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Subject: ANNOUNCE: Rockbox runs from Flash! (boots in 3 seconds)
From: idc-dragon_at_gmx.de
Date: 2003-07-03


Hi,

yesterday Diava was so kind to let me borrow-swap the CPU board of his JBR20
with mine. He has a flashable chip, versus I don't. So I could do the real
world test of my flashing stuff last night.

I'm pleased to tell that my JBR20 now resumes playback 3 seconds after the
"On" button is pressed. Rockbox is there in a split second, then it has to
wait for the harddisk. In other words: Booting now takes as long as a spinup.
I'll try to make a video of my starting box available by this evening.

Probably I'm watering everybody's mouth now to have that on their box, but
first I'd like to establish the process on how we do this flashing in a safe
way. If you program a bad firmware or somehow this malfunctions, the box will
be dead for you, except you have the UART boot mod. This is the 100% safe way
to flash, because it even works when the flash is blank. It currently
requires the serial mod, too, however using just the remote pin is feasible. So I'm
looking for gdb-capable people with FM or Player, who'd like to do the boot
mod and validate the process for these platforms.

Later, anybody with a flashable chip (see debug hardware info screen) could
flash, no mod required. The flashing will be an option of Rockbox or a
plugin. But before that, I'd like to add some safety nets to this, e.g. to prevent
the wide public from flashing a bleeding edge build, flashing code for the
wrong platform, etc. An idea is to have 2 images, one being a (stripped-down,
for space reasons) fallback.

Also we'd need an authoring tool for the image to be programmed, once the
final image format is defined. The content I programmed last night was
hand-crafted with a hex editor.

Rockbox itself need a few refinements. One is to detect a cold-start and in
this case look in the root dir for ajbrec.ajz/archos.mod and rolo that. An
unscrambled alternative format would also be possible, to be faster. Another is
a charging screen. Right now the box just goes on when I plug the charger
in, it doesn't go into a special charging mode like the archos firmware. We may
find some more of these minor things.

So far with the latest, maybe see you tonight in the chat,

Joerg

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