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Re: Open Source BIOS

Roy Schestowitz wrote:

> Phoenix makes a compelling case for the Open Source BIOS
> http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29963
> "BIOS GIANT Phoenix, the company responsible for the pieces of code saved
> on flash memory and which initialize our computers and interfaces to the
> hardware at the low level -even before the OS loads, is giving us plenty
> of reasons to support the case of an open source BIOS."
> Give us detailed schematic of the chips and that'll be an Open PC...

Actually I didn't know the BIOS had become closed source. IBM used to give
you a full print out of the BIOS code as part of the manual, along with the
full circuit diagram of an IBM PC.

Maybe they closed the doors when those virus's that changed the eepron
values first came out.

Gateway were always mucking around with BIOS chips, often making themselves
incompatible with hardware other than their own. Dell used to mess around
with it too, for seemingly no other reason than to have a little pop up
every time you typed the word Dell anywhere that just said 'Dell

In both cases it seemed to me to be a matter of 'The programmer knows how,
so we do it, and that is the best reason we can come up with'. But also in
both cases it caused problems in the field.

While writing this I have been trying to think who it was that did make good
use of extra BIOS code, I remember quite a lot of options available before
the boot device was activated from a menu, including utilities to test the
fat table and use the copy if they were problems (the fat table used to be
written twice on your drive). I have a feeeling it would of been HP.

As for right now, roms/eeproms are easily readable by those who desperately
want to hack a machine at a point before a boot device is selected. So
being open source wouldn't do halm because the information is available
anyway and maybe would do some good to open it. 

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