Home > Intel > Intel Hands Off BIOS Successor to Trade Group Intel Hands Off BIOS Successor to Trade Group Submitted by jeanmarc 2005-07-26 Intel 24 Comments The Extensible Firmware Interface, which could speed the boot-up process for PCs, has been handed over to a group that will promote and standardize it. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 24 Comments 2005-07-26 9:05 pm I havent read the article or proposed standards or anything, but I hope this brings some of the OF features of the mac hardware to the x86 platform, most notibly like the able to boot your computer into firewire and/or USB disk mode. This is a REAL life saver, not to mention time saver 2005-07-26 10:06 pm BigZaphod I agree. I use that ability on the Macs I admin quite frequently. I’m a bit concerned about the new Intel-based Macs as I’ve heard they won’t use OpenFirmware which is what made all that possible. 2005-07-26 9:38 pm It’s 2005 and we’re still using that 16bit piece of shit even on AMD64 systems. Glad to see the PC still 10 years behind on basic features like a decent firmware. 2005-07-26 9:45 pm That’s great news. penis 2005-07-26 9:50 pm Steve Great news to hear that this is being handed off to be truely independent. Shows some good faith for Intel. 2005-07-26 9:58 pm Ronald Vos This might mean less kludge to deal with for kernel-programmers. 2005-07-26 10:05 pm JrezIN Besides the “trusted computing” thing, doesn’t look bad… Not that I’m against trusted computing. I’m just afraid of it… it’s big and scary! 2005-07-26 11:26 pm I’m afraid I don’t understand what “boot (…) into firewire / usb disk mode” means here. If it means “being able to boot a PC from a USB memory stick / firewire HD”, then let me laugh, as any decent PC of 2 years or less is able to do that without needing an obscur pre-boot environment. For your info, EFI is used on itanium-based computer for at least 3 years (you know, itanium, the “futur” of 64 bits computing We have such boxes in my company, and they don’t precisely boot faster than any 10 years old PC (in fact EFI is at least 3 times slower, not kidding) More facts, less marketing! 2005-07-27 12:09 am They’re talking about target mode… http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58583 There are many uses for target mode. For instance, if I want to get data quickly off my laptop, I boot my laptop into target mode connect it to any other firewire equipped Mac and mount the system volume to desktop. Or, say I have a program on my laptop that I really would like to use on a spanking new G5, but I don’t have the install disks and a direct copy of the app won’t work. I boot the laptop into target disk mode, mount the system volume and then tell the tower to boot off of the laptop. Viola– my G5 is using my laptop’s system. Target mode also comes in really handy for cloning disks. Lots of uses… 2005-07-27 1:48 am puddleglum That sounds neat. So why won’t this be available in the intel Macs? Incompatible binaries? I thought Macs used fat binaries. Maybe the instal rips off the part that is not pertinent to the current machine. 2005-07-27 6:10 am BigZaphod It has nothing to do with binaries. All that target mode stuff is in the Mac BIOS itself (a variant of OpenFirmware). The Intel Macs are (from what I have heard) not going to use OF. No standard PC BIOS I’ve ever heard of supports anything quite like target mode – and it is by far one of the single most useful hardware-level features of the Mac. Maybe not for day-to-day usage, but I’ve rescued several Macs with it, installed Tiger on an old Mac that didn’t have a DVD drive by using my laptop in target mode to expose *my* DVD drive to the other system and installed from there, etc. It is the kind of kick-ass stuff that tends to make PC users’ jaws drop when they finally realize how it works and what it can enable just by holding down the ‘T’ key while any modern Mac is booting. I am not talking about booting from Firewire (which of course any Mac has been able to do since they came with Firewire and several PCs as well). This is much cooler (and frequently more useful) than that feature is alone. 2005-07-27 3:04 am That’s interesting … because intel have been trying to cripple the Free BIOS project where as AMD have been actively supporting it http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/free-bios.html 2005-07-27 3:17 am redm “Executives at BIOS makers and chip giant Intel have said that more tightly controlling this element in a PC helps maintain PC security and stability and fosters competition by protecting companies’ intellectual property.” Something about that and “The Extensible Firmware Interface, which could speed the boot-up process for PCs, has been handed over to a group that will promote and standardize it.” do not seem to mesh. Without more details it seems hard to determine if this is a good or bad move. 2005-07-27 3:20 am pravda Microsoft and Intel are putting in all this police state crap just to raise switching costs and support the US/EU and other police states. China could wipe out the entire US PC industry in a few years if they wanted. Make a completely open PC and the PC industry will be reinvented and revitalized and ultimately revolutionized. I’ve used the EFI BIOS on an Itanic and it looks, smells, and feels like a turd. It is slow and obscure. Maybe the machines of the future will need a dual-core hyper-thread system just to get the BIOS off the ground. There are better things to do in a short life than follow the lead of these evil companies. 2005-07-27 6:02 am ” I’ve used the EFI BIOS on an Itanic and it looks, smells, and feels like a turd. It is slow and obscure. Maybe the machines of the future will need a dual-core hyper-thread system just to get the BIOS off the ground. ” LOL. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. There’s truth to it as well, which makes it even funnier 🙂 2005-07-27 2:19 pm segedunum Microsoft and Intel are putting in all this police state crap just to raise switching costs and support the US/EU and other police states. I have to agree there, because it has become clear with everything here that’s going on in Britain, that our government and security services are more worried about computers and the internet than they are about terrorists. Every discussion about terrorism results in totally unrelated rants about how the internet is evil and how they want any encryption keys any time they ask for them. The repercussions of that are not terribly pleasant to think about. China could wipe out the entire US PC industry in a few years if they wanted. Make a completely open PC and the PC industry will be reinvented and revitalized and ultimately revolutionized. I’ll tell China this much. If they can produce an adequate chip and hardware infrastructure free of this crap then I’ll buy it. It’s as simple as that. In terms of possible corporate espionage you simply have to think about that as well. Funny. A communist backed project more free than what we’ve got. I’ve used the EFI BIOS on an Itanic and it looks, smells, and feels like a turd. It is slow and obscure. Certainly is. Maybe the machines of the future will need a dual-core hyper-thread system just to get the BIOS off the ground. They’ll probably end up having an entire OS put in them. There are better things to do in a short life than follow the lead of these evil companies. There certainly is. There will come a point when everyone will have to get together who doesn’t want this and work out what we’re going to do. 2005-07-27 10:54 am One of the first things that struck me of the ‘alliance’ might be the trusted computing stuff they might want to put in there. I cannot remember if the original Itanium/EFI combination had any of the trusted computing stuff in it already. Anyone able to expand/clarify? 2005-07-27 11:06 am transputer_guy I recall this feature being available in Macs far beyond FW going back to scsi to scsi Mac connects, it wasn’t always supported and seemed a bit iffy but did allow some Macs to turn in a plain HD, but FW/USB? would make that a breeze. I have always been told (by FW vendors no less) that PCs can NOT boot FW, is that still true? I see Bios’s can boot USB x,y,z but never tried it yet. I still wonder what 2GMips of computing actually does in the 1 or 2 mins booting to dest top this here dog does, probably bugger all. 25yrs ago 1Mips given 2000*2mins could have done an awefull lot. 2005-07-27 1:04 pm Others say that a very good reason to keep the BIOS closely held is to defend against hackers. “The one thing we have to worry about first is security. What do you think would happen if there was a virus that started reflashing,” i personally would see the bios better protected from corruption if the flash rom had a write-enable password (like all mobile phone SIMs and smart cards) in place of a single bit signal that can be set form a normal i/o port, instead of keeping the specifications secret… 2005-07-27 1:23 pm pravda “We must do everything necessary to protect the public from terror.” What do you think would happen if there was a virus that wrote garbage to your hard drive? “All personal data must be stored on the Wintel Secure Network to protect the customer from terror. We will monitor your information continuously for terror. You will be safe.” 2005-07-27 1:51 pm evert I remember all the tragedies with windows & bios playing together to limit your disk space. i still know a PC with a 60 GB hard disk, but windows can only use the first 8 GB because it uses the BIOS hard disk information. Linux does not have such problems because it does not use the BIOS info, but probes the IDE channels directly. That’s the best way to do it – make the BIOS as unneccesarry as possible. Flash updates to the BIOS would be welcome, but are BIOS passwords the way to go? Weak passwords, BIOS password erasers, and people forgetting their password… No, maybe the OS should handle that. For system administrators, it would be nice to have the ability to flash BIOS remotely, for a complete network. 2005-07-27 4:54 pm There must be some confusion. The IEEE and the large manufacturers such as IBM, Apple, SUN, etc. have already decided for OpenBIOS as the new BIOS standard and Intel’s EFI doesn’t even comply with IEEE standards. What does Intel want? Create more confusion and cost? OpenBIOS is fully IEEE 1275-1994 compliant and the OpenBIOS consortium together with the IEEE is the real authoritative entity in charge of setting new BIOS standards and not Intel. See: http://www.openbios.org 2005-07-27 6:44 pm pravda When the crash comes, a police state will be needed to control things so there is no revolution. This move by Microsoft/Intel/etc is to accelerate the reach and pace of the police state. And yes, Intel thrives on increasing costs. Just like Microsoft. More costs = more profits. Of course for the customer, More costs = less value. But they don’t care about you. IEEE is not an “authoritative” body except to stamp a piece of paper as “the paper is done and signed off on”. When it comes to the dynamics of the market, the IEEE is largely irrelevant. Prepare for the PolicePC coming soon from Microsoft, Intel, and AMD. 2005-07-28 10:04 am pravda: Your nickname says it all.. and you claim non-communistic countries to be police-states ? Geez… you commies/’68 socialists and such really don’t have a clue, do you ?