribution for more information on the commands.

Getting blob

Get your copy of the blob source here:

blob-2.0.5-pre2.tar.gz7 Jan 2002 21:37:52165,485 bytes

The blob-2.0.5-pre2 development snapshot. Nice if you want to port blob to new architectures. (tar, gz)
blob-2.0.5-pre1.tar.gz5 Nov 2001 15:16:29140,969 bytes

The blob-2.0.5-pre1 development snapshot. Nice if you want to port blob to new architectures. (tar, gz)
blob-2.0.4.tar.gz30 Aug 2001 21:54:4394,438 bytes

The blob-2.0.4 source, which fixes a critical bug in blob-2.0.3. (tar, gz)
blob-2.0.3.tar.gz7 Aug 2001 21:45:4591,657 bytes

The long-awaited successor to blob-1.0.8-pre2. With features like the ability to write your own flash, automatic memory detection, and kernel command line support. LART owners still using older versions of blob should immediately upgrade to this version for an improved LARTing eXPerience. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.8-pre2.tar.gz14 Jul 2000 19:31:1381,613 bytes

The latest development release of blob. WARNING: this version is only tested on the LART, but it should also work on the Intel Assabet. This release is for blob developers, so they can test if it works with their boards. If you want to give it a shot, go ahead, but don't be surprised if it doesn't work. This version works with linux-2.3.99-pre8-rmk1-np1 and up, as well as with previous linux versions. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.8-pre1.tar.gz28 Jun 2000 19:34:2079,974 bytes

The latest development release of blob. WARNING: this version is not tested at all! This release is for blob developers, so they can test if it works with their boards. If you want to give it a shot, go ahead, but don't be surprised if it doesn't work. This version works with linux-2.3.99-pre8-rmk1-np1 and up, as well as with previous linux versions. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.7b.tar.gz2 Jun 2000 21:03:5876,099 bytes

The latest development release of blob. It is stable, though. This version works with linux-2.3.99-pre8-rmk1-np1 and up, as well as with previous linux versions. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.6.tar.gz25 Mar 2000 14:47:4073,895 bytes

The latest stable release of blob. Contains Johan's experimental clock scaling code, updated documentation, and the slightly modified license. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.5.tar.gz15 Jan 2000 19:52:0571,775 bytes

This version of blob fixes the flash write bug, and it compiles with the latest binutils. (tar, gz)
blob-1.0.0.tar.gz4 Oct 1999 22:45:4073,507 bytes

The first public version of blob with a bug in the Flash write routine. (tar, gz)

Or get a precompiled version:

precompiled-blob-2.0.4.gz30 Aug 2001 21:54:507,277 bytes

A precompiled binary of blob-2.0.4. Works directly on a LART. (gz)
precompiled-blob-2.0.3.gz7 Aug 2001 21:45:457,277 bytes

A precompiled binary of blob-2.0.3. Works directly on a LART. (gz)
precompiled-blob-1.0.8-pre2.gz12 Apr 2001 13:43:547,406 bytes

A precompiled binary of blob-1.0.8pre2. Works directly on a LART, though it should be useful on other SA-1100 platforms, too. YMMV, of course. Get the blob source for documentation. (gz)
precompiled-blob-1.0.7b.gz2 Jun 2000 21:08:247,365 bytes

A precompiled binary of blob-1.0.7b (the development version). Works directly on a LART, though it should be useful on other SA-1100 platforms, too. YMMV, of course. Get the blob source for documentation. (gz)
precompiled-blob-1.0.6.gz6 Apr 2000 11:00:297,365 bytes

A precompiled binary of blob-1.0.6. Works directly on a LART, though it should be useful on other SA-1100 platforms, too. YMMV, of course. Get the blob source for documentation. (gz)

SourceForge Logo The blob CVS tree is hosted at SourceForge.

Download utility

Richard Green got fed up with the tedious process of sending files to his LART and wrote a tool to `scratch his itch.' He has released it, free of charge & guarantees, so here it is:

lartload-0.2.c1 Feb 2002 18:27:3519,299 bytes

Lartload Utility to download blob, a kernel or a ramdisk to a LART and optionally store it in flash.

changes in 0.2:

  • Just took out a few funnies so it compiles ok with -Wall.
  • Also added command line option for terminal speed, as requested by Mr. Riker.
  • Also added -q option, because it looks useful for batch processing and impatient people.
  • Yet more - you can now talk to your lart after all the downloads have completed via a simple (note VERY simple!) terminal emulator.
lartload-0.1.c28 Jan 2002 23:39:1515,632 bytes

Lartload Utility to download blob, a kernel or a ramdisk to a LART and optionally store it in flash.

Questions

Questions about blob should be asked on the LART mailing list.


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