Launchpad Entry: https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/+spec/portable-gfxboot
Created: 2006-06-08 by ColinWatson
Packages affected: gfxboot, syslinux?, grub?, lilo?, yaboot?
Make gfxboot portable to non-x86 architectures and to modern x86 systems with limited BIOS compatibility.
In Dapper, we added gfxboot to our amd64 and i386 CD images, providing a friendly graphical boot menu as the first thing users see when booting Ubuntu CD images on those architectures. Unfortunately, gfxboot is currently a huge pile of x86 assembly, and cannot be ported to other architectures (such as powerpc) without a total rewrite; furthermore it relies on the x86 BIOS and VGA so it won't work on Intel-based Macs without Boot Camp. The assembly aspect also makes it hard to add new features such as different behaviour on laptops and desktops.
Research the feasibility of gradually rewriting the architecture-independent parts of gfxboot, chiefly the language interpreter, in C, preferably with the co-operation of upstream (SuSE). It will then be possible to support other systems with a much smaller amount of work.