Use of BIOS calls in modern code (Was: Re: [OpenBIOS] Why protected mode?)

Edward Brotsman Dreger eddy at
Sat Jul 17 03:37:22 CEST 1999

> Basically, the BIOS in a modern computer is a hardware configurator and
> boot loader.  Personally, I think that that's fine.  I'm not looking for
> a BIOS to do anything more.


In fact, if memory serves me (me who is too lazy at the moment to grep),
there is somewhere in the Linux kernel source that proclaims something
like, "BIOS? We don't need no stinkin' BIOS!"

Though modern BIOSes *can* perform IRQ, I/O, and DMA steering, even this
is oft disabled for all but the peripherals needed to boot via "PnP
Operating System Installed".

On a side note...  Today I was intrigued by a customer's system.  I don't
know the motherboard model, and I hath not the BIOS string at hand, but
let me go from memory:

- AcerAcros
- 486 Socket3

Via the BIOS, one could not only manually steer PCI IRQs (with display of
IRQA, IRQB, IRQC, and IRQD) and DMA channels, but this is the only BIOS I
can recall seeing that allowed manual *I/O port* reservation.

Back to an earlier thread: What development model are we following?

IMHO, I think that the "BIOS" proper should be the bare minimum.  All
other functionality, even some "standard" BIOS functions such as ACPI, 
could be implemented as modules -- even as option ROMs.  Since we'll need
option ROM loader code, anyway, why not reuse it for the "roll-your-own"


  Edward Brotsman Dreger                 "Your Success is Our Success    
  Network & Systems Manager            Our Expertise is Your Advantage"  
  Brian's Consulting Services /~\__/~\ * 316-794-8922    
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