[OpenBIOS] Successor to IEEE 1275 (Was:FCode Limit (Was:Dictionary size limit per device instance))

Loye Young loye.young at iycc.net
Tue Oct 2 06:47:10 CEST 2007

Why doesn't this group specify on its own a new standard to replace IEEE 1275? 
It should, IMHO.

What's wrong with attempting an IEEE standard? 
IEEE is chock full of people from the "big guys" (Intel, the proprietary BIOS/EFI/UEFI vendors, etc.), each of whom have a different dog in the race, so it would essentially go nowhere. 
Phoenix wants its own proprietary BIOS thing as long as possible. 
Intel wants EFI or UEFI, but doesn't want it to be an open standard. (I know they have the tiano.org project and trumpted loudly the coming open EFI standard, but I've actually talked to the engineers and executives over at Intel; they have contractually committed NOT to open the bootloader in order to protect the proprietary vendors. EFI is in fact simply an obfuscation layer to protect the code.
The UEFI group is dead in the water. No movement for a long time. None expected.
AMD has opened its hardware and plans to do more within the next few months. 
Chinese ODMs would be happy to apply the standards if one could be developed.
OEMs like me need some better guidance on engineering the machine. 
This group is a relatively vendor-neutral forum.

Should we just go it alone?
No. We invite developers who actually will work on the code, (from this list, LinuxBIOS, Codegen, playground.sun.com/1275, etc.), component manufacturers who actually open their hardware (not just give press releases and make speeches), and ODMs/OEMs who will actually ship OpenBIOS. Examples of manufacturers who are actually opening their hardware are AMD, Solaris, and to some extent Apple.

Who else would be interested? The open source community has been increasingly vocal about its desire for more open boot loaders. See, e.g.,  http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/free-bios.html

What good would a standard to if no recognized standard organization adopted it? Standards organizations are only as good as the standards they promulgate. Given the current mess in the bool loader world, a detailed published standard would carry its own weight because engineers like having specifications already written down. Essentially, the manufacturers are likely to say "Some published reference is better than none."

Happy Trails,

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas
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