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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for July 13th, 2020

Marrying U-Boot, uEFI and grub2 – Alexander Graf – openSUSE…

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/07/13

A very insightful talk: “Marrying U-Boot, uEFI and grub2 – Alexander Graf – openSUSE…”

Booting is hard. Booting in the ARM world is even harder. State of the art are a dozen different boot loaders that may or may not deserve that name. Each gets configured differently and each has its own pros and cons.

As a distribution this is a nightmare. Configuring each and every one of them complicates code that really should be very simple.

To solve the problem, we can just add another layer of abstraction (grub2) on top of another layer of abstraction (uEFI) on top of another layer of abstraction (u-boot). Follow me on a journey on how all those layers can make life easier for the distribution and how much fun uEFI really is.

After this talk, you will know how ARM systems boot, what uEFI really means, how uEFI binaries interact with firmware and how we are going to move to uEFI based boot on openSUSE for ARM.

Usually known as agraf on-line, [WayBack] Alexander Graf РOpen IoT & ELC 2017 is an impressive guy:

Alexander Graf

KVM Wizard
N√ľrnberg Area, Germany
Alexander started working for SUSE about 9 years ago. Since then he worked on fancy things like SUSE Studio, QEMU, KVM and openSUSE on ARM. Whenever something really useful comes to his mind, he tends to implement it. Among others he did Mac OS X virtualization using KVM, nested SVM, KVM on PowerPC and a lot of work in QEMU for openSUSE on ARM. He is the upstream maintainer of KVM for PowerPC, QEMU for PowerPC and QEMU for S390x.

Slides: [WayBack] Marrying U-Boot, UEFI and grub.pdf

There are 2 videos on YouTube (view them below):

A few things I learned

Boot sequence:

  1. Raspberry Pi has a tiny boot ROM
  2. It loads the firmware in the GPU (for Raspberry this is a Raspberry Foundation provided binary)
  3. The firmware loads U-Boot
  4. U-Boot loads grub2
  5. grub2 can have many modules (like file system drivers) and loads the kernel

Alexander pushed the U-Boot stuff up stream, but the FreeBSD team was the first to actually boot a full OS from it.


  • uEFI/EFI is a set of specs that define the API
  • U-Boot is the firmware implementing uEFI, so your machine behaves as a PC making booting a lot more standardised, starting at handing off to a regular grub2 boot process
  • U-Boot loads grub2





Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in *nix, *nix-tools, openSuSE, Power User, SuSE Linux, Tumbleweed | Leave a Comment »

ThinkPad USB Keyboard With TrackPoint – Overview

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/07/13

I wish this keyboard was still on the market [WayBack] ThinkPad USB Keyboard With TrackPoint РOverview.

Known as 55Y9053, 55Y9003 and 57Y4641 (and a few others like  the English/EUR 55Y9042 if you count the various localised layouts at [WayBack] ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint РService parts), it was one of the best keyboards made apart from the big delete key (that was better in the predecessor, but that one lacked windows keys: [WayBack] Lenovo ThinkPad USB Keyboard Review | NotebookReview).

It is about the same as the Thinkpad25, which added a touchpad: [WayBack] The 25th-anniversary ThinkPad: Every laptop should add some retro appeal | Ars Technica Review: A seven-row keyboard? Matte screen? TrackPoint? The all-business black body? Swoon


Posted in History, Power User, ThinkPad, UltraNav keyboards | Leave a Comment »

Level 29: The BBS

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/07/13

How retro can you get? [WayBack] Level 29: The BBS gets very far: it runs on an Apple IIgs and provides access via modem (via a landline!), telnet or web to the same text interface.

Web access via [WayBack] Shell In A Box

Welcome to the *NEW* Level 29 BBS!                                                                                                                                                    
916 965 1701 -                                                                                                                                                       
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 |    _ .  , _ |  '_) (_)                                                                                                                                                             
 |___(/, \/ (/,|  /_.   |                                                                                                                                                             
The official BBS of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Enter your username or NEW or VISITOR                                                                                                                                                 



Via:¬†[WayBack] Got this TV yesterday at a garage sale and hooked up the Apple II through the Sup R Mod and installed the Hayes Micromodem IIe to call Level 29 BBS. No … – Chris Osborn – Google+


Posted in 6502, BBS, History | Leave a Comment »

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