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Gecko Flash BIOS saga

February 05, 2010 — BarryK
Take 1: DOSBox
I had the idea of booting Quirky from external USB stick, install DOSBox MSDOS emulator, then run the 'spiflash.exe' utility. I realised it is a long shot, as the emulator is just that, an emulated environment.

The experiment itself was pretty straightforward. I booted Quirky, with SDL, SDL_net and dosbox PET packages on the stick, then installed them. The 'spiflash.exe' and '' are available on /mnt/sda1...

# dosbox
Z:> mount c /mnt/sda1
Z:> c:
Z:> spiflash u edu.rom
Unknown CPU type

...that is, spiflash executed, put up some preliminary text, then that message about CPU type.

Take 2: MSDOS format
I have reformatted the Gecko internal SD card with sda1 as fat (256MB), sda2 as ext3 (6GB+) and a bit left over in case I want to create a swap partition. I did this with Gparted.

The XP recovery console has 'format' utility, but it does not accept the '/s' (install system shell). So, I'm going to take out the SD card, plug it into another computer that runs Windows, then see if I can run 'format d: /s' (or whatever).

Then I will put the SD card back into the Gecko and should be able to boot to a MSDOS prompt.

...well, that's the theory anyway!

Take 3: Bootable MSDOS CD
Daftdog and bigpup posted some links to boot CDs, I might try them first. Whatever method I come up with, it needs to be easily reproducible by others, so "Take 2" really should be last.


Use an external floppy?

Gecko, bootable FreeDOS partition
Username: BarryK
"I took the SD card out of the Gecko, plugged it into my laptop. I used Gparted to partition the SD card with 256MB fat32 first partition and 6GB+ ext3 partition. I set the 'boot' flag on the fat32 partition. [b]ms-sys[/b] I installed 'ms-sys'. This is a PET package available in the official Puppy4 repository. I then ran (the SD card is /dev/sdc): [i]# ms-sys --mbrdos /dev/sdc DOS/Windows NT master boot record successfully written to /dev/sdc # ms-sys --fat32free /dev/sdc1 FAT32 FreeDOS boot record successfully written to /dev/sdc1[/i] [b]FreeDOS[/b] I downloaded FreeDOS 1.0 iso, opened it, copied 'kernel.sys' and '' to the SD card fat32 partition. So, will it boot?... unfortunately, it tried to boot, but reported: [i]Loading FreeDOS No KERNEL SYS[/i] I ran fdisk: [i]# fdisk -l -u /dev/sdc Disk /dev/sdc: 7950 MB, 7950303232 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 966 cylinders, total 15527936 sectors Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x000215b8 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sdc1 * 63 530144 265041 b W95 FAT32 /dev/sdc2 530145 14474564 6972210 83 Linux[/i] [b]sys-freedos-linux[/b] I downloaded another package, that is designed specifically for FreeDOS, 'sys-freedos-linux'. I unzipped it and ran: [i]# ./ --disk=/dev/sdc1 DOS boot sector for /dev/sdc1 will be created by: nasm -o /dev/stdout ./bootsecs/boot32.asm Using FAT32. Partn offset 63, CHS *x255x63 Drive 80, (0x0, 0x29), SerNo 4B6B-99ED, Strings '', 'FAT32 '. Boot sector successfully updated.[/i] there is just an underscore character displayed, nothing happens.

BIOS upgrade tips?
Username: pakt
"Found an Edubook BIOS upgrade HOWTO in the "APM on Xcore/Vortex86 [HOWTO]" thread on the DeviceOnChip Forum: Stevan uses a Hiren's Boot CD, but maybe the thread can give some tips.

FreeDOS USB boot image
Username: pakt
"Barry, here's a link for a 'FreeDOS 1.0 USB Boot Image' to put on a USB stick. Sounds like an easy way to get FreeDOS running on the Edubook:

Take 4: GRUB4DOS
Username: BarryK
"Success, see next blog post:

Tags: puppy