[Beowulf] reboot without passing through BIOS?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Wed Jul 30 12:13:56 EDT 2008

If one were to build nodes without ECC memory it would probably be a
good idea to reboot them from time to time to clean out whatever bad
bits might have accumulated.  It then occurred to me that doing so would
require a trip through the BIOS on every reboot, at least on every x86
based computer I'm familiar with.  That is not a terrible thing, but it
made me wonder if it is really necessary.  Is there a way to configure a
machine to reboot by having the OS pass control directly to the boot
loader, and so skip the BIOS?  An additional reason for being able to do
this, although not so much on beowulf nodes, would be that, by loading a
different boot loader configuration on the way down, one could choose
which of several OS's to boot _before_ the reboot on a multi-boot
computer.  For instance, some multi-boot PCs I manage in a remote
classroom boot to windows by default, so if I want to work on their
linux systems I have to walk over there so as to be able to select that
option from the boot menu.

David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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