Linux Should support booting from USB harddrive.

Dominic Wu dwu at swales.com
Mon Oct 14 14:18:56 EDT 2002


Is it the same case with Firewire Drives?  I have a real jolly good time
booting up between the internal drive and the Firewire drive of my Mac Cube
and thought gee, wouldn't it be nice if I could do the same thing on the
PC's.

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	beowulf-admin at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-admin at beowulf.org]  On
Behalf Of Donald Becker
Sent:	Sunday, October 13, 2002 9:38 AM
To:	Zou Guangxian
Cc:	beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject:	Re: Linux Should support booting from USB harddrive.

On Sun, 13 Oct 2002, Zou Guangxian wrote:

> i have a  usb harddrive which support booting.

Errrmm, are you certain?
The only way that a USB hard drive can support booting is if
  - it uses the same protocol as a USB floppy drive, and
  - your machine can boot off of a USB floppy drive.

USB floppy drives has a very specific boot protocol: slightly modified SCSI
commands transported over USB frames.  It's not a particularly clean
layering, since USB has quirky semantics which impact error reporting
and command completion indications.  But nothing makes it difficult for
a hard drive to respond to require command set of a USB floppy.

The second point is more difficult.  The only machines I've seen with
USB floppy booting support have been laptops.

>so if the linux can support booting from usb harddrive ,it will be a
>good news for me .:)

Linux can support it, and we've built bootable floppies for the Scyld
system that do it.  The key idea is to put the USB support on an initial
ramdisk.  The only complication is that the "hotplug" support keeps
getting more complicated and you might difficultly fitting the current
code on the floppy.

--
Donald Becker				becker at scyld.com
Scyld Computing Corporation		http://www.scyld.com
410 Severn Ave. Suite 210		Scyld Beowulf cluster system
Annapolis MD 21403			410-990-9993

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