Linux Boot: The Beginning was startup_32, and it was with Linus, and it WAS Linus also

In an earlier post, we referred to startup_32. Well, __start and start_of_setup the target of the int 19h within the boot context, the target of the first start_32 is located at the 1M watermark as we had mentioned.

What is also special about __start is that we see here the first instruction executed within the context of the kernel (in the case of the objdump shown, we have opted out of the “SAFE RESET of the Controller at config time”, because INT19H presumably has done a good thorough job in the boot context), and we are onto creating a nice clean stack and then check out the magic codes of the boot sectors etc –>

By the time we get to the first startup_32, we are in protected mode, memory > 1MB can be accessed (the target of the decompress). The second startup_32 can therefore be located at the 1M watermark (0010 0000h), and with VA relocation at c010 0000h.

What is so special about this watermark ? It is … the first time we have executed instructions beyond the addressing limits set by x86 real-mode (which as we all know is limited in memory access to 0xFFFFF ..

We discuss Linux Kernel startup/boot concepts and more in my classes with kernel code walk throughs and programming assignments ( Advanced Linux Kernel Programming @UCSC-Extension, and also in other classes that I teach independently). Please take note, and take advantage also, of upcoming training sessions. Anand has also written production x86 protected-mode microcode, so is in a unique position to educate on that front. As always, Feedback, Questions and Comments are appreciated and will be responded to.

About Anand

Anand is a veteran of Silicon Valley with development experience and patents that span Processors, Operating systems, Networking and Systems development. Anand has been working for the past few years with Service Providers and large Enterprises developing e and Training systems.

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