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UEFI Formed to Replace BIOS

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the well-i'll-believe-it-when-i-see-code dept.

Hardware 422

anonymous cow-herd writes "Businesswire reports that several leading technology companies including Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, Dell and HP and others have formed the Unified EFI Forum. The non-profit corporation will assume responsibility for the development and promotion of the EFI specification, a pre-boot interface originally developed by Intel that is intended to replace the aging PC BIOS."

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Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164244)

I've said before, and I'll say it again: Why not OpenFirmware/OpenBoot?

Let's go through the list and see what EFI has compared to OpenFirmware, shall we?

1. EFI has a built-in bootloader. (Check)
2. EFI has built-in device drivers. (Check)
3. EFI has a shell environment. (Check, except that OpenFirmware isn't so laughable.)
4. EFI is cross platform. (Check)
5. EFI maintain *some* of the old PC BIOS calls. (No Support in OpenFirmware. Boo hoo.)
6. EFI adds trusted computing. (No Support in OpenFirmware. OF believes in computers being controlled by their owners.)

So why EFI and not OpenFirmware? Could it be a Not Invented Here Syndrome, or something more sinister? Is this the beginning of Trusted Computing for all? How do they expect to get customers to purchase an EFI system when a PC BIOS one is still well supported? Will they try to make an exclusive contract with Dell and invite the wrath of the justice department?

Only time will tell.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (4, Interesting)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164266)

Have to admit that #2 is the prime reason I want new bootware. Dammit, the whole software IDE raid thing has me pissed. Why do I need drivers (except for software management) for RAID that pretends to be ATAPI? Either implement it as a real ATAPI translation layer, so I don't need drivers, or don't call it "IDE" raid. jeebus.

If USB could figure out driverless storage, I'm sure the rest of the industry can. How many different ways of defining storage can there be?

Networking too. I'm sick of device drivers. Sick I tell you! And not just because I run Linux. I've got an IBM T41 laptop, and trying to figure out which of 18 Windows ethernet/wifi configurations the thing came configured with is pissing me off.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164464)

Drivers are fine as long as there is exactly one driver per device category (one for mass storage, one for network cards, one for sound cards,...) and all hardware handles the translation from this standard interface to internal formats/commands on the hardware level.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164482)

the idea is to do the same thing as now, just portably: provide the driver on the option rom that can be put onto the device

openfirmware does it this way since 1994

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (4, Interesting)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164295)

... or why not have the fine folks who support OpenFirmware join the EFI group and work with them to make a standard that meets everyone's needs? I sure hope they don't have a "Not Invented Here" mentality that will stop them from working to create a real industry standard with a real industry group.

Leaders of OF should send EFI a letter. The worst they can say is "you're not welcome." But then everything will be right out in the open, won't it?

TW

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (4, Interesting)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164381)

well, OF exists for 1994 - so intel should have joined the OF effort (IEEE standard, even)

they didn't.. and defined a standard 10 times larger than OF, doing approximately the same

if we (the OF people) join them, the best that could happen is a combined standard 11 times larger than OF - not wise.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (3, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164572)

So instead you will keep from joining their group the only folks who would be opposed to trusted computing?

They didn't join your group. Get over it. Staying pure in your group might make you feel good, but it's the group made of major manufacturers who will decide what's actually produced and out there for consumers to use. Not trying to join up with them and make the voice of reason present within that grou might be much much more unwise.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (2, Insightful)

oringo (848629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164300)

Well I didn't read the spec of EFI, but I took a look at openfirmware's website, and the first thing that I read was openfirmware is IEEE1275 standard, but is WITHDRAWN by IEEE. Could that be the reason of EFI, or the result? Another possible explanation is that microsoft wants more control of this, and they know they can get it because no standards like this can fly without them.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (2, Insightful)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164400)

IEEE1275-1994 is withdrawn because no-one cared to pay money for someone at IEEE to rubber stamp a changed year number (so it could become IEEE1275-1999 and then -2004).

it's still in active use on every PPC device and every SPARC device, necessary extensions (new busses etc) are handled via supplementals.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164311)

Is this the beginning of Trusted Computing for all? How do they expect to get customers to purchase an EFI system when a PC BIOS one is still well supported?

1) New Microsoft products will not boot on machines not installed with a DRM'd loader.

2) The "regular" Internet will not work with those people that aren't using trusted computing (i.e. online banking, music stores, etc).

3) People are buying new computers instead of cleaning off spyware because it's more cost effective.

4) Microsoft is now creating "anti-spyware" software (*cough* the recent Claria reports *cough*) so that people may end up going down the road listed in #3.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164315)

>>So why EFI and not OpenFirmware?

And the answer is...

>>6. EFI adds trusted computing. (No Support in OpenFirmware. OF believes in computers being controlled by their owners.)

Media companies want the strongest DRM they can get and to hell with your rights as far as they're concerned. If Microsoft can convince media conglomerates that EFI controlled hardware coupled with an OS that respects DRM (aka some future Windows), then they can make more profit by selling music and videos over the net.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164390)

You are a fucking moron.

BIOS-level DRM has nothing at all to do with file-level DRM.

Stop posting some random bullshit just because you see a buzzword.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164318)

Perhaps the reason is that the EFI webite says that the spec is available to anyone who cares to pay them $2500 and sign an NDA, whereas OpenFirmware is widely documented, so doesn't offer the same opportunity for profit.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

oringo (848629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164329)

That's the same for PCI and heck lot of other IEEE standards.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (5, Insightful)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164356)

Your average customer hasn't ever even HEARD of a BIOS, so they don't know WTF it is. They just hear "three point too giga flops prints faster, faster internet, faster faster" from the sales droids. They don't care if it's Intel, AMD, Dell, Gateway, or a steaming pile of poo in a box, as long as they hear big numbers at the shop where they buy it. They don't know, don't care. Then when 90% of all "computer-users" have bought these trusted-computing Longhorn-lockdowns, there won't be any choices, even if everybody does realize "hey, I can't watch these pirated movies anymore" they'll be complacent sheep, because that's what they always do: look at viruses, spyware, etc. People don't know enough to be able to care.

-Jesse

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

Lepaca Kliffoth (850669) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164423)

You're about 99.99% right. However many people who use Microsoft products go around saying Microsoft sucks and Windows is bad and it's stupid that you can still be infected by viruses etc etc, maybe because there are many people who ask nerds before buying a PC or when they run into trouble.
That won't matter when they'll start seeing ads like "Latest Britney Spears single free with 2 Big macs!" and they'll find out it doesn't play on systems without DRM, so your conclusions are still absolutely correct. I believe a big part of the general public doesn't trust Microsoft anymore but their feelings against that company aren't strong enough. They're mindless consumers and can be easily led like the sheep they are.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164513)

They're mindless consumers and can be easily led like the sheep they are.

You mean like all of the Slashdotters that only shop at mega-corporate stores like Amazon, EBay, Best Buy, and Fry's?

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164556)

OOHHH! ZING! I bet that felt good. No matter who you are, there's always some sheeple you can taunt.

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (2, Interesting)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164522)

Without a doubt it is a Not Invented Here Syndrome, in addition to a "we don't own the patent" disorder.

OpenFirmware is clearly a better alternative but it reeks of IBM and that scares most of the companies mentioned..

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (3, Informative)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164579)

OpenFirmware is SUNs brainchild, IBM (and Apple) adopted it in the powerpc development process

Re:Cue CmdrTaco's OpenBoot Troll (1)

kidtux1 (896975) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164583)

What are the benfits of this new scheme over a BIOS? http://www.kunae.blogspt.com/ [blogspt.com]

What about Apple? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164246)

I don't see Apple in there at all. They're going x86, I'd think it'd be in their best interests to be involved in the low level stuff so they can bolt on their Apple-specific goop a bit easier.

Re:What about Apple? (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164265)

Unless they've already got something in place, and do not need to "bolt on their Apple-specific goop" later on.

Re:What about Apple? (1)

dorkygeek (898295) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164370)

Apple already has OpenFirmware, which works pretty nicely. No need for an UEFI Bios.

Re:What about Apple? (1)

lowmagnet (646428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164396)

I thought that would be pretty obvious. In the case of this group, Apple = Intel. It seems to me that Apple will be implementing any bleeding edge technology Intel produces. I think EFI is the only way Apple will be able to implement target disk mode in their new x86 hardware, too.

Who gives a FUCK (1)

Emperor Stalin (898971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164529)

Apple MACs are only used by homosexuals anyway.

UEFI, please read this. (4, Funny)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164248)

The Linux community politely asks the Unified EFI Forum to not add DRM into EFI as this may be construed as anti-competive.

Re:UEFI, please read this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164263)

The Linux community politely asks the Unified EFI Forum to not add DRM into EFI as this may be construed as anti-competive.

This is our reply: "Hahahah ahahahHh ahHAhahaha..."

Thank you.

Re:UEFI, please read this. (4, Interesting)

tmilam (825889) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164280)

Do you really think they'll take linux into consideration? Of the companies listed, some are dead set against linux, and others, such as IBM and HP - have a vested interest in it. Really, ultimately DRM is unavoidable as it benefits big business. This scares me....Any chance we can get Novell or Red Hat into the UEFI?

Re:UEFI, please read this. (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164367)

Or a consortium of the Linux BIOS people and the ACPI/APM people (with the swsusp2 people, etc.)?

Re:UEFI, please read this. (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164360)

The Linux community politely asks the Unified EFI Forum to not add DRM into EFI....

Dear Linux community;

DRM is the reason why Unified EFI was formed, otherwise we could stick with a known technology that works reasonably well and not spend heaps of cash to lockdown computers.
I know that you Linux guys never need to reboot, but many others spend significant amount time doing so. We will use this fact to force this technology adoption by the unwashed masses. We need to start collecting rental fees on everything sent to your computer, you know.

Love,

Your corporate pimp-daddy

P.S. Embrace us and don't fight us. It will be easier that way.

Re:UEFI, please read this. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164577)

I can already smell the evil, even before I see the spec.

It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164256)

Finally! The BIOS of most PCs is really most annoying. And it could have much better onscreen documentation!

Great (0)

taskforce (866056) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164259)

So we're allowing the guys who make CPUs to set a new standard for something which works perfectly well?

I can see it now: EFI update - minimum specs - 3.2Ghz HT Pentium 4, 512mb RAM (1GB reccomended) 128mb Video RAM.

I guess it could be worse... Microsoft could be designing it.

Re:Great (1)

jmrSudbury (779091) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164313)

This will only be available on new computers, so why not have high standards for the cpu requirement. CPU's have not been coming out with higher GHz lately. A 3.1GHz system bought almost 2 years ago is still near the top of the line with respect to cycles per second. The main problem would be if they require some specific technology that only one cpu maker has.

Re:Great (1)

Eric604 (798298) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164582)

This will only be available on new computers, so why not have high standards for the cpu requirement.

Hi Bill Gates!! You here too?!!

You're completly right man. Right now it's working fine on 4MHz cpu's. So why not redesign it with much higher requirements and basically doing the same? What took you so long? I guess you hit the bloat limit on windows and looking for another project.

Re:Great (1)

NickeB (763713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164321)

...companies including Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, Dell and HP...

Apple (4, Insightful)

Henriok (6762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164264)

So.. Is there really any doubt whether Apple will use EFI in their machines? Seriously.. they can't use BIOS now!

Re:Apple (3, Interesting)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164377)


Is there really any doubt whether Apple will use EFI in their machines?

Yes. You'll note that they're not listed [uefi.org] as a member. Not invited? Not interested? Working on something else? Will they just license the developed tech from Intel? Who knows. But it's interesting that Dell is there but Apple is not.

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164567)

But it's interesting that Dell is there but Apple is not.

Can you say "market share"?

Re:Apple (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164442)

I sure hope they don't... OS X is looking mighty fine these days (compared to both Windows and Linux) and I'd hate to see something like Trusted Computing getting in the way of an otherwise fine replacement for our ever-more-restrictive PCs.

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164519)

Apple uses Openboot :
sudo nvram auto-boot?=false
reboot

Sceptical... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164270)

What's wrong with the PC BIOS anyway? Give or take a few gremlins when new technologies are first introduced, the basic tech seems to have adapted remarkably well for a very long time. Since flashable BIOS technology is now routine, even the early adopter problems don't seem like that great an issue. What's the replacement supposed to offer as an advantage over tried-and-tested, apart from a few buzzwords?

On a more sinister note, there's no mention in TFA of DRM and the idea of "trusted" computing, but I can't help wondering whether this isn't one of the main aims behind the scenes, given who's supporting this new organisation.

Re:Sceptical... (5, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164333)

It doesnt adapt well to serial consoles..
It has limitations on which parts of the disk it can boot from..
It's not scriptable..
It can't be configured in any ways other than what the "setup" program makes available to you..

OpenFirmware as used by SUN is much nicer, you can run diagnostics, write scripts, and get some low level information about the hardware attached... You can control the whole system from a serial console easily, and even install the OS from there..
You can also explicitely boot from any partition on your disk, instead of requiring a bootloader in the MBR to do the selection for you.

Re:Sceptical... (1)

SenFo (761716) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164456)

Being able to control the system through a serial cable will be nice since we now require an add-on "System Management" card to do it. I don't, however, understand why scripting is such a big deal. Can somebody with a little more knowledge on the subject please give me a little insight?

Re:Sceptical... (1)

EvilSS (557649) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164580)

Don't worry, I'm sure the vendors will still sell you a "System Management" license to actually turn the functionality on!

Re:Sceptical... (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164350)

Most PC BIOSes work fine. But that said, improvements are still possible. The SGI Indy boot PROMs of nearly a decade ago contained a shell that could be used to manipulate various system parameters. That was quite a useful tool missing from even the most modern of PC BIOSes. They also had numerous built-in diagnostic tests that far exceed the basic tests offered by many PC BIOSes.

While I haven't used very recent SGI workstations (ie. Tezro, Fuel), I can only assume that they have added to the functionality.

Re:Sceptical... (3, Insightful)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164433)

What is wrong with PC BIOS, a short list by me:
  • Written in Assembly
  • Not modularized
  • Extremely craptistic source code
  • Stuck with ancient ways of doing things
  • At the mercy of the board manufacturer if you need features outside of what is provided
  • etc, etc.
Believe me, I love assembly, and use it at any chance I get, but for something that is as complicated as a BIOS has become, it just isn't the right way to do it.

-Jesse

Re:Sceptical... (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164477)

What language would you put it in? The bios seems like the perfect application for assembly code. The problem is that the bios needs to be kept simple.

Re:Sceptical... (2, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164575)

What language would you put it in? The bios seems like the perfect application for assembly code. The problem is that the bios needs to be kept simple.

Forth, with the Forth virtual machine/interpreter written in assembly. This is the sort of application that Forth excels at.

Re:Sceptical... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164584)

Ada would be an obvious choice.

Nail on the head right there... (4, Informative)

Pollux (102520) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164488)

What's wrong with the PC BIOS anyway? ... On a more sinister note, there's no mention in TFA of DRM and the idea of "trusted" computing.

According to the Overview [uefi.org] page, Microsoft's listed as the only OS maker. First, why isn't Apple among the lineup? Novell? Red Hat Linux? Perhaps it's because they're not part of the real circle of friends...

Enter Microsoft's Trusted Computer Platform. According to the TCPA FAQ [cam.ac.uk] , the companies belonging to the alliance are: "Microsoft, Intel, IBM, HP and AMD". And let's take a look here [uefi.org] ...yep, they're all there. But what are they really planning?

According to the specifications [uefi.org] page, nothing's listed as far as features that are to be included (" The UEFI specification is in development"). But currently, since there is no mention as to the true intent of this new technology, and right now the BIOS isn't broken, why reinvent the wheel? Load times are now less than three seconds, which is a tremendous step from BIOS beginnings. New equipment continues to be supported through new BIOS updates. So what do these companies need that the current BIOS can't give them?

Enter DRM. According to Microsoft's Patent on their DRM-supported OS [cryptome.org] , Microsoft has a few issues with the current BIOS...This AEGIS model requires a tamper-resistant BIOS that has hard-wired into it the signature of the following stage. This scheme has the very considerable advantage that it works well with current microprocessors and the current PC architecture, but has three drawbacks.

1) First, the set of trusted operating systems or trusted publishers must be wired into the BIOS.

2) Second, if the content is valuable enough (for instance, e-cash or Hollywood videos), users will find a way of replacing the BIOS with one that permits an insecure boot.

3) Third, when obtaining data from a network server, the client has no way of proving to the remote server that it is indeed running a trusted system.


So, Microsoft admits that there are flaws that prevent them from using the BIOS in their Trusted Computing platform. But create a new way of booting a computer, protect the technical details from public view, and put the power of the DMCA behind it, and you have a nice foundation into the DRM frontier.

Use a Mac (4, Interesting)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164531)

...to find out why BIOS is antiquated crap. Apple didn't invent Open Firmware, but they make very good use of it.

Four examples:
-Hold down a key at startup to boot from CD/DVD.
-Hold down a different key at startup to boot from a network volume (if available).
-Hold down another different key at startup to give you a menu of all bootable volumes, and boot from the one you want-- external, internal, it doesn't matter.
-Hold down yet another different key at startup to have the machine act as an external hard drive.

The features above make troubleshooting a wayward, non-booting Mac a breeze, and they come in very handy at other times as well. If you encounter a non-booting Windows PC, you almost always need another computer nearby to effectively troubleshoot and fix it.

Ever since Apple announced the move to Intel, I've been a little worried about losing those features-- but I'm hopeful that they will find a way to keep them alive on Intel-based Macs.

~Philly

Re:Sceptical... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164571)

because without it one can have < 5 second boots from power to login prompt

Insyde? (1)

ttys00 (235472) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164274)

The UEFI Forum board of directors include representatives from the following nine leading companies: .... Insyde


I've heard of the other companies... what does this one do?

Re:Insyde? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164309)

They are a bios firm.

http://www.insydesw.com.tw/ [insydesw.com.tw]

Re:Insyde? (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164496)

They made the BIOS that's in the HP OmniBook XE2 DE, which apparently can't get the fan to turn on to prevent the system from overheating during anything else but boot time.

Re:Insyde? (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164554)

Google porovides two links to two different companies named Insyde. One of the Insydes is a Taiwanese company that is a Microsoft Windows Embedded Partner. http://www.insydesw.com.tw/tc/index.asp [insydesw.com.tw] http://www.insydetech.com/ [insydetech.com] Somehow I don't think that they are talking about the Insyde that sells computer hardware in Van Nuys. http://www.insyde.com/ [insyde.com]

More info (5, Informative)

asliarun (636603) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164275)

Read more about EFI here [intel.com] .

Uh... (-1, Redundant)

anglozaxxon (824206) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164287)

What's a 'non-profit corporation'?

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164391)

It is a body incorporated according to the law so as to have distinct legal personality from its members, yet is not to be operated to provide a financial profit to its members, and must operate in compliance with its objectives.

I dunno.... (1)

jusdisgi (617863) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164289)

I just can't help but think back to the 40 or 50 times before I've read "_________ to replace PC BIOS."

Somehow, after a while it just starts to feel like it's not really going to happen. Like Duke Nukem Forever press releases, sort of...

Re:I dunno.... (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164429)

Did you hear the plans of Duke Nukem Forever to replace PC BIOS? The advantages are:
  • Intuitive shoot to boot interface.
  • PC health parameters immediatly visible through scene (e.g. if your processor is running hot, you'll get a desert).
  • If your OS doesn't boot any more, you still can have fun with your computer.

The SGI Indy boot PROM monitor. (3, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164294)

I've always wanted something similar to the old SGI Indy boot PROM monitor, but on PCs. While similar technology is widespread on Sun and Apple machines, amonst others, it is far superior to the simple option-toggling capabilities of most PC BIOSes. The shell was quite handy, and the built-in diagnostic tests were even better.

Who's doing what....? (3, Insightful)

Rahga (13479) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164303)

Intel,
Maker of overpriced, underperforming processors...

AMD,
Leading manufacturer of budget CPUs.....

Microsoft,
Singlehandedly proved that breaking antitrust law can be worth the hassle....

IBM,
Services provider de jour....

Dell
Master of manufacturing, jack of no other trades.

HP
Titanic 2000.

Wow, what a dream team.

Re:Who's doing what....? (3, Insightful)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164359)

Those are the leaders of the PC market. Perhaps you were expecting someone like eMachines? Had you looked at the article, you would have seen even former industry giants such as AMI and Phoenix, former creators of BIOSes.

Re:Who's doing what....? (1)

wirerat1 (456399) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164466)

Well when you have an economy that is going to head to the big flush and all it is going to have is patent and copyright law for future money, why would you be suprised that big business tries to embed it at the lowest levels possible of computing? ... And I agree with the other posters, that they will cut out all other operating systems other than Microsoft from the playing field.

What is IBM doing there ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164520)

They don't make pc's any more...

Get rid of plug and play and bring back jumpers! (1)

Imposter_of_myself (636697) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164307)

I know it may seem archaic to some, but I wish they'd bring back jumpers. Anyone who tries to make a server today, knows what I am talking about when the BIOS decides to "re-arrange" the order in which your cards are seen, e.g. You used to boot from an Intel RAID card, you add a Qlogic FC card, and now the box thinks that it should boot from the qlogic. In the old days, the jumpers ruled the show - you could set what order cards booted in. Maybe this new BIOS can allow me to set this order? That is one of my gripes about the BIOS today.

Re:Get rid of plug and play and bring back jumpers (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164511)

You'd really prefer jumpers to DIP switches?

DMCA (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164344)

Let me take a guess, they'll build DMCA enforcement into it sooner or later.

Re:DMCA (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164388)

Anything which they build into it requires code at the OS level. Any code at the OS level is stored in memory somewhere. Any code stored in memory can be analyzed and reverse engineered.

They're not going to cut the F/OSS community out of the picture entirely. The proprietary houses are doing what they can to stay 6-8 months ahead. Eventually, though, they have to release the specs to someone. Hard to write a media player that makes use of the built-in DRM if the people writing the media player don't know how the DRM works. Maybe they're looking at software as a collaboration-only development model. One company writes all these parts, and then MS adds in the code to make it work with DRM. Then, unless you're employed by MS, there's no legitimate reason to be writing code anymore. Hobbyist programmers can now be labelled terrorists... Or copyright infringers. It's all the same these days.

One thing UEFI will certainly do is... (2, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164354)

... make it about as hard as possible, if not impossible, to impliment a completely free open source operating system. I reckon that is all but guaranteed.

My bet wpuld be on some weird and wonderful, not very good, patented DRM technology that will be forced on it by one of the partners and cross licensed to the others for peanuts. Of course those won't be the licensing terms given to other people

Thinking of licensing terms I have another grumble but I think I'll spare you that one for now [walks off to grumble elsewhere]...

Re:One thing UEFI will certainly do is... (1)

saur2004 (801688) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164399)

It could be licensed for peanuts to anybody. All you have to do is make sure there is a nice little non-disclosure agreement in that licensed and bingo, you just cut out anyone wanting to GPL their work.

Re:Hmm... wolves among the sheep... (3, Interesting)

Shadowsinger (902713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164421)

True, Dell tends to meander along behind whatever the crowd has already done, but IBM and HP both have vested interests in Linux. Somehow, I can't see them allowing MS bully-rights on this one.

Re:One thing UEFI will certainly do is... (3, Informative)

pp (4753) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164449)

Yea right...

Linux has been booting on EFI Itanium boxes since the beginning, even before there was a 64-bit Windows (outside MSFT labs, that is :-) ).

EFI is certainly not pretty, but it's still a great improvement.

EFI at last!!! (1, Funny)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164375)

It's about time we get rid of carburetors on the PC and adopt EFI!

this wont kill Linux (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164410)

there already is too much of a demand for Linux, either UEFI will accept Linux or some motherboard MFGer's will continue to produce mainboards with the old PC BIOS, i don't like the sound of UEFI and will probably go out of my way just to not purchase boards with it...

Re:this wont kill Linux (0)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164436)

Ding.

You and me both, buddy.

Ignorance is bliss.... (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164438)

I'm sorry but do you people take the time to read up before you complain? This is a wonderful opportunity for the open source movement. EFI makes booting multiple operating systems like a thousand times easier. Instead of having a single boot record on the hard disk boot information is stored in a data table and given as an option to the user who selections the OS they want.

This means that Linux can be installed without breaking the existing installations or screwing with the boot loader at all. The DRM is a problem but there is not too much information about if there is going to be a lot of DRM in this new bios replacement.

Re:Ignorance is bliss.... (0, Flamebait)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164544)

I love these DRM chicken littles. If you don't want DRM, just keep buying your meatspace products, and don't buy that latest ebook, or that latest track on iTunes. Get over yourselves.

As much as Microsoft would love a BIOS/Firmware that permits only Windows to boot on a PC, it will never happen. Maybe on a MicrosoftPC, and maybe on a Dell, but nowhere else.

why not just add to the bios? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164439)

Want scripting? Want drivers?

Why not just add those to the BIOS?

I mean the interrupts are a standard but the interface you see when you hit F2 or DEL or whatever is not.

Nothing is stopping AMI from putting a tiny busybox linux image in the BIOS other than available space [perhaps?] and the will to do it.

If you goto the uefi website you'll cleverly see "members only" on all the specification pages... interesting...

Tom

Re:why not just add to the bios? (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164574)

Why not just add those to the BIOS?

Why add more cruft to this horribly outdaged kludge that's been with us for far too long?

I'd rather see OpenFirmware embraced than this Intel designed strategy though..

Todays BIOS (4, Insightful)

BigDuke6_swe (899458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164445)

Please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the BIOS of today backwards compatible with a lot of obsolete hardware that require the BIOS to still behave in a certain way? I belive there were hardware components that for example required that BIOS waited for a certain amount of time before processing some commands due to their startup time. And as years has passed by new features have been added while the old ones are kept and at some point it's a unnecesarily messy code.

Re:Todays BIOS (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164568)

Yeah, exactly how much of this obsolete hardware is going to work in machines that have only PCI Express slots? It's a non-concern.

Here it comes (1)

Particle010 (520521) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164446)

Am I the only person thinking that this is where they're going to slip in the BIOS "trusted computing" without the common person suspecting a thing because "We're uhh just making changes to the BIOS because it's outdated.... nothing to worry about... nothing to see here... it'll be better... we promise."

Granted the BIOS has needed better functionality, but... better be on your guard people.

Re:Here it comes (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164501)

Do hardware people even care about DRM. They sell their machines anyway, DRM or no DRM. So what is their incentive? Really just making something better? There is a good chance of that (OK, MS is in the picture, which makes it a bit murkier).

Best of all this will be Open Sourced by Intel! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164457)

The source code for Intel's implementation of EFI can be found at http://www.tianocore.org/ [tianocore.org]

Also, this standard should finally allow seemless integration of new hardware onto the linux desktop. The main hurdle for desktop linux has always been lack of seemless driver integration.

drm on the ground level (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164463)

I don't want no drm'd bios. Or if they do it, let's start thinking about ways of replacing with custom bios chips/flashes with openfirmware. If they see that people don't like the idea of drm on the application level, well, they take it down to the bios, where most people won't be able to do anything about. No matter if one doesn't do anything illegal on their machines, drm'ing it is still not any a likeable concept on any level. Looks like the hackers of tomorrow will turn out to be really some digital freedom fighters.

Re:drm on the ground level (1)

oxygene2k2 (615758) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164500)

www.openbios.org - together with linuxbios we could make this work..
except that programming the lowlevel setup is non-trivial, because it's usually undocumented, and if you can get to documentation, under NDA or not, it tends to be bug-ridden in that area

No Linux Support? (4, Informative)

oostevo (736441) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164470)

Sorry if this spoils your conspiracy theories, but there's already a project on SourceForge [sourceforge.net] (called ELILO) to support the EFI standard.

And there's a link on the main page of the Intel EFI [intel.com] page.

Amiga Kickstart to replace BIOS!!! (1)

Smuttley (126014) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164483)

just so that when the OS crashes I get to see a Guru Meditation :)

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164492)

Why is a software company on the board of an organization founded to replace a hardware component?

I'm confused? (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164499)

IANA, I Am Not Anything. I'm seeing a lot of negative responses to this. I'm a bit of an idiot and I'm guessing there may even be more than one idiot reading slashdot as well. Could somebody explain to me why this is so bad?

Is it that BIOS is better, or EFI has no improvements to offer? Or is it that you want Open-source firmware instead and are afraid these companies will actively try to make open-source firmware impossible?

My first take was that a group of companies, even competitors, are joining together to try to make a standard for computers. I've always hated when I get screwed because two products from different companies refuse to work together. My thought was that standards would help establish a baseline so that companies know how to make their products work with noncompeting products.

Are slashdotters afraid of possible attempts to throttle a user's flexibility hidden in EFI? Is this fear of DRM based on something mentioned on the sites, or a potentiality?

Time to stock up... (2, Interesting)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164515)

Time to stock up on BIOS based systems. Once they get this change pushed through all new systems will be forced to ship with EFI. And the bets are running toward them incorporating some kind of DRM which will prevent alternative OSes from running on these new systems.

20 years from now there will be a huge market for "free" computers that don't have EFI/DRM built into the system. Of course by then it will be illegal to connect a non EFI/DRM system to the Internet. But a persitant group of hackers will devise numerous methods to mask "free" computers from the corporate Internet police (CIP) which routinely scan all systems connected to the Internet looking for non-compliant systems. And in further efforts to eliminate the hacker menace the new EFI standards will be designed to scan a computers hard drives looking for signs of any activity deemed illegal by the CIP. This of course leads to several people having their doors knocked down and flash bangs thrown through the windows as the CIP confiscates their systems when they find more than a few dozen mp3 files on the users computer systems which don't have proper DRM tags.

Many more people will have their systems confiscated and accounts frozen when their computers report back that they used certain terms in IM sessions and email such as "she was the bomb last night!"

Of course the system will omit everything but the term "bomb".

Microsoft? (-1, Offtopic)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164523)

Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, Dell and HP

Great! So now we'll get blue screens of death during bootup.

You know the old saying..... (2, Insightful)

mkw87 (860289) | more than 9 years ago | (#13164547)

If it ain't broke....

tear apart until it is.

UEFI Formed to Replace BIOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164557)

Is this somehow related to the "... to replace floppies" story a while ago?

Free BIOS Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13164586)

http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/free-bios.html [fsf.org]

Intel have been trying to kill this off ...
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