openSUSE earlier than 11.1 Alpha 2 don't install on SD card
[Please note that I'm working for the CPU+Chipset maker VIA and this is an
actually important feature for the 'netbook' class of devices in the coming months]
Recently, BIOS vendors have been starting to implement a 'boot from SD card' feature, much like they have added 'boot from USB memory stick' some years ago.
The only SD-card host controller that I've seen this implemented for is SDHCI compliant host controllers.
While this is a nice feature to support, for most systems it is just a gimmick and not something neccessarry.
However, there are hand-held devices such as netbooks in the pipeline which do not have any other mass storage device. No hard disk and no IDE-attached flash disk or the like. They just have one (more likely two or more) SD card slots and you install and store not only your data but the entire operating system on that SD card.
Furthermore, there are products like Samsung moviNAND which are basically a SDcard in a BGA package that can be soldered onto a PCB. So from a protocol and software point of view it is a SD card, but it is mechanically soldered onto the board. Such device have gained some popularity in ARM-based designs, but we'll likely see them in the x86 world, too.
To make this happen,
The distribution installation initrd needs to
1. include and auto-load the sdhc.ko and sdhci_pci.ko kernel modules
2. create the /dev/mmcblk* device nodes as per udev/hotplug events
The actual distribution installation program needs to
1. recognize /dev/mmcblk* as block devices that can be used as target device
2. use a grub-install or similar program that can discover the bios drive number to /dev/mmcblk* device name mapping
I have outlined the full details at http://wiki.gpl-devices.org/wiki/Installing_Linux_on_booting_SD_card
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Last change: 6 years ago