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PLoP Boot Manager test on IBM Thinkpad 600 and IBM Thinkpad T20

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I find it facinating that somebody finally started creating USB booting support for those machines that don't support booting from USB so I started testing version 5.0.3 on two IBM Thinkpads.

Both laptops have a UHCI controller based on the Intel 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 chipset.

I have both a CD and a USB key that have RIPLinux on it.  The USB key uses syslinux as a boot loader and the CD uses isolinux as a boot loader.

If I boot the CD via the BIOS, the load speed is around 1.7MB/sec.
If I boot the USB key via PLOP, both models loads the key fine, but is extremely slow - around 40KB/sec
The 600 sometimes does not boot the key at all, but works if I reboot the machine again.
I believe one should be able to get around 1MB/sec when booting via USB 1.1.

I noticed under the Bootmanager status page that the work is active where the last entry is from August 8th, 2009 but the latest version one can download is from March 2009.

Do you have a later version that may have fixes to the USB speed?

Do you have any plans on making this code open source/GPL compliant?



--- Quote from: qiet72 on August 14, 2009, 07:58:49 AM ---Both laptops have a UHCI controller based on the Intel 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 chipset.

--- End quote ---

please try this test version. it will be available only for a few days.

--- Quote from: qiet72 on August 14, 2009, 07:58:49 AM ---Do you have any plans on making this code open source/GPL compliant?

--- End quote ---

i think about it. maybe in the future it will became open source, but dont count on it.



Ok, now I have also tested your code via the open source virtual machine qemu which emulates a pc with a UHCI controller based on the Intel 82371SB PIIX3 chipset - same results for version 5.0.3.

As for the test version you posted, it was really bad.  The Thinkpad 600 came out with all sort of weird results when selecting USB from the PLOP menu like syslinux giving EBIOS errors or just hanging - most of the time it wouldn't show anything.  The T20 was much more consistent - PLOP would come up, but selecting USB would just hang the machine.  Qemu on the otherhand was working quite well with the new code, but still extremely slow, but at least it was a little quicker than last time - I measured about 80KB/sec.

You should also be able to test your code with qemu as it is free and open source software - I have been testing your code using qemu under Ubuntu Linux using something like this at the command line:

  qemu -fda boot.img -m 256 -usb -usbdevice disk:/dev/sdb

Note: /dev/sdb is my usb key.

I have also made sure my key was working properly by booting the key directly in qemu:

  qemu -hda /dev/sdb -m 256

The key also worked fine on my ASUS Desktop which can boot USB via the BIOS.

Hope this information helps you.


currently i compiled the latest qemu version 0.10.5 for testing. btw i am an old fan of qemu!

you say the test version is slow. i say its not my fault.

my tests:
1) plop boot manager test version:
usb booting loads the plop linux kernel with syslinux, it needs 48 seconds

2) plop linux livecd is running with linux kernel
copy the same kernel as above from the usb drive to ram, it needs 68 seconds

the kernel size is 4,7MB.

you are right its slow, but my driver was faster than the linux kernel (that surprised myself)!


I am wondering that my driver does not work fine with the Thinkpads.
Maybe i can do some tests on a Thinkpad 600E. I dont know what chipset it has.


I corrected the subject from PLOT to PLoP


Hi Elmer,

You say your driver is faster than the linux kernel.  What you do mean by that?  How do you measure that?  If it were me, I would boot up into linux and do something like this to test the load speed under linux:

time dd if=/media/usb-key/vmlinuz of=/dev/null
9697+1 records in
9697+1 records out
4964880 bytes (5,0 MB) copied, 0,31356 s, 15,8 MB/s

real   0m0.321s
user   0m0.016s
sys   0m0.040s

You say that you also use syslinux/isolinux.  Have you noticed the dots when syslinux/isolinux loads a kernel.  Each dot represents 64KB of data (according to the syslinux source files).  When I look at the dots when syslinux is loaded via PLOP, each dot takes almost a second before printing, so 80 dots (a full row of dots on the screen) takes about 120 seconds to load.  If I use the BIOS, it takes less than three seconds for a full row of dots.

By the way I tested my USB key with a Thinkpad R40 which has BIOS USB boot support (1.1).  A full row of dots (80) takes about 5 seconds which calculates to about 1MB/sec which is correct for USB 1.1.

Have you check that you initialized the USB UHCI bus for 12 Mbit/sec and not 1.5 Mbit/sec?

I have now included a Thinkpad R40 in the test.  I used your latest test version which seems to work perfectly on this laptop.  The speed is also definetly better.  The R40 has both UHCI and EHCI controller, though the BIOS only uses UHCI when booting from USB.  When PLOP loads my key using EHCI, it loads very quick (3 seconds per line).  I then tested USB 1.1 mode (SHIFT-U at the PLOP main menu) and it took 8 seconds per line - that's about 640 KB/sec - this is getting close to 1.1 max bandwidth.

The R40 has an Intel 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) chipset controller.



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