Linked by Gregory on Sat 26th Feb 2011 16:51 UTC
Intel "Intel is pleased to announce the BIOS Implementation Test Suite, a bootable pre-OS environment for testing BIOSes and in particular their initialization of Intel processors, hardware, and technologies. BITS can verify your BIOS against many Intel recommendations. In addition, BITS includes Intel's official reference code as provided to BIOS, which you can use to override your BIOS's hardware initialization with a known-good configuration, and then boot an OS."
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A number of OS developers who've lived in hatred of the thing for decades disagree with that.
Gee, a bootloader that allows one to completely customise the boot process and replace behaviour set by the vendor of your motherboard... yeah, that sounds completely useless.

But that is not what we are talking about here.

We are talking about a test suite to ensure the viability of the BIOS configuration on Intel hardware. Frankly I'm surprised this hasn't been done before...

Oh wait!! It has... by AMD, no less...

So, now, would you prefer the one who did it first, and has a more mature solution, or the last one to the party?

In any event, this has little benefit to the end user, it is useful for the BIOS authors, and OS developers. It merely makes it easier for people to stay on the same page - not that people like to do that, they just have no choice.

The only case where an end-user could find this useful is if they know the intimate details of how their motherboards are designed AND the issues involved with supporting some obscure operating system. That is the only case I can see. And that only exists because the test suite permits live code injection and hardware re-initialization, thereby overriding possibly flawed BIOS logic / init routines.

That is all.

--The loon

EDIT: embedded quotes... grrr...

Edited 2011-02-27 04:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

TheGZeus Member since:

It's the possibility of it being forked/used in other tools that interests me.

The original intent of any bit of code isn't necessarily the end result.

What's this AMD project that allows one to bypass/alter the settings made by proprietary BIOS code with an open solution and requires no hardware modification?

I'd be interested to see it.

Barking sarcasm rather than sharing information seems rather counter-productive.

Reply Parent Score: 2

looncraz Member since:

It's the possibility of it being forked/used in other tools that interests me.

The original intent of any bit of code isn't necessarily the end result.

I have to admit I merely did a quick Google search for "BIOS test suite" and found a few references to such solutions, from AMD, AMI, Award, Intel, and a few others. Looking further I see only two posts anywhere directly related to AMD's BIOSTestSuite.exe and have found no other information... so for whatever good that might be... ( none it seems, so I'll just give this one to Intel ).

My overriding point remains the same: the test suite itself is only useful for very few, as is its code.

The fundamental problem resides in the extreme variability of hardware configurations which may exist on a motherboard. Adding a certain model of a certain type of chip may require a few initialization changes, or else the chip does not function properly. That means using Intel's reference code may not be a viable option for a given motherboard. The results could be completely unpredictable.

Intel's reference code may merely prevent a temp monitoring chip from working, or it may prevent an important add-on chip such as an IDE or SATA controller from working, a risk you can't take in most projects.

And that is the best case scenario, there are, undoubtedly, a few outside cases where damage could occur on some more liberal designs.

Not saying that is likely, but it is possible, the risk of which will prevent widespread use of this code - even in cases where it might be useful

So, once again, I don't see how a BIOS Test Suite could make your choice for platforms on its own merits. Unless, that is, you were a BIOS/kernel/driver developer, then I could easily understand.

Not saying don't go Intel, mind you, they have some awesome hardware on the CPU side.. though I really don't like their chip-set offerings. AMD wins in that regard, IMHO, and we'll see what Bulldozer offers around April/May/June...

Just saying I think your putting too much weight on this project's effect on the platform. It will have a positive effect, but it will be years down the road, and won't be universal.

It does offer an interesting potential for repairing faulty BIOS implementations, or re-enabling functionality in an OEM BIOS in a safer manner than today. But, that goes back to being a BIOS developer, I guess...

BTW, I have to keep spare BIOS chips around because of my occasionally faulty BIOS modifications. I would actually benefit from this project, and am adding it to the strengths of an Intel platform.

For me, it makes sense... I hate exposing the code changes straight to hardware for testing after only some rudimentary checks ( mostly I just change boot logos, and lighten the footprint of certain routines - I'm a binary hacker after-all - or add features from other similar, but more expensive, motherboards ) and I hate needing to re-flash the BIOS to test a simple little change - this product could certainly help me out.

But I don't see how it would help you out.

--The loon

Edited 2011-02-27 08:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2