Thursday, June 8, 2017

COMBOOT serial boot loader

Contrary to what you might believe from the scarcity of updates on my blog, I have been avidly working on my operating system. I added a bytecode interpreter/VM to it so it will host completely sandboxed executables. But, I will write a separate blog post on that subject later.

What I want to write about now is my COMBOOT serial boot loader. I have a physical laptop lying around that I often use to test whether my OS still runs on physical hardware. However, the booting process is tedious: I use pxelinux to serve my kernel over PXE. First of all, the laptop's PXE ROM is slow,  and second, there is a weird bug in pxelinux regarding sizes of multiboot modules.

I have a small holiday right now, so I decided to write a replacement bootloader that should be able to load my kernel over the serial port. To my knowledge, there isn't a boot loader available that does this. The source code of the COMBOOT project can be found on my GitHub page: https://github.com/dseller/comboot/

Below you can see a short video of it in action:


As well as a screenshot of the bootsrv Windows application doing its thing:


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