kudos to dell

Dell does not have great Linux support, but they do at least have some. The other day I needed to update the BIOS on a Dell laptop, so I went to Dell's support site to get the BIOS files. I was not surprised to find the only options were to use Windows and DOS to updated the BIOS. I eventually came up with a solution where I copied (using dd) an image of a DOS install onto the empty laptop hard drive, mounted it, copied over the Dell BIOS DOS executable, put the hard drive in the target laptop and then booted to DOS and ran the executable. It was a bit of a pain, and if I did have an extra laptop hard drive laying around I would not have been able to do it.

Since then, I have discovered that Dell actually makes a tool to install BIOS for Linux users called biosdisk. It essentially automates the process of creating a DOS floppy image with the BIOS executable, coping the image and syslinux's memtest into the /boot directory and adding an entry into the grub boot loader menu to boot the image. I have not tried it out, but it was nice to see that Dell acknowledges the fact that not everyone runs Windows and they have alternate solutions.

Dell's biosdisk page: linux.dell.com/projects.shtml#biosdisk