Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Oct 2006 14:12 UTC, submitted by george
Apple Linus Torvalds has picked up one of Apple's new Intel-based Mac minis to play with, but the Linux creator still prefers Apple's old PowerPC architecture for his primary desktop machine. "I'm actually still running a G5, but I also have a Mac mini," Torvalds revealed today in an e-mail to ZDNet Australia. "I like the design, and it's the right form-factor to be a replacement machine for my wife and daughter, but sadly, Apple screwed up the firmware in various stupid ways."
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old news
by diegocg on Wed 11th Oct 2006 14:46 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

If you follow the linux kernel mailing list, you probably knew this already: http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/6/22/448

Reply Score: 4

Blah
by bubbayank on Wed 11th Oct 2006 10:00 UTC
bubbayank
Member since:
2005-07-15

In other news, Torvalds farted today.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Blah
by A.H. on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:50 UTC in reply to "Blah"
A.H. Member since:
2005-11-11

"In other news, Torvalds farted today."

Will it be included in the Edgy Eft?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Blah
by l3v1 on Wed 11th Oct 2006 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Blah"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

No, but it probably will get into Farting Frog ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Blah
by A.H. on Wed 11th Oct 2006 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Blah"
A.H. Member since:
2005-11-11

"No, but it probably will get into Farting Frog ;) "

Man! I had to step outside to laugh at this one!

+ 1 for you

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Blah
by TaterSalad on Thu 12th Oct 2006 04:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Blah"
TaterSalad Member since:
2005-07-06

Man! I had to step outside to laugh at this one!

Was it because of the smell? ;)

Reply Score: 2

so how
by sp29 on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:02 UTC
sp29
Member since:
2006-01-04

How did Apple screw up the firmware? I'm still using the original Mac mini...and a few hp's.

ken

Reply Score: 2

RE: so how
by Hands on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:47 UTC in reply to "so how"
Hands Member since:
2005-06-30

When you read a comment like that from Linus, you have to assume he is referring to the firmware from the perspective of running software that hasn't been blessed by Apple. In this case, he isn't referring to the original Mac mini at all. He's referring to the firmware that was used to intentionally make it difficult for people to use a Mac with an operating system other than OS X even though it technically should have been very possible and very simple with Intel processors.

If you like the Mac mini with Mac OS X, that's great. Personally, I haven't purchased a Mac for the simple reason that Apple hasn't shown a tendency to allow the consumer to do what they want with the computer after they purchase it. OTH, I think it makes a great product for my grandmother.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: so how
by Mellin on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:48 UTC in reply to "RE: so how"
Mellin Member since:
2005-07-06

you mean that Apple shoud have gone with the old and outdated BIOS of the 1980s ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: so how
by r_a_trip on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: so how"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Why go with BIOS, if EFI has a legacy module that can mimick BIOS? No need to go without EFI.

Apple just didn't include the BIOS emulation module, since they had no use for it. OS X is fully EFI capable.

Still it would have been nice if they had included it. Then again, it would have probably meant a lot more WinMacs from the get go.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: so how
by Mellin on Thu 12th Oct 2006 00:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: so how"
Mellin Member since:
2005-07-06

i think that it cost a bit to mutch and Apple didn't need it

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: so how
by pcummins on Thu 12th Oct 2006 02:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: so how"
pcummins Member since:
2005-07-10

Obviously people are missing the fact that Bootcamp provides the necessary BIOS emulation module. Download it here: http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/ for free. I've run it on a few Intel Macs locally, works fine with Windows now that they've fixed up the bugs and provided drivers for the accessory hardware (iSight, BlueTooth, etc) that isn't supported out of the box with Windows XP.

Edited 2006-10-12 02:33

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: so how
by tryphcycle on Wed 11th Oct 2006 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE: so how"
tryphcycle Member since:
2006-02-16

""If you like the Mac mini with Mac OS X, that's great. Personally, I haven't purchased a Mac for the simple reason that Apple hasn't shown a tendency to allow the consumer to do what they want with the computer after they purchase it. OTH, I think it makes a great product for my grandmother.""


bla bla bla! you sound like and uptight elitist! you can do what ever you want with a mini once you own it! and if Linux has issues with the new bios... just relax! a fix will be coming soon enough!

and the comment about your grandmother.... what ever!

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: so how
by google_ninja on Thu 12th Oct 2006 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE: so how"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Personally, I haven't purchased a Mac for the simple reason that Apple hasn't shown a tendency to allow the consumer to do what they want with the computer after they purchase it. OTH, I think it makes a great product for my grandmother.

I'm confused. are you referring to this http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/, or this http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/products/ydl/?

Linux has run on macs forever, and now apple officially sanctions a bootloader for multiple OSs. You know, older versions of windows wouldnt install if your MBR wasnt blessed by redmond, and newer versions of windows simply overwrite it without prompting or even notification?

Reply Score: 1

So ?
by Duffman on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:22 UTC
Duffman
Member since:
2005-11-23

My father gets a mac mini too, is that important?

Who care about what is running Linus ?
Who buy its hardware because Linus bought one ?

Reply Score: 2

RE: So ?
by voidlogic on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:54 UTC in reply to "So ?"
voidlogic Member since:
2005-09-03

Becuase there is a history of Linus using machines that have poor linux support and having the linux support of the machine rapidily improve as a result.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: So ?
by Francis Kuntz on Wed 11th Oct 2006 16:28 UTC in reply to "RE: So ?"
Francis Kuntz Member since:
2006-09-23

Yes, but this time, we are talking about x86. It is already supported for a while.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: So ?
by DittoBox on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: So ?"
DittoBox Member since:
2005-07-08

On x86 with true BIOS, yes. On a custom, Apple/Intel Engineered, EFI "enhanced" motherboard, no.

Reply Score: 3

EFI bugs?
by alwayscrashing on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:25 UTC
alwayscrashing
Member since:
2006-01-13

Never heard of anyone having problems with EFI myself...

It works for Mac OS X and thats pretty much all you should expect from a Mac, anything else should be considered a bonus. They aren't actually selling 'PC's after all, despite the use of Intel processors.

Reply Score: 1

RE: EFI bugs?
by apoc on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:42 UTC in reply to "EFI bugs?"
apoc Member since:
2006-03-24

lol, dude, have you ever heard of osx86? Mac OSX runs nice on non-EFI motherboards, appearently it only uses it for that slave mode(wich must be a separate EFI application), and suspend. There's no extensive use of EFI(nor could be because of what it is), and neither is EFI an updated tech, there's already the UEFI thingy.

Current Macs use common hardware, and an EFI mobo wich is not required to run Mac OS X.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: EFI bugs?
by alwayscrashing on Wed 11th Oct 2006 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE: EFI bugs?"
alwayscrashing Member since:
2006-01-13

What I said was, Macs run Mac OS X and no one is having any trouble at all with EFI for running software on a Mac. Therefore the firmware is not 'screwed up' as Linux Torvalds put it.

I never claimed it is impossible to run Mac OS X on anything but a Mac. This article is not about that at all and I have no idea why you even brought it up.

Reply Score: 3

RE: EFI bugs?
by hobgoblin on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:31 UTC in reply to "EFI bugs?"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

well this is linus torvalds, the person that if iirc labeled EFI the second biggest intel mistake after ACPI.

Reply Score: 3

v What the #%^&* ?
by tmanop2006 on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:36 UTC
v Say again?
by Tom K on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:51 UTC
RE: Say again?
by czubin on Wed 11th Oct 2006 15:57 UTC in reply to "Say again?"
czubin Member since:
2005-12-31

Ah our old friend Tom K whois bias against linux makes another rant for the glory of mac os x.

I only responded because you obvious care more then linus about linus's family...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Say again?
by chemical_scum on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:41 UTC in reply to "Say again?"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

I thought the Mac OSX fad was over and everybody was moving to Ubuntu>

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Say again?
by Tom K on Sun 15th Oct 2006 00:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Say again?"
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

Think again.

Reply Score: 1

even he wants it
by SK8T on Wed 11th Oct 2006 17:08 UTC
SK8T
Member since:
2006-06-01

yes, linus torvalds knows what is good

Reply Score: 1

God has spoken...
by Leo43 on Wed 11th Oct 2006 18:29 UTC
Leo43
Member since:
2006-06-26

Ok, open-source fanatic mens... the God Linus himself just talked ;)

You all need to buy an Apple Mac Mini ;)

Reply Score: 1

BIOS is outdated
by Finchwizard on Wed 11th Oct 2006 22:11 UTC
Finchwizard
Member since:
2006-02-01

If everyone decided to take on EFI and move forward instead of using an outdated system like the BIOS, then we may not have this problem.

Microsoft refuse to support it, and the hardware vendors aren't probably far off.

So this is Apples fault? They seem to manage to get their Unix based system pretty well with it.

Maybe it's time to replace GRUB as well.

There comes a time when you need to grab technology and try to run forward with it, it's better in the end.

Reply Score: 2

for family?
by sithgunner on Thu 12th Oct 2006 00:13 UTC
sithgunner
Member since:
2006-02-16

and he bitches how his newly bought mac mini has something weird from his perspective that is for his wife and daughter?

i think his wife and daughter cares much less about whether it has bios or efi or whatever under their safari.

and is this even a news? who cares what torvalds runs.

Reply Score: 1

Maybe if some of you...
by Aussie_Bear on Thu 12th Oct 2006 04:21 UTC
Aussie_Bear
Member since:
2006-01-12

...understood the situation before you post, you'd realise something.

One of the responses in the linked article explains why Linus feels the way he does.

Actually, "more modern PCs with EFI" suck in a number of different ways. If you search the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) you will know the technical details.

In a nutshell, the old BIOS sucks so bad that every modern OS just uses it for booting, and then ignores it altogether and goes on to do its own thing for scanning the machine for PCI cards and so on. EFI, on the other hand, has more features and those features allow some customization by manufacturers (the "Extensible" part in EFI). If some operations start requiring the OS to do EFI calls (unlike the BIOS, which forces nothing), we get into the same kind of mess as ACPI, with the extensions posing parsing problems, and bugs forcing the OS to work around them. ACPI was also supposed to be more "modern" and stuff, but its complexity as revealed itself to pose more problems than the ones that it was supposed to solve.

So, in this case, the BIOS is actually better, because it doesn't get in the way (and doesn't provide any false hope of solving any problems).


It has nothing to do with Apple specifically. Linus is criticising EFI itself.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Maybe if some of you...
by pcummins on Thu 12th Oct 2006 15:14 UTC in reply to "Maybe if some of you..."
pcummins Member since:
2005-07-10

I wrote a great reply to this comment, unfortunately it got lost. Shame, so I'll just write a quick summary. (It was a lot longer than this earlier).

Linus is full of BS as usual. He's going off on his usual NIH attitude or "it's different" attitude. This means that if he didn't invent it it's obviously no good and it's clear he's too ingrained to realise what advantages EFI gives over the good old BIOS because it looks like something he remembers sucks. Frankly, if you don't believe me, that's fine, but I recommend you read up for yourself the differences before making a rebuttal.

I wrote a good comparison of EFI vs OpenBoot vs Open Firmware vs BIOS, but the short of it is, the BIOS is a legacy bit of code that makes lives miserable for everyone from device developers to users (they just don't realise it yet) depending on how your expectations are based.

EFI (and Open Firmware) abstracts away the hardware from the OS to a reasonable degree so that POST and boot time is a lot easier for users and developers to get what they want. Stuff like booting over wifi, network or network related storage directly (like ATA-over-Ethernet or iSCSI) is within the realms of possibility. This is generally a no-go in the case of the BIOS (or patchily supported, such as PXE for some network cards).

This can be done via EFI by the use of an architecture agnostic programming system (similar to Forth, or stack processors like Java, .Net/Mono) to write platform independant firmware drivers. SDK development is greatly improved and life "just works". (Most of the time, there's probably some birthing issues here and there that have bitten a few people).

Basically - EFI and Open Firmware leave the BIOS in the dust for what it is - a kludge from the good old days of the IBM PC when 640 KB and real mode is all you got. And here we have Linus claiming it's a bad idea. If he had his way, we'd all be using the command line all the time it seems. Graphics? I remember this stuff called "Windows", and it sucked! Hell no!

As for the quote If some operations start requiring the OS to do EFI calls (unlike the BIOS, which forces nothing), we get into the same kind of mess as ACPI... I call that a mistruth for what it is. The BIOS actually loads in additional BIOSes, namely the VGA BIOS to let the OS kick into rudimentary graphics mode (if needed) such as 640x480 or 800x600 mode, typically to show you Windows is booting before it loads the real driver. Other add in cards such as SCSI or SATA card also load in additional BIOSes to handle booting. If people can get VGA and mass storage BIOS addons working, I'm pretty sure they can get real EFI or Open Firmware drivers working significantly easier and better than what the BIOS supports by a good margin.

So, in this case, the BIOS is actually better, because it doesn't get in the way... It also doesn't provide much support for OSes either. In fact, if you compare the BIOS to EFI or Open Firmware and all the convenient facilities it provides you'd choose EFI/Open Firmware hands down for any serious non-PC based project (such as embedded systems). Again, the correct tool for the job is a good skill to cultivate. Programming by choice under the BIOS is like programming GNU/Linux with ed and m4 to cat together machine code. Sure, you can do it, but why?

I would like to paraphrase Ken Pier (Xerox) here: I liken starting one's computing career with Unix ... to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body covered with lice and fleas, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. My apologies to anyone who comes from East Africa.

So, what's it going to be? Believe Linus like everyone else who can't think for themselves? Or go out and research properly and realise that even role models can be wrong. I leave this in your hands...

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

You might be right, but the real problem (IMHO) is that nobody except Apple is going to use EFI in the near future. Vista won't, Linux won't...

Efi might be a good thing, but History has taught us that the best doesn't always prevail. Was VHS necessarily better than Betamax?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Maybe if some of you...
by pcummins on Fri 13th Oct 2006 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Maybe if some of you..."
pcummins Member since:
2005-07-10

Actually I think the prognosis is pretty good. Since EFI supports the BIOS with a legacy support module, motherboards can get the real job done with EFI (so device developers are happy) and then load up the BIOS to support OSes that don't support EFI. Eventually, the legacy support module will be dropped or made a paid-for item ("Oh? So you want to run Windows XP - well, you need to buy a module for that... you can always just run Windows Vista SP2 though...")

GNU/Linux already supports EFI along with (obviously) MacOS X. Microsoft has not decided whether to support EFI, but they mention that if enough PCs run EFI (or BIOS on top of EFI) they would switch over. It's not like there's no backwards compatibility from EFI issues to stop people from getting on with the job.

Efi might be a good thing, but History has taught us that the best doesn't always prevail. Was VHS necessarily better than Betamax?

True. History shows that humanity needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to consider the common good (environmental pollution, world hunger, AIDS epidemics, peak oil, etc) and computing is merely a microcosm of that. When you get notable role models in computing with less than well endowed abilities to analyse things objectively (I'm pointing my finger at not just Linus here) of course you can see why it takes a long time to get anything done.

As far as I can tell, the only time anything has definitely got done in computing recently is the introduction and protection of DRM systems to stop people from using what they've licensed in whatever way they see fit. Naturally, people pushing DRM usually don't give a damn about what your rights are anyhow.

As a side note. Beta was better than VHS quality wise. They lost because Sony made a series of mistakes (short playing time, refused to compromise on quality, refused to open the market up to innovation, didn't push connections with other manufacturers) drove VHS to the forefront (mostly as it could play an entire movie on a single tape) and Beta got relegated to editing studios and TV stations where the quality was better than VHS (think Digital Betacam SX). You'd have figured Sony would have learnt from the UMatic.

To this day JVC still market S-VHS, S-VHS ET and D-VHS, while Sony and other companies still quibble over stupidity such as BluRay vs HD-DVD when they could have combined forces to make a superior format with little risk. The reasons they won't is probably greed, pure and simple.

It's proven that co-operation is possible in the industry when everyone knows the rules and plays by them - in the case of JEDEC, nobody worries if SDRAM, DDR1 or DDR2 RAM is incompatible with motherboards if it's properly specified (speed, ECC or not, etc). Rambus tried to muscle in on the market and failed miserably, at least on the PC front (they were pretty good on the PS2, PS3 and N64). Greed doesn't pay. Period.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Maybe if some of you...
by segedunum on Thu 12th Oct 2006 16:31 UTC in reply to "Maybe if some of you..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

If some operations start requiring the OS to do EFI calls (unlike the BIOS, which forces nothing), we get into the same kind of mess as ACPI, with the extensions posing parsing problems, and bugs forcing the OS to work around them.

That's about the size of it. Having a lot of stuff handled within the hardware is a nice idea, but when you have ACPI which is handled in umpteen different ways by umpteen different bits if hardware then it ends up being utterly pointless.

Reply Score: 1

EFI is best
by Bringbackanonposting on Fri 13th Oct 2006 02:13 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

Ah yes here we go again. I agree with the Anti-EFI talk here. EFI is just another way for corporations to nudge the industry in their own dirrection. It surprises me MS is not jumping on EFI full steam so they can take over your computer and your life further. But wait, I know why. It's because MS doesn't make PC hardware so they couldn't give a FF. I know who does make PC hardware -Apple. And once again if Apple does it then it must be good. No, it must be the future! I seriously believe that developers start to give back what has been dished out for years by Apple. There should be a concentrated effort to make OSS not work or support OSX. Since "Open" is such a swear word in the Apple world then shut the door on them I say.

Reply Score: 1