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Date:      Thu, 25 Oct 2012 03:23:58 +0200
From:      "C. P. Ghost" <cpghost@cordula.ws>
To:        Polytropon <freebsd@edvax.de>
Cc:        mexas@bristol.ac.uk, freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: laptop with no BIOS? or BIOS reflash pain
Message-ID:  <CADGWnjVZMR=Qm4m3kHVxR7L5mJx_L7jbrYDU-LYi4y0AgyQ6+Q@mail.gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <20121019135737.bf3ada15.freebsd@edvax.de>
References:  <201210191038.q9JAcmq7073341@mech-cluster241.men.bris.ac.uk> <20121019135737.bf3ada15.freebsd@edvax.de>

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On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM, Polytropon <freebsd@edvax.de> wrote:
> On Fri, 19 Oct 2012 11:38:48 +0100 (BST), Anton Shterenlikht wrote:
>> Anyway, I think I've heard there are some laptops
>> with no BIOS, is this true?
>
> Per termini technici, yes.
>
> Some systems use EFI (or UEFI) instead of a BIOS. It's
> comparable to a much more advanced (than BIOS) micro-OS
> that initializes the hardware, connectes to the Internet,
> tells the manufacturer what you're doing and keeps limiting
> you in what you are allowed to install. :-)

Heh... ;-)

(U)EFI is nothing new for us old farts: we've had OpenBoot[1] on
Sun hardware for ages, and even though it didn't limit us w.r.t. the
OS you wanted to boot (that's why you can install FreeBSD/sparc64
on used Sun machines), it had its issues too. Mainly that it needed
a counter-part in hardware peripherals. E.g.: without F-Code in ROM,
a PCI-based frame buffer wouldn't be usable there, because it wouldn't
reply to the OpenBoot queries.

The point is that firmware CAN be a mini-OS and more powerful
than PC-BIOS. There's nothing wrong with that, and the flexibility
of OFW/OpenBoot was for us sysadmins invaluable, esp. with
diskless machines. What's wrong, is UEFI's DRM-scheme used to
prevent non-signed code to be loaded... without mandating in
the specs that the BIOS vendor MUST allow the device owner
to add his/her own keys to it. That's the evil part of it.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Firmware

-cpghost.

-- 
Cordula's Web. http://www.cordula.ws/



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