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SubjectRe: Announce: initrd-tftp 0.1
On Sat, 8 Jan 2000, Alan Cox wrote:
> Your distribution grew by 2.5 floppy disks. I assume you are using glibc,
> if so you clearly dont care about the odd 2Mbytes here and there. Your

Tell that to the people whose embedded systems only have 8MB or even 4MB
of RAM. You usually try to fit Glibc in if you can, but it isn't always
possible and you have to fall back on Libc 5 or something.

> embedded system hasnt changed size at all. Since your embedded customers
> almost certainly want to compile their own applications they are kind of
> likely to want binutils and gcc anyway. You have to ship the kernel
> source so whats the problem.

What was saying was that his installations have the capability to
regenerate their disk image and upload it to the server after altering the
configuration files. Instead of just uploading a copy of /dev/ram to the
server, he has to keep a copy of the kernel image around and use a home
brewed tool to find the start of the initrd in it and write the new one in
place, then upload both of them. You were saying that a better way to do
it would be to keep, in his embedded system's ramdisk, the raw linux.o
around, a tool to convert the initrd into an object file, the binutils,
and relink the kernel before uploading it.

> So you think its more important to ship 3.5Mb less code to a small number
> of embedded systems people than to slap another chunk of code into the kernel
> that needs maintaining, updating and downloading by zillions of mainstream
> users.

Yes, it is a minority feature, but so are lots of other things in the
kernel. How many people are going to install Linux on their IBM mainframe
for example? For anybody who wants to load their ramdisk via tftp and
doesn't have a boot ROM which knows about Linux initrds, it's a much lower
hassle solution. Just turn on the feature, recompile the kernel, and add
initrd_tftp=<serverip>:<filename> to your command line. No messing about
with rebuilding the kernel file every time you want to modify something in
the initrd image. No need to keep a different kernel file for each system
which needs a different initrd. There are a lot of ways in which an
embedded system or a high end server differ from the average workstation
or web server, but that doesn't mean we should be saying "only fifty
people in the world use that 20K of code there, throw it out".

--------------- Linux- the choice of a GNU generation. --------------
: Alex Holden (M1CJD)- Caver, Programmer, Land Rover nut, Radio Ham :
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