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Booting Linux from DiskOnChip HOWTO

Rohit Agarwal


Vishnu Swaminathan


Revision History                                                             
Revision 1.0            2006-09-07             Revised by: MG                
Last review for LDP publication                                              

This document discusses how to make the Flash Drives Linux bootable. We will
describe how to boot from such a drive, instead of from the normal hard

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
    1.1. Why this document?
    1.2. NFTL vs. INFTL
    1.3. Practical goals
2. Reference configuration
3. Assumptions
4. Using M-Systems DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP as an additional storage drive in
    4.1. Step 1: Patch the Kernel
    4.2. Step 2: Compile the Kernel
    4.3. Step 3: Create Nodes
    4.4. Step 4: Reboot with the new kernel
    4.5. Step 5: Insert M-Systems Driver/Module in the new Kernel
    4.6. Step 6: Create a filesystem on the DiskOnChip
    4.7. Step 7: Mount the newly created partition to start accessing DOC
5. Install Linux and LILO on DiskOnChip
    5.1. Step 1: Copying the DOC firmware onto DiskOnChip
    5.2. Step 2: Format DiskOnChip using Dos Utilities
    5.3. Step 3: Patch and Compile the kernel 2.4.18
    5.4. Step 4: Create nodes
    5.5. Step 5: Modify the /etc/module.conf file
    5.6. Step 6: Create the initrd image
    5.7. Step 7: Insert the DOC driver into the new kernel
    5.8. Step 8: Create a filesystem on the DiskOnChip
    5.9. Step 9: Build Root Filesystem on the DiskOnChip
    5.10. Step 10: Use rdev to specify the DOC root filesystem location to
        kernel image
    5.11. Step 11: Compile lilo-22.3.2
    5.12. Step 12: Copy the boot.b file into boot directory of DOC
    5.13. Step 13: Modify the /etc/lilo.conf file
    5.14. Step 14: Store the new LILO configuration on the DiskOnChip
    5.15. Step 15: Modify etc/fstab of DiskOnChip root file system
    5.16. Step16: Update Firmware
    5.17. Step17: BOOT from DiskOnChip
6. Install Development ToolChain on DiskOnChip
    6.1. Step1: Obtain the latest copy of root_fs_i386.ext2
    6.2. Step2: Replace the root filesystem of the DiskOnChip
    6.3. Step3: Modify etc/fstab of DiskOnChip root file system
    6.4. Step4: Reboot
7. References
A. Output of dinfo
B. License
C. About Authors
D. Dedications

1. Introduction

1.1. Why this document?

DiskOnChip (DOC) is a flash drive that is manufactured by M-Systems. The use
of flash drives is emerging as a substitute for Hard Disks in embedded
devices. Embedded Linux is gaining popularity as the operating system of
choice in the embedded systems community; as such, there is an increased
demand for embedded systems that can boot into Linux from flash drives.

Much of the documentation currently available on the subject is either
incorrect or incomplete; the presentation of the information which is
provided by such documents is likely to confuse novice users.

1.2. NFTL vs. INFTL

Another fundamental problem is that most of the documents assume the
DiskOnChip to be a NFTL (NAND Flash Translation Layer) device, and proceed to
describe the booting process for NFTL devices. DiskOnChip architectures come
in two variants, each of which requires different booting procedures: NFTL
and INFTL (Inverse NFTL). Dan Brown, who has written a boot loader known as
DOCBoot, explains the differences between these variants in a README
document, which is included with the DOCBoot package: [http://] http://

An INFTL device is organized as follows:

    Media Header
    Partition 0 (BDK or BDTL)
    (Optional) Partition 1(BDK or BDTL)
    .. Up to at most Partition 3
Under Linux MTD partitions are created for each partition listed in the INFTL
partition table. Thus up to 5 MTD devices are created.

By contrast the NFTL device is organized as follows:

    Media Header
    BDTL Data
Under Linux, normally two MTD devices will be created.

According to the above excerpt, the process used by the boot loader when
fetching the kernel image for an INFTL device is different from the method
used for NFTL devices, since both devices have different physical layouts.

Using a 2.4.x kernel for an INFTL DiskOnChip device is complicated by the
lack of native support in pre-2.6.x kernels (although native NFTL support is
present). Such functionality is only available by patching the kernel; an
approach which is ill-advised.

Patching the kernel with external INFTL support is discouraged; the
developers of the MTD driver, the open source driver available for
DiskOnChip, are apprehensive of this approach as well. For more information
on this matter, feel free to peruse the mailing list conversation on the
subject at [

The drivers that provide native INFTL support in the 2.6.x kernels failed to
identify the DiskonChip device used for this exercise, and the following
message was reported by the system:
INFTL no longer supports the old DiskOnChip drivers loaded via docprobe.     
Please use the new diskonchip driver under the NAND subsystem.               

So then we decided to use the drivers provided by M-Systems (manufacturer of
DiskOnChip). However, according to the documentation provided by the vendor
on these drivers, they were designed for NFTL devices only. As such, we
decided to write this HOWTO which will address the use of INFTL devices. We
have taken special care to remove any ambiguity in the steps and also tried
to give reasons for the need of a particular step so as to make things
logically clear. We have explained things in such a way that a person with
less experience on Linux can also follow the steps.

1.3. Practical goals

This document aims to act as a guide to:

��*�Use M-Systems DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP as an additional storage drive along
    with an IDE HDD running Linux on it.
��*�Install Linux on DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP and boot Linux from it.
��*�Install the Development Tool-Chain so as to compile and execute programs
    directly on DiskOnChip.

The method described here has been tested for DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP 256MB and
DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP 384MB.

2. Reference configuration

We used the following hard- and software:

 1. VIA Eden CPU 1GHz clock speed 256MB RAM
 2. RTD Enhanced Phoenix - AwardBIOS CMOS Setup Utility (v6.00.04.1601)
 3. Kernel 2.4.18 source code downloaded from [
 4. 256 MB M-Systems DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP (MD2202-D256)
 5. M-Systems TrueFFS Linux driver version 5.1.4 from [
 6. LILO version 22.3.2 (distributed with driver)
 7. DiskOnChip DOS utilities version 5.1.4 and BIOS driver version 5.1.4 from
 8. Dual bootable Hard Disk with Knoppix 3.9 and Windows XP using Grub 0.96
    as the Boot Loader
 9. GNU GCC-2.95.3
10. Latest root_fs_i386 image from [
    root_fs_i386.ext2.bz2 or [

3. Assumptions

We have made some assumptions related to working directories and mounting
points which we would like to mention before listing the entire procedure for
putting Linux on DiskOnChip.

��*�We will perform all the compilation in /usr/src of the host machine so
    downloading of the necessary files must be done into that directory.
��*�All the commands listed are executed assuming /usr/src as the present
    working directory.
��*�We will mount the DiskOnChip partition on /mnt/doc.
��*�The names of the directories will be exactly the same as the files that
    have been downloaded so the document will give the actual path as were
    created on the host system.
��*�DiskOnChip and DOC have been used interchangeably to mean M-Systems
    DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP.
��*�The DOS utilities have been downloaded and saved in a Windows partition

4. Using M-Systems DiskOnChip 2000 TSOP as an additional storage drive in

The following are the steps performed for this purpose.

4.1. Step 1: Patch the Kernel

Download a fresh copy of Kernel 2.4.18 from [

The kernel that is downloaded from the site does not have support for the
M-Systems driver so we need to add this functionality. This is done by adding
a patch to the kernel.

The steps to conduct patching are as follows:

 1. Untar the kernel source file and the M-systems TrueFFS Linux driver
    version 5.14. If the source code is in .tar.gz format, use
    tar -xvzf linux-2.4.18.tar.gz
    If the source code is in .tar.bz2 format, use
    bunzip2 linux-2.4.18.tar.bz2
    After using bunzip2, you will get a file named linux-2.4.18.tar. Untar it
    using the command
    tar -xvf linux-2.4.18.tar
    Unarchiving the driver is done using the command
    tar -xvzf linux_binary.5_1_4.tgz
    This results in the creation of two directories: linux and
 2. The TrueFFS Linux driver package contains three different folders:
    ��+�Documentation: this contains a PDF document describing the various
        functions of TrueFFS.
    ��+�dformat_5_1_4_37: this contains a utility dformat, which is used to
        update the firmware on the DiskOnChip (DOC) and to create low level
        partitions on the DOC.
    ��+�doc-linux-5_1_4_20: this contains patches, initrd scripts and other
 3. Now apply the patch to the kernel. We will use the linux-2_4_7-patch file
    that is present in linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/driver. The
    following commands are used for this purpose:
    cd linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/driver
    patch -p1 -d /usr/src/linux < linux-2_4_7-patch
    This will create a directory named doc in the linux/drivers/block
 4. The patch created the doc directory, but did not copy the source files of
    the M-Systems driver, which are necessary in order to build the driver,
    into this directory. So execute the following command:
    cp linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/driver/doc/* /usr/src/linux/

Warning Kernel version                                                       
�       The patch will fail for kernels other than 2.4.18 since the source   
        files where the patch is to be applied may be somewhat different in  
        different kernels. The patch has been provided specifically for      
        kernel 2.4.18.                                                       

Before moving on to Step 2, do the following:

��*�Login as root.
��*�Make sure that gcc version is 2.95.3 else the build will fail. Use gcc
    --version to check this. If your gcc version is different compile
    gcc-2.95.3. Refer to [] http:// for this purpose.

4.2. Step 2: Compile the Kernel

Complete the following tasks for compiling the kernel:

 1. cd linux
 2. make menuconfig
    Check for the following options:
    ��+�In the "Block devices menu", select:
        ��o�M-Systems driver as module i.e. (M)
        ��o�Loopback device support as built-in i.e. (*)
        ��o�RAM disk support as built-in i.e. (*)
        ��o�Initial RAM disk (initrd) support as built .in i.e. (*)
    ��+�In the "Processor type and features menu", select "Disable Symmetric
        Multiprocessor Support".
    ��+�In the "filesystem menu", select:
        ��o�Ext3 journaling file system support as built-in
        ��o�DOS FAT fs support as built-ina
        ��o�MSDOS fs support as built-inb
        ��o�VFAT (Windows-95) fs support as built-inc
    Note File System Menu                                                    
    �    a,b,c options should be activated if you want to mount your MS      
         Windows partition, else they can be left out. It is, however,       
         generally recommended to use them.                                  
    An excellent resource on kernel compilation is the [http://] Kernel Rebuild
    The configuration file, linux/.config should essentially contain the
    following lines (only a part of the config file has been given):
    # Loadable module support                                                
    # Processor type and features                                            
    # CONFIG_SMP is not set                                                  
    # Memory Technology Devices (MTD)                                        
    # CONFIG_MTD is not set                                                  
    # Block devices                                                          
    # CONFIG_BLK_DEV_FD is not set                                           
    # CONFIG_BLK_DEV_XD is not set                                           
    # CONFIG_PARIDE is not set                                               
    # CONFIG_BLK_CPQ_DA is not set                                           
    # CONFIG_BLK_CPQ_CISS_DA is not set                                      
    # CONFIG_BLK_DEV_DAC960 is not set                                       
    # CONFIG_BLK_DEV_NBD is not set                                          
    # File systems                                                           
    # CONFIG_QUOTA is not set                                                
    # CONFIG_AUTOFS_FS is not set                                            
    # CONFIG_AUTOFS4_FS is not set                                           
    # CONFIG_UMSDOS_FS is not set                                            
    # CONFIG_EFS_FS is not set                                               
    # CONFIG_JFFS_FS is not set                                              
    # CONFIG_JFFS2_FS is not set                                             
    # CONFIG_CRAMFS is not set                                               
    # CONFIG_RAMFS is not set                                                
    # CONFIG_JOLIET is not set                                               
    # CONFIG_HPFS_FS is not set                                              
    # CONFIG_DEVFS_FS is not set                                             
    # CONFIG_DEVFS_MOUNT is not set                                          
    # CONFIG_DEVFS_DEBUG is not set                                          
    # CONFIG_QNX4FS_FS is not set                                            
    # CONFIG_QNX4FS_RW is not set                                            
    # CONFIG_ROMFS_FS is not set                                             
 3. make dep
 4. make bzImage
 5. make modules
 6. make modules_install
 7. Copy the newly created bzImage to the /bott directory and name it
    vmlinuz-2.4.18, using this command:
    cp /arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.18

Check for lib/modules/2.4.18/kernel/drivers/block/doc.o. This is the
M-Systems driver that we need to access DiskOnChip.

4.3. Step 3: Create Nodes

Now we will create block devices, which are required to access the DOC These
block devices will use the M-Systems driver that was built in Section 4.2 to
access the DOC. The script mknod_fl in linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/
driver is used for this purpose.

We need to create the block devices with the major number of 62. For this
purpose we will pass the argument 62 while creating the nodes:

./mknod_fl 62

This will create the following devices in /dev/msys with major number 62:

4.4. Step 4: Reboot with the new kernel

In order to have the DiskOnChip recognized by Linux OS, we need to insert the
DOC driver module into the kernel. Since the currently running kernel doesn.t
have support for the M-Systems Driver, we need to boot into new kernel we
just compiled in .

For this purpose we need to add the following entries in the /boot/grub/
menu.lst file:
title Debian GNU/Linux,Kernel 2.4.18                                         
root (hd0,7)                                                                 
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.18 root=/dev/hda8                                   

Where (hd0,7) is the partition holding the kernel image vmlinuz-2.4.18 and /
dev/hda8 is the partition holding the root filesystem. These partitions may
vary from one system to another. Now reboot and choose the kernel 2.4.18
option (the kernel that has been compiled in Step 2) in the grub menu to boot
into the new kernel.

4.5. Step 5: Insert M-Systems Driver/Module in the new Kernel

The M-Systems driver by default gets loaded with major number 100, but our
newly created nodes (see Section 4.3) have a major number 62. Therefore we
need to insert this module with a major number 62. This can be done in either
of two ways:

 1. While inserting the module using insmod also mention the major number for
    the module which needs to be assigned to it otherwise it will take the
    default major number of 100:
    insmod doc major=62
 2. Add the following line to /etc/modules.conf:
    options doc major=62                                                     
    Then use modprobe doc to insert the modules.

Check for the correct loading of the module using the lsmod command without

4.6. Step 6: Create a filesystem on the DiskOnChip

Before we can start using DiskOnChip we need to create a filesystem on it. We
will create an ext2 filesystem since it is small in size.

This involves a hidden step of making partitions on the DOC using fdisk. The
actual steps are as follows:

 1. fdisk /dev/msys/fla
    This command will ask to create partitions. Create a primary partition
    number 1 with start cylinder as 1 and final cylinder as 1002.
    Check the partition table, which should look like this:
    Device             Boot  Start      End        Blocks    ID     System   
    /dev/msys/fla1            1         1002        255984   83     Linux    
 2. Make the filesystem on /dev/msys/fla1 with the command
    mke2fs -c /dev/msys/fla1
    Where fla1 is the first primary partition on the DOC. (We have created
    only one partition in order to avoid unnecessary complexity.)

4.7. Step 7: Mount the newly created partition to start accessing DOC

Create a new mount point for the DiskOnChip in the /mnt directory:

mkdir /mnt/doc

Mount the DOC partition on the newly created directory:

mount -t auto /dev/msys/fla1 /mnt/doc

You will now be able to read and write to the DOC as an additional storage

When you reboot your system, make the DOC available by inserting the driver
into the kernel (see Section 4.5) and mounting the device.

5. Install Linux and LILO on DiskOnChip

In this section we will learn how to install Linux operating system on an
unformatted DOC and boot from it using LILO as the boot loader.

In order to get to this state, a procedure will be discussed. Some steps in
this procedure resemble the steps discussed previously in this document. Even
so, this should be considered a separate procedure, rather than a
continuation of the steps in Section 4.

In general, to make a device to boot into Linux, it should have the following

��*�Kernel Image
��*�Root Filesystem
��*�Boot loader to load the kernel Image into memory

This section will basically try to fulfill the above three requirements.

The following steps should be followed for achieving the goal of this

5.1. Step 1: Copying the DOC firmware onto DiskOnChip

We will use the dformat utility from linux_binary.5_1_4/dformat_5_1_4_37.

M-Systems does not provide the firmware for using the DOC on Linux platforms.
We address this problem by making a copy of the firmware shipped with the
M-Systems dos utilities into this directory ("dos utilities" is the term used
by the M-Systems people so we have also used this name). On our system we
copied it by mounting the windows partition and extracting it from there:

mount -t auto/dev/hda5 /mnt/d

cp /mnt/d/dos\ utilities/doc514.exb linux_binary.5_1_4/dformat_5_1_4_37/

Now format the drive, using the dtformat from linux_binary.5_1_4/

cd linux_binary.5_1_4/dformat_5_1_4_37/

./dformat -WIN:D000 -S:doc514.exb

D000 specifies the address of the DiskOnChip in the BIOS.

The following is the BIOS (RTD Enhanced Phoenix - AwardBIOS CMOS Setup
Utility (v6.00.04.1601)) setting on our system.

The Integrated peripherals of the BIOS menu should have:
SSD Socket #1 to Bios Extension                                              
Bios Ext. Window size 8k                                                     
Bios Ext. window [D000:0000]                                                 
Fail safe Boot ROM [Disabled]                                                

The Bios Ext. Window denotes the address for your DiskOnChip.

Note BIOSes                                                                  
�    The setting may be different depending upon your BIOS version.          

Now shutdown the system and boot into Windows XP.

From now on you will notice the TrueFFS message and some time delay before
the Grub Menu appears.

5.2. Step 2: Format DiskOnChip using Dos Utilities

Boot into Windows XP. We will use the M-Systems Dos Utilities for formatting
the DiskOnChip. The Dos utility dformat will copy the firmware to the DOC,
and then format it as a fat16 device.

Using the command prompt, run the following command from the DOS utilities
folder (assuming that you have already downloaded the DOS utilities):

dformat /WIN:D000 /S:doc514.exb

Check the DOC partition using another utility called dinfo. A sample dinfo
output is given in the appendix.

Again shutdown the system and now boot into Linux.

Note Always shutdown                                                         
�    After formatting you should always do a full shutdown (power off) and   
     not just a reboot.                                                      

Even though Step 1 and Step 2 seem to be the same, the only difference being
that Step 1 is done from Linux and Step 2 from Windows XP, they both have to
be done.

5.3. Step 3: Patch and Compile the kernel 2.4.18

This has to be performed in exactly the same manner as described in Section
4.1 and Section 4.2.

Also add an entry for the new kernel in /boot/grub/menu.lst as described in 
Section 4.4.

5.4. Step 4: Create nodes

This is done using the ame procedure as described in Section 4.3.

5.5. Step 5: Modify the /etc/module.conf file

The file /etc/modules.conf has to be modified, adding this line at the end of
the file:
options doc major=62                                                         

This is required since our nodes use a major number of 62, while the doc
driver module uses a major number of 100. When creating the initrd image, the
driver will be loaded with major number value of 100 (instead of 62) if you
do not edit the module configuration file. This will make it impossible for
the nodes to use the driver. The reason for using the initrd image will be
explained in the next step.

The mkinitrd_doc script from linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/driver
reads the /etc/modules.conf file and looks for anything that has been
mentioned for the DOC driver regarding the major number. By default, 
mkinitrd_doc will create an initrd image that loads the DOC module with a
major number of 100. However, with the modifications we have made to the /etc
/modules.conf file, the initrd image will load the module with a major number
of 62.

5.6. Step 6: Create the initrd image

Run the mkinitrd_doc script from linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/driver


This may give warning messages similar to the following, which can be safely
  cp: cannot stat ./sbin/insmod.static.: No such file or directory           
  cp: cannot stat ./dev/systty.: No such file or directory                   

Check for the newly created initrd image, initrd-2.4.18.img, in the /boot

Running the mkinitrd_doc script produces this image. The reason for making an
initrd image is that the provided M-Systems driver cannot be added as a
built-in support in the kernel, which leaves no other option than adding it
as a loadable module. If we want to boot from DOC, the kernel should know how
to access the DOC at the time of booting to search for /sbin/init in the root
filesystem on the DOC (the root filesystem is necessary to get the Linux
system up).

In the booting sequence of the Linux, /sbin/init is the file (a command
actually) that the kernel looks for in order to start various services and,
finally, give the login shell to the user. The figure below illustrates the

Figure 1. Why we need an initrd image


5.7. Step 7: Insert the DOC driver into the new kernel

Reboot the system and boot into the newly created kernel.

Now insert the doc module:

modprobe doc

This will give the following messages:
fl : Flash disk driver for DiskOnChip                                        
fl: DOC devices(s) found: 1                                                  
fl: _init:registed device at major 62                                        

To access the DOC, ensure that the major number assigned to the nodes is 62.

In case of a major number of 100 is assigned, check if the /etc/modules.conf
was successfully modified. If it was not, then repeat Section 5.5. You must
then also repeat Section 5.6 because the initrd image depends on /etc/
modules.conf. If the DOC entry were incorrect in this file, the initrd image
will be useless.

5.8. Step 8: Create a filesystem on the DiskOnChip

Perform Section 4.6. This is required to create partitions on the DOC.

5.9. Step 9: Build Root Filesystem on the DiskOnChip

Before starting with this step make sure that you have not mounted /dev/msys/
fla1 on any of the mount points, as this step will involve reformatting the

Also, in order to understand the details of Root File system refer to [http:/
/] The Linux Bootdisk How To
available at []

We will use the mkdocimg script located in linux_binary.5_1_4/

We will also use the redhat-7.1.files directory, located in the same
directory (i.e. build), which contains the list of the files that will be
copied in the root filesystem that will be created on the DOC.

./mkdocimg redhat-7.1.files

This step will take a few minutes to complete.

Now mount the /dev/msys/fla1 partition on the mount point /mnt/doc and check
the files that have been created:

mount -t auto /dev/msys/fla1 /mnt/doc

cd /mnt/doc

The following directories are created on the DOC as a result of running the

bin dev sbin etc lib usr home mnt tmp var boot

The most important is the boot directory. This contains the vmlinuz-2.4.18
and initrd-2.4.18.img which gets copied from the /boot directory. This
directory is required when booting from DiskOnChip.

Apart from these files there are some other files which must be deleted:


These two files are created later by LILO.

The redhat-7.1.files directory contains a list of files and directories that
will be created when we use the mkdocimg script.

This script does not create all the files that are necessary for creating the
root filesystem on the DOC. So replace the directories created by the 
mkdocimg script, with the directories of the / filesystem (root filesystem
that is currently running).

The directories under /, such as etc, sbin, bin and so on contain lot of
files that are not useful and ideally should not be copied while building the
root filesystem for DOC. But since we have not discussed the files that are
essential and the files that can be removed, we therefore suggest that one
should copy the entire contents of the directories. We know that it is a
clumsy way of building the root filesystem and will unnecessarily take lot of
memory; bear with us as in the next section we will explain how to put the
development tools on the DOC. We will then remove the useless files from the
root filesystem of DOC.

If you are aware of how to build the root filesystem we would encourage you
to copy only the essential files.

The following is the set of commands we used to modify the root filesystem:

rm -rf /mnt/doc/sbin

rm -rf /mnt/doc/etc

rm -rf /mnt/doc/lib

rm -rf /mnt/doc/dev

cp -rf /sbin /mnt/doc

cp -rf /etc /mnt/doc

cp -rf /dev /mnt/doc

cp -rf /lib /mnt/doc

rm -rf /mnt/doc/lib/modules

Now our filesystem is ready.

The total size occupied by this filesystem will be about 35Mb.

5.10. Step 10: Use rdev to specify the DOC root filesystem location to kernel

This step is required to specify the location of the DOC root filesystem to
the kernel we compiled in the step 3. The step can be avoided by giving the
details of the root filesystem location in the Boot Loader configuration
file, but we had some problems in making the kernel locate the root
filesystem at the time of booting so we recommend executing this command:

rdev /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.18 /dev/msys/fla1

5.11. Step 11: Compile lilo-22.3.2

We are going to use LILO as the boot loader since this is the only BootLoader
that can read an INFTL device without many changes to be done to the
BootLoader source code.

For more information on how LILO and other boot loaders operate, refer to .

We need to compile the lilo-22-3.2 source code to get the executable file for

We will use the source code from linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/lilo/

Before starting the build we need to do the following:

 1. Create a soft link for the kernel-2.4.18 source code with the name linux.
    When you untar the file linux-2.4.18.tar.gz it will create a directory
    linux. So we need to rename the directory linux to linux-2.4.18 before
    creating a soft link with the same name:
    mv linux linux-2.4.18
    ln -s linux-2.4.18 linux
    If the above steps are not done the build might fail.
 2. Patch file: linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/lilo/lilo-22.3.2/
    The lilo-22.3.2 source code that comes with the M-Systems
    linux_binary.5_1_4.tgz is buggy as one of the variables PAGE_SIZE is not
    defined. We need to patch the LILO source code as follows:
    Add the following lines in the common.h after the line "#include
    + #ifndef PAGE_SIZE                                                      
    + #define PAGE_SIZE 4096U                                                
    + #endif                                                                 
    #define 0_NACCESS 3                                                      
    Where "+" indicates the lines to be added.
 3. Make sure that the gcc version is 2.95.3 by using gcc --version.

Now we can start the build process. Run

make clean && make

This will create a new LILO executable, linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20
/lilo/lilo-22.3.2/lilo. Copy this LILO executable into /sbin/lilo and /mnt/

cp linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/lilo/lilo-22.3.2/lilo /sbin/lilo

cp linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/lilo/lilo-22.3.2/lilo /mnt/doc/sbin/

5.12. Step 12: Copy the boot.b file into boot directory of DOC

We need to copy the file boot.b from linux_binary.5_1_4/doc-linux-5_1_4_20/
lilo/ to /mnt/doc/boot.

The file contains the essential stage1 and stage2 of the LILO boot loader.

5.13. Step 13: Modify the /etc/lilo.conf file

First, remove the existing /etc/lilo.conf:

rm -rf /etc/lilo.conf

Now create a new /etc/lilo.conf, using a text editor, and add the following
lines to it:

According to the above lines added to /etc/lilo.conf, one needs to create
soft links for vmlinuz-2.4.18 and initrd-2.4.18.img in /mnt/doc/boot:

cd /mnt/doc/boot

ln -s vmlinuz-2.4.18 vmlinuz

ln -s initrd-2.4.18.img initrd.img

Copy the newly created /etc/lilo.conf to mnt/doc/etc/lilo.conf.

5.14. Step 14: Store the new LILO configuration on the DiskOnChip

This step will configure LILO in the MBR of the DiskOnChip and hence make the
DiskOnChip bootable.

Ensure that /dev/msys/fla1 (root filesystem partition for the DOC) is mounted
on the mount point /mnt/doc.

Execute the following command to store the LILO configuration on the DOC:

lilo-v -C /etc/lilo.conf -r /mnt/doc

/mnt/doc denotes the location where the BootLoader will be installed, so it
is installed on the DiskOnChip, as /mnt/doc is the mount point for the
primary partition of DOC where LILO was configured.

It will create the following two files in the boot directory of DOC (i.e. /

 2. boot.3E00

Now you should make a backup of the entire DiskOnChip to allow for easy
restore of the files damaged by possible fatal errors:

cd /home

tar -cvzf docimg.tgz /mnt/doc

This will create a compressed copy of all the contents of DiskOnChip with the
name docimg.tgz in /home.

5.15. Step 15: Modify etc/fstab of DiskOnChip root file system

Open the /mnt/doc/etc/fstab file and edit the line where the mount point is
/. Change that line to:
/dev/msys/fla1  /  ext2  rw.noauto 0 1                                       

5.16. Step16: Update Firmware

This step is required to update the firmware of the DiskOnChip. We will use
the dformat utility from linux_binary.5_1_4/dformat_5_1_4_37:

./dformat -W:D000 -S:doc514.exb -Y -NOFORMAT

Warning Don't format!                                                        
�       The NOFORMAT flag is important otherwise it will reformat the        
        DiskOnChip device, and the contents will be lost.                    

The above command will cause the DiskOnChip to boot in the absence of any
other bootable device. So we need to remove the Hard Disk in order to allow
the DOC to boot.

5.17. Step17: BOOT from DiskOnChip

Check your BIOS manual for enabling booting from a BIOS extension device i.e.
DiskOnChip. On our system we had to disable the Hard Disk and CDROM and set
the first bootable device as HDD-0.

Reboot the system after making the necessary changes in the BIOS.

You will get the LILO menu and on pressing enter Linux gets booted from

6. Install Development ToolChain on DiskOnChip

This section may be left out if the requirement is not to have a development
environment on the DiskOnChip. The following steps will install the necessary
libraries and tools that are required for developing and executing programs
on DiskOnChip. This will completely eliminate the concept of having a host
system and target system since now the complete application development can
be done on the target system itself. For this purpose we will use uClibc
which is a C library that has been developed primarily for embedded systems.
Also since our root filesystem that was created in the previous section is
bulky (35 MB) we will remove the unnecessary files and make it smaller,
approximately 11MB.

We will use the Buildroot package from to replace the existing
bulky root filesystem of DOC with a tiny filesystem and to install the
necessary development ToolChain which includes uClibc library, gcc, g++,
make, ncurses, busybox, GNU tar, GNU grep and the GNU coreutils . For more
details on Buildroot refer to [] The [] website provides a precompiled package containing all
the tools, which can be downloaded and used. We will use the precompiled
package, which is available as root_fs image. Refer to the [http://] uClibc FAQ for more details.

Follow these steps in order to get the software working on your DOS:

6.1. Step1: Obtain the latest copy of root_fs_i386.ext2

Download root_fs_i386.ext2.tar.gz from [

It is around 22MB in size. This actually gets decompressed to a 100MB size

Untar the file in /usr/src:

tar -xvzf root_fs_i386.ext2.tar.gz

This will create a file root_fs_i386.ext2.

We need to mount this file using a loopback device. Do the following steps:

mkdir root_fs

mount -o loop root_fs_i386.ext2 root_fs

Now you can access the content of the file root_fs_i386.ext2 through the
root_fs directory. The root_fs directory contains a number of directories
which makes the root filesystem, like bin, var, sbin, opt, root, home, etc,
usr, lib, tmp, dev, and proc.

The usr and lib directories contain the development tools like gcc and g++.

6.2. Step2: Replace the root filesystem of the DiskOnChip

Replace the bin, var, sbin, etc, lib, usr, proc, mnt, home and opt
directories of the DiskOnChip with the ones of the root_fs image.

Warning Do not replace boot and dev!                                         
�       The boot directory of the DiskOnChip has to be kept intact since it  
        contains the kernel image, initrd image and Map file that is used by 
        LILO to load the kernel into memory.                                 
        The dev directory should also not be replaced since it contains the  
        device nodes for DOC (The replacement task will take 5-10 minutes.)  

6.3. Step3: Modify etc/fstab of DiskOnChip root file system

Open the newly replaced /mnt/doc/etc/fstab and edit the line where the mount
point is /. Change that line to:
/dev/msys/fla1  /  ext2  rw.noauto 0 1                                       

6.4. Step4: Reboot

Reboot from DiskOnChip and enjoy the uClibc development environment.

You will get the message
Welcome to the Erik.s uClibc development environment.                        

The entire root filesystem + boot directory + development tools take 84Mb of

7. References

Apart from the web sites referenced, here are some books and documents we
found to be useful:

��*�Application Note: Using DiskOnChip Under Linux With M-Systems Driver,RTD
    Embedded Technologies Inc.,SWM-640000016A
��*�Installation Manual for DiskOnChip TrueFFS driver for Linux ,M-Systems
��*�Building Embedded Linux Systems, Karim Yaghmour.O.reilly,First Edition,
    April 2003
��*�Installation Manual IM-DOC-021,Using the DiskOnChip with Linux OS,Ron
    Dick, Esther Spanjer, Vadim Khmelnitsky, M-Systems
��*�Installation Guide available with M-Systems TrueFFS Linux driver version
��*�Understanding the Linux Kernel, Daniel P. Bovet & Marco Cesati, O.reilly,
    Second Edition, March 2002.
��*�Booting Linux: The History and the Future, Werner Almesberger, June

A. Output of dinfo

The following are the details of the internals of a Linux Bootable DiskOnChip
2000 TSOP 256MB (MD2202-D256) produced by the dinfo utility:

Figure A-1. Output of dinfo


According to the screenshot our DOC uses an INFTL translation layer.

B. License

This document is copyrighted (c) 2006 by Rohit Agarwal & Vishnu Swaminathan.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under
the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later
version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant
Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of
the license is available at [] http://

C. About Authors

Rohit Agarwal has obtained his Masters in Information Technology from
IIIT-Bangalore,India and Bachelors degree in Computer Science from I.E.T.
Lucknow,India.He has co-authored another HowTo "Libdc1394 Library support for
IEEE1394 camera HowTo" published by TLDP in January,2006. Visit his [htpp://] homepage for more details.

Visnu Swaminathan is a PhD and MS from Duke University,North Carolina,USA. He
is currently working in Siemens Corporate Technology,India

authors can be contacted at (rohit)

D. Dedications

I am grateful to all my friends for extending their support to carry out this
work. I will specially thank Vikram and Chinmaya for their valuable advices.

Finally I will like to dedicate this document to Mr. S.Nagarajan my professor
who inspired me to contribute to Open Source Community

Rohit Agarwal

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