[OpenBIOS] (was) Intel holding back information

Ron Tsur ron at lynx.coredump.com
Mon Aug 9 12:53:49 CEST 1999

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.

We should also realize that our work is done in the open.  The code can be
published in the public domain for a review period, when we can ask anyone,
including BIOS companies to provide their comments or shut up!  Technically,
this is already done now.  This may circumvent legal claims because they will
have to take active role in advance.  The burden of proof will also fall on
them, in a more significant way and make any legal move much more complicated
and expensive.  So far, I am not aware of any successful legal claim that was
taken against an open-source developer, who originated their code on their own,
without copying other people's code.

Many times you may NOT want to reinvent the wheel.  Sometimes you HAVE TO. 
Maybe we should look at developing BIOS specifications of our own, avoiding
legacy design problems that plague most existing software and reaching beyond
just compatibility with current commercial BIOS.  There is no reason to drive
the project through code hacking alone.  We may want to start by developing the
specifications first.

Note: We are now entering a new era where 64-bit machines, probably with more
than one CPU will be present on people's desktops and miniature computing
devices fit in people's shirt pockets.  Wireless networking is also emerging. 
Maybe this is an opportunity to create something new by transforming the old.  

   ||   Ron Tsur  -  Consultant              ron at lynx.coredump.com
   ||                     Logical Ventures, Inc.
   ||   45171 NW Hartwick Road               TEL   1-503-324-8960
   ||   Banks, OR 97106, U.S.A.              FAX   1-503-324-4432
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