[OpenBIOS] (was) Intel holding back information: Maybe we should move on...

James Oakley jfunk at roadrunner.nf.net
Mon Aug 9 20:17:36 CEST 1999

Ron Tsur wrote:
> I feel bad about apparently, opening the issue of patents and proprietary
> information in my response to Niklas on this mailing list.  I don't see that
> Niklas and this group of interested individuals should be discouraged from
> pursuing the goal of producing free and open-source software.  The work should
> proceed.  However, we should be careful about using any known-to-be-proprietary
> information and signing non-disclosure agreements.


Well said. The sudden turn to legal issues is, quite frankly, scaring
me. I, personally, can not afford to hire a lawyer with the necessary
qualifications. Maybe if we all chipped in we could... If we continue on
the path we have been going we will *need* a lawyer. Asking around is
simply not enough.

Therefore, I agree with Ron. We should build a specification from
scratch with reference to Linux. Then we get the Linux kernel to support
us. Then we can add features such as APM, improved user setup,
comprehensive hardware enumeration, and, of course, loading

So... Let's start, shall we? Maybe we should contact specific kernel
maintainers about negotiating a spec. Ask them what bugs them about
current BIOS structure and collectively come up with solutions.

>From the maintainers list:

Primary Mailing List - linux-kernel at vger.rutgers.edu

APM driver:	Stephen Rothwell - Stephen.Rothwell at canb.auug.org.au
		Mailing List - linux-laptop at vger.rutgers.edu

IDE driver:	Andre Hedrick - hedrick at astro.dyer.vanderbilt.edu

IDE/ATAPI CDROM: Jens Axboe - axboe at image.dk

PCI Subsystem:	Martin Mares - mj at atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz

PNP:		Tom Lees - tom at lpsg.demon.co.uk
		List - pnp-devel at ferret.lmh.ox.ac.uk

SCSI:		List - linux-scsi at vger.rutgers.edu

Plus you-know-who.

I've probably left out people (specifically networking people).

Also we should contact the LILO maintainers.

I'd rather start doing this than muck around in waters of unknown depth.
I have *some* traditional BIOS information, including snippets of IBM
technical docs in a book on x86 architecture... I think we should wait
on DOS though. Maybe if we do this then we will know a lot more about it
all when we do tackle that situation.


James Oakley
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