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Intel Software

Intel To Release Next-Gen BIOS Code Under CPL 224

Posted by timothy
from the old-texas-town-of-el-paso dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Intel said today that it plans to release the 'Foundation code' of its next-generation firmware technology -- a successor to the PC BIOS -- under the Common Public License (CPL), an open source license, later this year. More than 20 years old, the BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) is the oldest software technology in PC platforms. Intel says its firmware Foundation code, a result of a project codenamed Tiano, 'provides that the successor to the BIOS will be based on up-to-date software technology.' The Foundation code is designed to be extended with new features and services, such as improved platform manageability, serviceability, and administrative interfaces which are too complex to implement in the old BIOS environment, according to Intel."
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Intel To Release Next-Gen BIOS Code Under CPL

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  • CPL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devinoni (13244) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:14PM (#9311080)
    Seems the CPL is popular these days. Even Microsoft uses it for their opensource projects (WiX and WTL). Not to mention IBM who is the CPL author.
  • DRM (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:14PM (#9311082)
    The Foundation code is designed to be extended with new features and services, such as improved platform manageability, serviceability, and administrative interfaces which are too complex to implement in the old BIOS environment

    This technology is more commonly known as Digital Rights Management.

  • Microsoft Support? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3) profit!!! (773340) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:22PM (#9311118) Homepage
    "Microsoft is continuing its commitment to open industry standards by adding EFI boot support to all versions of the Longhorn generation of Windows products," said Tony Pierce, Technical Evangelist of Microsoft's Windows Hardware Innovation Group. "Participation in the collaborative community effort around the Foundation code that Intel is announcing today will help systems manufacturers and firmware companies deliver new and exciting platform innovations to their customers."

    I wonder if this is going to be like Microsoft's "support" for Java...
  • by autopr0n (534291) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:23PM (#9311125) Homepage Journal
    Having an open-source bios wont prevent DRM any more then having an open-source OS will prevent file permission restrictions. The source to Linux wont do you any good without the root password, and the source to the BIOS won't do you any good without a signing certificate on a DRM-enabled motherboard.
  • OpenBoot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:26PM (#9311143)
    What, dare I ask, is wrong with OpenBoot? It's an open standard; it's been around for a long time; and it's used in at least two [sun.com] manufacturers' [apple.com] systems that I can think of. I've also heard reports that some (obscure, probably now defunct) Intel-based PC manufacturers used it in their systems.

    Seems to me like a bad case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:28PM (#9311152) Journal
    ... sounds exactly like hype that is bound to be turned into something you do not want, in actuality.

    Like the original intent of cookies and the actuality of spyware use...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:28PM (#9311153)
    Data sharing is important, and I understand your point completely. How then do we counter this? If nothing else, we're somehow assured (presumably) that we can at least run non-drm software. From there, it'll still be a matter of reverse-engineering any DRM scheme...kind of like a more extensive MS Word compatibility layer.

    I do have confidence in the Open Source hacker army, though, and that if there's a way, they'll figure it out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:30PM (#9311161)
    it almost seems, to ensure you can write open source software and still make money is to make absolutely certain that your open source software is written in such a way it isn't of any use to anyone unless they buy your expensive hardware to operate with it...
  • Re:Not again... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 222 (551054) <stormseeker@gmail . c om> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:41PM (#9311224) Homepage
    It should also be noted that MAC addresses actually provide required functionality, modern day networking is built around them... For the life of me, i cannot think of any productive use for cpu id's.
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd (12902) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:42PM (#9311236) Homepage
    While the source may be available, that won't mean it can't contain DRM. After all, any good secure system should be secure wether or not the source is visible or not.

    But no implementation of DRM can be considered a "good secure system". The whole concept is to take PKI and try to keep the private key away from the owner so he/she cannot use it for anything except what the content owner wants you to use it for. This is why MS is trying to stick private keys in hardware. This is why the iTMS DRM removal tool needs to be able to get your key out of either the iTunes software or your iPod.

    Trying to do DRM in something completely open source will NEVER work. DRM is security by obscurity, plain and simple.

    Finkployd
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:44PM (#9311245)
    I wouldn't bank on Intel and Microsoft being in so friendly. Their friendliness may be leaning towards AMD, especially if Microsoft wants to get into the hardware market. AMD has been in a weak enough market position that they would be more willing to alter hardware on MS' account than Intel would, and AMD having a reasonable share of the CPU market with MS' influence would be a method for MS to exert control (indirectly) over Intel. Check out

    http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/muglia_wins er ver.asp
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:44PM (#9311247) Homepage Journal
    great, now we need to run ad-aware on our bios chips, for fear of spyware and popups generated and the motherboard chip level!
  • by Amiga Lover (708890) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:44PM (#9311248)
    Chances are, flashing your PC with this BIOS instead of the MS approved DRM one will prevent your PC from sharing data with DRMed Windows PCs. So, DRMed if you do, DRMed if you don't..

    If it works that way it'll also prevent a DRMd PC from sharing data with those linux servers becoming all so common nowadays. Works both ways.

    In the end all depends on who ends up worse off.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hurliman (152784) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:48PM (#9311268) Homepage
    But you can modify the Linux kernel to allow any user to gain root privileges. That's the point of the source code, anyone can rewrite/recompile/reinstall and remove any offending "features" while adding their own modifications.
  • Assembly Anyone? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @10:55PM (#9311309)
    "administrative interfaces which are too complex to implement in the old BIOS environment, according to Intel."

    Riiiiiiiiiiight!

    Are there any REAL Assembler programmers left who are willing to work for Intel??? That's the REAL question!
  • Re:OpenBoot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RickHunter (103108) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:00PM (#9311336)

    What's wrong with it? No DRM support (thus, no Microsoft support) and it wasn't invented by Intel. (Thus, no Intel support) It is, however, a far superior system, and yet another reason to get a Mac. (YARTGAM)

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:00PM (#9311344) Homepage Journal
    Data sharing is literally essential - computers are only marginally useful if their only info exchange is via keyboard/mouse/monitor. DRM is a tech implementation of the human activity of trust. Proprietary DRM schemes, like M$ Passport, or any other vertical integration, are bad trust models. They fetishize others of the same breeding, trusting identical platforms more than different ones. That kind of model is like feeding cattle the remains of their unsold brethren, a monoculture that amplifies platform weaknesses like mad cow, which incubate in a species and even threaten others. The diversity of open trust standards, like PGP webs of trust, or public SSL CAs, combined with open, mutual audits, keep the ecosystem healthy. Before we build a rickety infrastructure based on flawed models and self-defeating principles, we must get to the right way to manage these systems - then automate them. An open source BIOS, which interoperates with the rest of the Internet ecosystem, at least preserves the options to do that, without passing the point of no return on the wrong path.
  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:05PM (#9311362)
    Will this end the fear of DRM'd BIOS? With the source available then any additions added to the bios can be reversed. I wonder if Intel is countering something in regards to statements made by Microsoft and Sun saying that hardware will be free?

    Err, that just meant that the end user wouldn't be paying directly for the hardware, just indirectly. Someone will still be writing a check to Intel for all of their components. I can't see how Intel would look on that other than favorably. That would actually mean that more hardware would get sold because boxes wouldn't be multi-purposed.
  • Free Programmers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timgoh0 (781057) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:29PM (#9311468)
    Maybe its just me, but don't you think that this is just a way of intel trying to get free and fast bugfixes and improvement for their bios?
  • More Secure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niktesla (761443) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:39PM (#9311524) Homepage
    It is stored in firmware, so it is more secure from viruses and other types of attack than past BIOSes
    [sarcasm] Yeah, there were real virus problems w/ BIOS back when it was non-flashable. Those pesky viruses would pop my BIOS chip out and install a new one before I knew it.[/sarcasm]

    Extra or additional drivers and code functions can be stored on the hard drive and accessed there.
    Seems like this would increase the vulnerability of the BIOS.

    Other than this problem and maybe not being able to control some of the OEM preboot (an odd word when you think of it) "features" (DRM, etc.), this doesn't sound too bad of a plan. Sounds like we're on the way to having the OS run off a FLASH disk or some type of firmware. It'd be ironic if, because of advanced DRM technology, we have to go back to the oldest mod trick - yank out the old chip and solder in the new, as was once done to upgrade BIOS.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:49PM (#9311557) Homepage Journal
    The DRM we're discussing (as I see it), in this context of open-source BIOS, is "Trusted Computing", a Microsoft initiative which has in recent months been underpinned by new DRM in a new PC BIOS (by Phoenix, I believe). This is a specific DRM that includes lowlevel BIOS functions to enforce compliance with "trust" certification by Microsoft.

    Not all DRM is bad, or broken, or required. We have rights, after all, and management of their digital representations is necessary in our increasingly digital environment. But an inaccurate model of our rights, and our transactions within them, will deny those rights. And that will further undermine the model. Leaving us with a world even less inhabitable than now, when these technologies are pursued with exactly the opposite values. So we must be careful how we begin, or it will be a lost cause from the start.
  • by MunchMunch (670504) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @11:55PM (#9311586) Homepage
    "All DRM blocks is the illicit spread of data against the owner's wishes, which is hardly an essential function of any society or system.

    I think you have far too much faith in these systems and a fundamental misunderstanding of what copyright is meant to protect. First, already in combination with laws like the DMCA, DRM is used to deny fair use rights--to state the most obvious example, but by far not the most important. Second, you fail to realize that the purpose of copyright is to encourage progress, not protect 'creations.'

    This is because American copyright, as envisioned by the Framers, rejects any moral or property protections and relies instead on a way of viewing creative progress as what I would call a 'collaboration' between generations. Each subsequent generation must have free access to the previous generations' works in order to build upon them. It is thus an essential function of any rational society or system to not impede progress by essentially granting a single generation full control to lock out future generations.

    But of course, copyright doesn't allow this anyways, as I spent the last paragraph stating, because it misunderstands that copyright is a protection of some sort of inherent 'right' in the act of creation rather than a protection of progress through balanced public and private rights. In actuality, the more dangerous effect of DRM is that copyright itself becomes obsolete in a DRM-capable world. Companies need only decide what allowances they want to give to consumers through technology, and the balancing effect of the law dissappears.

  • by MunchMunch (670504) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:00AM (#9311602) Homepage
    "But of course, copyright doesn't allow this anyways, as I spent the last paragraph stating, because it misunderstands that copyright is a protection of some sort of inherent 'right' in the act of creation rather than a protection of progress through balanced public and private rights."

    Should be:

    "But of course, copyright doesn't allow this anyways, as I spent the last paragraph stating, because that would misunderstand copyright to be a protection of some sort of inherent 'right' in the act of creation rather than a protection of progress through balanced public and private rights."

    Sorry!

  • by asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:02AM (#9311610)
    DRM is an attempt to remove my control of my private property and place it into the hands of someone who doesn't own it. Period.

    I oppose DRM because I believe in the right to private property (namely my computer). Nothing to do with copyright violation.

  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prockcore (543967) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:06AM (#9311633)
    And that's what most people do with their PC. Drive it. Not muck around under the hood and tweak the fuel injectors, or adjust the slope of the ABS initiation.

    Ironically, Congress is forcing auto makers to reveal their "precious precious IP" because your average mechanic can't read the chips in your car. Basically auto makers were trying to get you to take your car into the dealer to get an oil change. Congress stepped up and said "that's unfair trade practice".
  • by zurab (188064) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:16AM (#9311675)
    Doesn't this depend on actual implementation? You may have different intentions but you are not in charge of designing and implementing the DRM system on 90% of user desktops. Imagine a DRM system where "untrusted" content is branded as unsafe and dangerous and is extremely hard for an average user to play/execute/etc. compared to the "trusted" content which is easy and effortless. When such a system is widely spread, you may even have settings that disable any "untrusted" content outright - that may even be turned on by default without user realizing anything.

    No, in such a case, you won't be able to easily share music you create, or a free software program you write to the world unless you get certified by (who? BSA?) whoever for huge amounts of cash to become a "trusted" provider. Or convince your users, if they have an option, to turn off the security setting that Microsoft, anti-virus companies, mainstream press and all others say is wrong to do, will result in worms and viruses, and will no longer be supported by the OEM.

    I am not saying this is what will happen. I am saying it depends on what will, and how much monopolies [microsoft.com] and cartels [riaa.org] can get away with.
  • by sadler121 (735320) <msadler@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:24AM (#9311710) Homepage
    I'm sure many ./ers and other would pay good money to have a properly designed system with modern components that is DRM free.

    Of course untill the **AA's use there bought congress critters to pass a law stating that anyone who uses a DRM free machine is violating the law.
  • by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @12:57AM (#9311916) Homepage
    If Intel wants to score major bonus points in my book, opening up the bios (or whatever they feel like calling it) could definately do it.

    It is a trick. They are publishing the source code, but that source code is USELESS.

    If I know that I can always depend on my computer to do what I tell it to and not what Intel/Microsoft/Belken tell it to do, I will go that route.

    Then you need to make sure NEVER to let this crap touch your computer! This system is EXACTLY designed to make it impossible to control your own computer. If you change so much as a single instruction then the Trust chip generates a different hash value. With a different hash value the Trust chip cannot decrypt anything. Ultimately you may be denied any internet access at all.

    I had decided on AMD. I'm now considering Intel as an option.

    Unfortunately AMD is on board with this crap as well. So are Motorola, Transmeta, and even ARM. There's really no good-guys to turn to at this point, but if you want to boycott someone then Intel definitely tops the list. AMD is just following along because they will up and die if the next version of Windows refuses to run on an AMD chip.

    -
  • by mrchaotica (681592) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @01:00AM (#9311936)
    The general idea is that Microsoft wants to use it to prevent those Linux servers from becoming common.

    In fact, that's why people are opposed to MS DRM in particular - they dislike losing their property rights, and especially dislike losing them in the name of corporate profit!
  • by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @01:06AM (#9311962) Homepage
    I wonder if this is going to be like Microsoft's "support" for Java

    No, it's more like Microsoft support for Palladium.

    As a matter of fact this *is* Microsoft support for Palladium.

    Central elements of the system were designed by Microsoft + Intel + the rest of the Trusted Computing Group. This new "Foundation code" *is* the Palladium replacement for BIOS. It is the Trusted Computing foundation.

    -
  • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @01:43AM (#9312114)
    Would you buy a car if you're not allowed to reverse engineer the ECU to reset the Service Due light after changing the oil yourself? Oh, and if you do that anyway, you'll be charged under the DMCA and sent to PITA prison.
  • by davester666 (731373) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @01:59AM (#9312169) Journal
    > All DRM blocks is the illicit spread of data against the owner's
    > wishes, which is hardly an essential function of any society or
    > system.

    If it's not an essential function, then why do the Music and Movie industries want it on every computer?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @06:34AM (#9313040)
    Errr, Microsoft was _convicted_ of being a monopoly. That is somewhere between being a thief that stold hundreds of dollars from a million people and being a mob boss who was convicted of rackaterring.

    Nothing you say can change this fact. And the conviction was upheld on appeal, only the penalties were turned into a pat on the behind by that meat puppet Bush who is the lackey/lap dog for powerful international interests.

    Why should they change? Their behavior has never been punished before. In fact the more laws they break the more money they make. Why change? They have not changed and will not change until they eventually fail because _everyone_ is tired of their bull shit and just refuses to do any business with anyone even remotely connected to anything to do with Microsoft.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:02AM (#9313105)
    No.

    Good security is well known. The techniques and procedures studied by thousands of expert math and cypher experts.

    Now, the private key does have to remain private... this is the secret _you_ keep. This is a secret that _can_ be kept, with safes and locks and armed guards and attack dogs and mine fields and phospate hand gernades and tanks and air craft.

    What DRM is trying to do is have a private key that _you_ do not have. _You_ the owner of the computer and all the bits on it are having a secret kept from you.

    You have the machine in your own house. Nobody is around to guard against you opening your own computer up and hooking an O-scope to it, or reading out ROM's. Nobody to destroy the computer when the secret key is discovered.

    The only thing is a law called the DMCA that says you do not own your own computer. And can go to jail if you illegally modify your own machine to access the bits that you actually own on the machine.

    --

    Sorry, you have failed to enter the correct password. Please stay seated and remain calm. The police are on the way.
  • by zurab (188064) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @09:37AM (#9313945)
    OK, again, I am not saying that this is what will happen, but I can also imagine how this could happen. Obviously, it cannot be the immediate next step from where we are today. It takes some time and public education and gradual change on both hardware and software side. As an example, a lot of people are already aware and look for an SSL icon/URL before they type in their credit card or social security numbers. With sufficient time, mainstream attention, and a strong push from technology giants like Intel, Microsoft, anti-virus corps, as well as media companies you could get general public to understand and differentiate between "trusted" and "untrusted" content.

    With a similar campaigning from same sources depicting "untrusted" content as inherently evil (e.g. pirated music, child pornography, worms and viruses, etc.) you could, with some time and effort, turn ignorant general public against it. Note that most applications/content that you purchase and use will be trusted - MS Office, TurboTax, most commercial games, RIAA/MPAA content, etc. What will not be trusted is viruses, worms, "illegal" music, porn, and free software (or other free legitimate content) the authors of which have no resources to obtain the "trusted" certification.

    This type of classification of free software, shareable music and other similar content with very bad things like child pornography, works to a great advantage of technology giants like Microsoft and media cartels like RIAA and MPAA. You can see where this is going and where they'd like to take it. With enough time, resources and scare tactics, they could even lobby for a piece of legislation outlawing "untrusted" content. I can imagine how this could happen, not that it definitely will.

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