[coreboot] [RFC] Contact Intel

Ken.Fuchs at bench.com Ken.Fuchs at bench.com
Tue May 20 01:13:38 CEST 2008

> Richard M Stallman wrote:

> > When I wrote before about writing to Intel,
> > I had considered only part of the issue.  So
> > I feel obligated to fill in the part of 
> > the picture that was missing.
> > 
> > The messages you send to Intel's customer
> > service in favor of free BIOS support are
> > not read or answered by someone who has 
> > the authority to change Intel's policy.
> > That's the part I considered before.
> > 
> > The part I overlooked is that these messages
> > are part of a campaign.  Sending many letters
> > to Intel has the effect of showing Intel that
> > the public is concerned about the issue.
> > So even if the people who read these messages
> > only send back a canned response, they tell
> > people higher up that the public is concerned
> > about the issue.  More letters mean more pressure.
> > 
> > So it is useful to send the messages.

Arc wrote:

> Maybe we should bypass the lower levels and
> write directly to some ceo.

The unwritten assumption here is the CEO is the one
person who ultimately decides whether Free Software
developers of coreboot and other GPL licensed Free
BIOS/Firmware get the technical chipset information
they need.  This may be true, but the CEO listens
to both (primarily) advisors below him and (to a
lesser degree) the Board of Directors above him.

We need Intel insiders who can tell us who these
advisors are and which approach would be more
successful in convincing them that releasing chipset
information to core Free Software BIOS/Firmware
developers would have a significant, net positive
effect for Intel.  The Board of Directors of a
public company should be listed with the information
the company must file with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission.  It also happens to be on Intel's
website <http://www.intel.com/pressroom/bod.htm>.

We need to accept the fact that Intel may be willing
to release chipset information to only a few core
developers via an NDA and may want to review source
code developed to ensure that not too much information
is publicly released (for example in the comments).
Thus, the code may have to be developed by a small
number of developers, who can communicate to each
other, but may not publicly release their code until
approved by Intel.

What should the message be?  All your competitors
are providing their chipset information and they
are thus able to provide free coreboot firmware that
boots in a few seconds as opposed to about 30 seconds.
It must clearly and accurately show the advantages,
both technical and business, of coreboot over any
proprietary BIOS.  It should list both embedded low
power and as well as server and PC processor projects
that could each produce volumes in the millions that
without coreboot, Intel would lose to its competitors.
Furthermore, coreboot does not have to be better than
any proprietary BIOS in every way, such as in UEFI
compatibility, since in many application/markets,
UEFI is not needed.  Any clear or hidden threat (other
than realistic loss of market share by not supporting
coreboot) should not be included in the message.
Anything significant that is win/win for both parties
should be included in the message.

How should the message be sent?  Probably type-written
letter, but a legibly hand-written letter may have more
impact.  It should definitely be sent via the local
postal service of the country of origin.  The letter
should be tailored to the unique market situation in the
country of origin as well.

Who should sent messages?  Anyone who realistically has
a good chance of making a positive impact.

Comments are requested.  No doubt I'm missing many good
points.  Someone else might present the topic more
concisely and might develop a better plan of action.


Ken Fuchs

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