[LinuxBIOS] Names names.. [was: Linux vs. Open?]

Kevin O'Connor kevin at koconnor.net
Wed Mar 16 13:41:25 CET 2005

On Tue, Mar 15, 2005 at 10:57:56AM +0100, Peter Stuge wrote:
> "BIOS" is quickly getting obsolete.. Plus LinuxBIOS as of now doesn't
> do much in the traditional BIOS sense; there are no callbacks, by
> design. It's a mainboard firmware rather than a BIOS. That's actually
> pretty good, "mainboard firmware" - but then I'm back at the original
> problem; what to call the non-payload part. Core? Hardware init?

I think the term "BIOS" means different things to different people.  Some
think of it as the POST stage - which is what LinuxBIOS replaces.  Others
would associate it with the old DOS callbacks (as you did).  And yet others
think of the menu screen in a COTS BIOS where boot options can be set.

> > Then we can explain why "Linux" is in the name of the project. Or
> > perhaps the solution would be to change the name of the project
> > back to FreeBIOS. If not that, we can call it Minnich's BIOS (Since
> > it rhymes with LinuxBIOS) and pray that nobody calls it MinixBIOS
> > :)
> :) The name LinuxBIOS has catched on however, I recall Ron wrote that
> it catched on even among vendors, and changing it without a really
> good reason would just hurt in that case.

I wonder if the pain of changing names would be worth preventing the
perpetual misunderstanding that the current name creates.  LinuxBIOS right
now has nothing to do with Linux.  The misconception that Linux is in the
firmware or that the firmware was derived from Linux comes up frequently.
(See one of the replies in this thread..)

Interestingly, Linux is a trademarked term.  If a manufacture ever started
shipping LinuxBIOS, they'd need to put the little blurb about "Linux is a
trademark owned by Linus Torvalds" in their promotional material -- even
though Linus and Linux have nothing to do with the product.

Also, if LinuxBIOS+ADLO ever matures, one could get in the very awkward
position of trying to explain to end users that they're really running
Windows and not Linux.  :-)


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