A question I've often heard is, why don't some linux boot disks, like Knopix, work or IDEr? And, is Intel going to fix it? At first, this confounded me. However, after some testing, research, and talking to folks who may be geekier than me...no, no one is geekier than me...I have the answers.

 

The reason some discs work, and others do not is as a simple as a driver. IDEr works by exposing a virtual IDE device through BIOS. This device, like all devices, needs drivers. Windows has had this driver for a very long time. However, Linux has not. So, once the Linux kernel takes control and begins looking for the CD it's booting from, it can't find it, and thus, it stops. However, some linux boot disks never actually access the CD after the Kernel loads. Instead, they run in RAM drives. Those linux boot disks work over IDEr.

 

So, to the second question, the answer is yes. Up to now, the driver could actually be downloaded and patched into a kernel. However, starting with kernel version 2.6.37 the patch will be added into the main source tree. Here's a link to the patch submittal.

 

So, as Linux boot disk kernels are upgraded, they should start working. However, it is important that those who maintain the boot discs compile this driver into the kernel or as a kernel module. So, if you have a favorite Linux boot disk that has upgraded to 2.6.37 and its still not working, verify that it has the IDEr driver.

 

Once 2.6.37 is out, I'll give some Linux boot disks a go and add them to my favorite IDER boot disk list. So now I'm curious, who uses Linux based recovery disks? What are they? Do they work with IDEr? Do you want them to work with IDEr?