Say Goodbye To Your BIOS: Hello, UEFI!

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Say Goodbye To Your BIOS: Hello, UEFI!

Postby Egaladeist » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:56 am

The days of the good ol’ BIOS are numbered. The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) will introduce a more powerful solution able to better cope with the demands of today’s diverse hardware. In a nutshell, UEFI is an interface that takes care of handing over the pre-boot environment to the operating system. We took a quick look at UEFI and found some imminent issues.

Some 25 years ago, the BIOS was designed to launch operating systems. The first computers used punch cards as a launch target before these were replaced by ROMs with basic interpreters. Today we can chose a plethora of targets, including floppy disks, hard drives, optical drives, and network locations. However, actual component operation is still subject to the particular operating system through device drivers, whereas EFI allows for OS-indepentent driver support through its own driver model.

In the end, the BIOS is still here and still does what it has been doing for the last 25 years: making sure your operating system can boot. It was never designed for today’s massive diversity of hardware. It’s still stuck with 16-bit interfaces and software interrupts, interrupt routing and maximum precision timers, limited ROM execution space (1 MB) and image size, a limited number of initializeable devices (which is critical in the server space), proprietary extensions, and missing modularity—just to name a few issues. ... or=RSS-182
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