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GPL DiskOnChip support moves closer to completion

Nov 28, 2000 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The Memory Technology Device (MTD) Subsystem for Linux project's DiskOnChip (DOC) effort has recently received a large amount of new code for the NFTL [NAND Flash Translation Layer] driver from Fabrice Bellard. According to the project's website, the code now handles bad blocks and properly implements ECC, along with a number of other bug fixes. Also, the M-Systems' DiskOnChip Millennium hardware is now supported, and the LinuxBIOS project is using the DiskOnChip Millennium to hold their system image and also, in many cases, the root filesystem.

A statement on the MTD DOC project website says: “The driver should now be considered to be in late beta test. The only remaining known issue, other than the need to clean up the code a little and provide some better documentation, is that it does all Flash accesses with interrupts disabled, which is a little suboptimal. That ought to be simple to fix.”

The MTD DiskOnChip driver is intended to provide an open source (GPL) alternative to the drivers offered by M-Systems which are proprietary, available in binary format only, and must be dynamically loaded using a carefully orchestrated procedure that does not violate the Linux kernel's GPL license terms. Additionally, since the MTD DiskOnChip driver is GPL code, it can be incorporated directly into boot ROMs such as LinuxBIOS or RedBoot.

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