[OpenBIOS] Intel holding back information

Ron Tsur ron at lynx.coredump.com
Fri Aug 6 10:49:58 CEST 1999

Niklas Ekström wrote:
> On Thu, 5 Aug 1999, Ron Tsur wrote:
> > I provide consulting services to Intel, many times concerning chipsets.  I am
> > bound by non-disclosure agreement so I could not provide you with any
> > information that you cannot receive by other means.  However, Intel does not
> > want to hide information regarding released chipsets, only to protect
> > pre-release products.  I believe that the best avenue for you is to request a
> > developer CD-ROM subscription, which is free of charge, if you qualify and
> > includes regular quarterly updates.  refer to Developers' Insight CD-ROM at
> This is annoying. Do you think that I'm actually that stupid that I
> haven't retrieved the information that is freely available from Intel
> before I write something like this to this mailinglist?

I would not be subscribing to this mailing list if I would not share your
interest in open source and free OpenBIOS.  I don't think that you are stupid,
but your attitude sucks, because you attack the very people that are trying to
help you.  Maybe you cannot get the information you are seeking because of your

If you read my letter carefully, you will see that I offered you some real
help.  I can probably get the documents you need at any time.  However, I
cannot distribute them legally without the owners (Intel) consent.  I
understand your frustrations.  I have frustrations about keeping information
from the public too, but I have to live with them.  I don't think that you will
go very far, begging BIOS engineers to (illegally) release the information to
you.  You may be better off developing a strategy to convince Intel that your
effort is going to be in their best interest.  At least, this is what I do when
I need such information.

Now, comes my question.  Why do you need Intel's BIOS specs.  If you are
working on a truly OPEN software product, isn't it better to take the
"cleanroom" approach?  Intel's specs are always influenced by their ties and
legal agreements with the major BIOS manufacturers (phoenix, award, etc.) who
actually PATENT some of the algorithms they are using in their products. 
Intel's BIOS specs may pose some unreasonable limitations on your supposedly
unencumbered design and Intel or one of the other BIOS manufacturers may have
legal claims to OpenBIOS if they can prove that you used "their" proprietary
information in your design.  So, perhaps, we will all be better off without
Intel's help.

Thanks for listening,

   ||   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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