Several people have mentioned Sun, HP, SGI, etc. workstations boot firmware
as examples of kinda the approach the project may want to take. Open
Firmware was originally based on Sun's OpenBoot 2.x, and UltraSparcs use
OpenBoot 3.x, which is Open Firmware compliant (according to the below
site), OF is IEEE standard 1275, and seems quite well thought out, and can
do pretty much everything stated as desireable on this list.
Other platforms that use OF include most PReP and CHRP-compliant PowerPC
The problems I can see is that it is (probably) too big to fit the space we
have to work with, both in flash and NVRAM, and x86 processor bindings are
not quite there yet, also, it is very unlikely that it could handle booting
Windoze, DOS, etc.
However, it may still prove useful as reference, see
<http://playground.sun.com/1275/> for info.
I will quote the description from the above site:
OPEN FIRMWARE DESCRIPTION.
Open Firmware is the only firmware standard in existence to have its own
song. Download or listen to Mitch Bradley singing the Open Firmware Song
Open Firmware is the non-proprietary name of firmware complying with IEEE
Std 1275-1994. OpenBoot (tm) is Sun Microsystems trademark for the
firmware product shipping on over one million SparcStations(tm) and
SPARCServers(tm) since 1989. Apple Computer's newest line of PCI bus-based
Macintosh(tm) desktop systems are shipping with Open Firmware.
Among Open Firmware's many features, it provides a machine independent
device interface, which can be used to boot plug-in cards without providing
OS-specific and/or machine dependent binary programs on the plug-in card.
This feature enables plug-in card manufacturers to easily support several
independent computer architectures without needing to supply different
firmware for each one.
Open Firmware is based on Sun Microsystem's OpenBoot 2.x implementations
and complies with ANS (ANSI) Forth. (Information on ANS Forth is provided
courtesy of Athena Programming, Inc.) You can also get additional
information about Forth and the Forth Interest Group on the World Wide Web
Interest Group Home Page.
OpenBoot 3.x, currently shipping on Sun's 64-bit UltraSparc based systems,
complies with the Open Firmware standard.
Open Firmware is now shipping on Apple Computer's 604-based, PCI bus,
PowerMac systems. Read how Apple Computer describes PCI bus and Open
Table of Contents.
Regarding size, <http://www.firmworks.com/www/size.htm> has this to say:
A full-featured Open Firmware implementation, including debuggers, network
protocols, selftest diagnostics, drivers for on-board devices, keyboard
graphics device support libraries, fonts, and on-line help, usually
requires between 128K and 256K bytes of ROM space. In some system
unnecessary features may be omitted, making it possible to fit Open
Firmware in a single 128K byte ROM.
There's a more detailed description at <http://www.firmworks.com/www/ofw.htm>
Joel "Espy" Klecker Debian GNU/Linux Developer <mailto:email@example.com>
God shows his contempt for wealth by the kind of person He selects to
receive it. -- Austin O'Malley (1858-1952)
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