OpenFirmware and interrupt-map

Tarl Neustaedter Tarl.Neustaedter at
Wed Feb 4 13:56:01 CET 2004

Stefan Reinauer wrote:
> So basically there is no real way around having an x86 option rom. It
> seems. Intel is trying to break out and move firmware developers to
> their EFI bytecode, which does the same thing OpenFirmware FCode does,
> just with the need of 4*8MBit Flash to store all of the virtual machine

Actually, my understanding is that the multi-megabyte flash is only
required for the IA-64 implementation. The IA-32 implementation of EFI
from some vendors is reported to fit comfortably in 1MB.

One thing we've discovered recently is that the x86 firmware world
is rife in rumors, FUD, and propaganda. It's pretty startling.

> I've dropped the illusion of getting convinced some day that EFI is the
> way to go,

It certainly looks good; they seem to have learned a bunch of
lessons from the OpenFirmware experience. Unfortunately, we
got stopped by license issues - to go any further than just the
basic spec, there is a "click to agree" license button on the
web page which our legal team told us not to click.

> I don't see it all that negative for FCode firmware in option roms. It's
> just not going to happen in small numbers. For this to happen, there
> have to be _many_many_many_ machines with an IEEE 1275 compliant boot
> firmware.

Sun pushed for this for many years; the IEEE 1275 specification and were both funded by Sun exporting technology they
had developed in the early '90s, with an eye to moving the industry
along in this direction. It sputtered along with minimal industry
acceptance and largely fizzled out before 2000.

The specification (IEEE 1275-1994) is now obsolete; it's supposed
to be renewed every five years, and there just wasn't the funding
and interest level to get it done. We still use the specification
in our day-to-day operations, but I don't think IEEE will even
sell copies any more.

If you can revive interest in OpenFirmware, I'll be delighted.
My personal opinion is that it's a sisyphean task, but don't
let that stop you :-)
	Tarl Neustaedter

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