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TZ
01-11-2006, 08:20 AM
MacIntel are based on EFI
http://www.intel.com/technology/efi/

One of the question related to the MacIntel was: what type of firmware will be used by Apple? Today we have the answer in an Intel migration-dedicated TechNote: Extensible Firmware Interface (http://developer.apple.com/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/universal_binary/universal_binary_diffs/chapter_3_section_10.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40002217-CH240-284855) no BIOS, no firmware but EFI. EFI, or Extensible Firmware Interface, is an advanced BIOS developed by Intel and so far reserved for Itanium platform. It is rather an OpenFirmware than a BIOS, since EFI appears to the user as a Shell. EFI is not really being used in PC world for the moment.

One should also mention that EFI has been developed around Intel Secured-platform (trusted computing). One can let EFI taking care of the memory management, or controlling the network to run a secured applciation. OS calls to the hardware are done via EFI drivers.

Why are we mentioning this point? Because, based on the EFI drivers definition, one will be able to limit the peripherals to be used or installed in the MacIntel. Indeed, PCI-E card firmware (such as the ones of new generation graphic cards) must be compatible with the computer firmware. So far on the mac, OpenFirmware was forcing card developers to create specific software to manage the card, one of the reason why Mac Edition graphic card were so expensive.

EFI How To Guide (ftp://download.intel.com/technology/efi/docs/txt/EfiHowTo.txt)

TZ
01-18-2006, 09:58 AM
EFI replacement for Open Firmware password protection

For the utmost in physical security, currently shipping PowerPC-based Macs allow the user to set an Open Firmware password via the Apple Open Firmware Password tool.
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/12932

This protection disallows an unauthorized user to change the Mac OS X administrator password or format the startup volume by starting up from a Mac OS X installation disc or another boot volume by requiring entry of a password at the early stages of the boot process.

Fortunately, the new Intel-based Macs -- though including a new firmware mechanism, EFI, instead of Open Firmware -- allow a similar level of protection. The new firmware password utility located in /Applications/Utilities by default on the new Macs allows the user to set a firmware password.

We've yet to determine if zapping PRAM will disengage the firmware password with Intel-based Macs, as it did with PowerPC-based systems.

TZ
01-18-2006, 03:48 PM
EFI configuration, or how to destroy your iMac Intel
EFI of an iMac Intel

According to Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2006/1/23/2631), it seems we were wise not to. Many of those who tried to change EFI's settings came out with a permanently unbootable computer.

Update: A way to reinitialize EFI and the firmware has since been found.
All you have to do is to unplug the power cord while simultaneously pressing and holding the power button on the back of the computer. (We still recommand the greatest caution when dealing with EFI settings.)

TZ
01-25-2006, 09:27 AM
Linux EFI support already exists in the form of elilo, a special version of the LILO bootloader designed specifically for Intel systems that use EFI and the IA64 architecture.

The current elilo code base will have to be ported to Intel's x86 architecture before it can be integrated into Linux distributions capable of running on Apple's new systems.

Although such a port is theoretically possible, members of the Ars Technica Linux community have pointed out that bootloaders are generally written with plenty of assembly, and consequently are not easily ported.

Elilo is not particularly stable and Red Hat representatives have not discussed the methodology they plan to use, so the solution could end up being something else entirely.

- Ars (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060125-6045.html)

TZ
02-01-2006, 01:35 PM
In a move that experts say promises to lead to fewer headaches for IT staff by creating more stable and manageable desktops and notebooks, the PC industry has begun transitioning to the United Extensible Firmware Interface.

Dubbed UEFI, the interface offers a standardized way for a PC's firmware, the underlying software that controls its hardware, to interact with the operating system. The new interface offers a standard method for loading an operating system, as well as running pre-boot applications.


the second half of this year is expected to pick up steam in 2007 as UEFI-specification firmware (a UEFI 2.0 specification is due imminently) populates new PCs. The new specification springs from the United EFI Forum, an industry working group backed by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Microsoft, PC makers such as Dell, and several BIOS makers. It builds upon Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface specification 1.1.

UEFI 2.0 specification is expected to be the long-term choice. Given that UEFI 2.0 firmware is said to only boot 64-bit EFI operating systems, the move there isn't expected to gain momentum until 2007.

Under UEFI, each piece of hardware used in a PC is expected to be provided with its own driverlike software, allowing changes related to that bit to be made while the remainder of the firmware goes unchanged. Minimizing changes helps to cut down on potential software conflicts that cause PC instability, experts say.

"This has been one of the dirty little secrets of the PC industry for 20-plus years," Wise said. "The PC industry, which grew up as a clone industry … has had to invent interfaces in fits and starts. Even now, 20 years later, a lot of these are not documented. UEFI fixes that, because it's very clear exactly what you have to do."

Phoenix Technologies, as well as American Megatrends and Insyde Technology—who were early backers of Intel's EFI work before it became UEFI—will pick up and run with many of UEFI's new features.

The EFI and UEFI interfaces provide for a boot manager, normally a third-party application, which will make it easier for PCs to toggle between operating systems or boot from numerous devices, such as SANs (storage area networks), in addition to their on-board drives. A network stack included in the interface also will allow PCs to access a network before loading their operating systems. The ability to boot from an alternate source and to tap a network before loading an operating system makes possible new ways for management software to diagnose hardware problems, UEFI backers say.

Phoenix Technologies, for one, intends to offer pre-boot authentication for logging on to a system and a network, as well as systems management and recovery applications. Yet, because it exerts a large amount of control over a PC and will be well-documented, the UEFI interface could become a target for malicious software. "If your motivation is to take down an enterprise, this could potentially create havoc," Wise said.

To combat potential threats, the UEFI 2.0 specification adds driver signing in an effort to ensure that only the proper hardware drivers get installed on a computer, he said. A proposed UEFI 2.1 specification would add advanced cryptography, network authentication and IPv6 support.
eWeek (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1917549,00.asp)

TZ
07-09-2007, 12:19 PM
First Vista service pack beta scheduled for July
Cyril Kowaliski (ckowaliski@techreport.com) July 9, 2007
Late last month, word on the street was that the first service pack for Windows Vista might have been delayed (http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/12729) until next year.

Despite the rumors, it looks like SP1 is still on track for a release in 2007 (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=559). Sources suggest testing will go on for just four months, with the final release of Vista SP1 to roll out some time in November.

changes likely in the upcoming service pack include:
speedier file copies and system shutdowns
SD Advanced Direct Memory Access support
ExFat flash file system support
BitLocker drive encryption improvements,
Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) support for 64-bit
MeetingSpace
Remote Assistance connections
Firewall improvements

Apple's Mac Pro supports EFI 1.1 and Microsoft has stated that they would only support EFI 2.0+ on 64-bit Windows. Seems it is 'sooner rather than later'.

TZ
08-15-2007, 10:02 AM
<nobr>PC Fundamentals (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/default.mspx)</nobr>
64-bit System Design

Microsoft provides 64-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system for both workstation and server computers. A 64-bit system requires special design considerations that differ from 32-bit platform design, including considerations for firmware, hard disk partitions, and device drivers.

General 64-bit Windows<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Designing for 64-bit Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/64bit/64bitsystems.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">IA-64 Systems and ACPI 2.0 64-bit Tables (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/64bit/IA64_ACPI.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">WoW64 Programming Best Practices (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/64bit/WoW64_bestprac.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 5px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_ms.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Gearing up for 64-bit Computing on Windows Server (http://www.microsoft.com/seminar/events/series/msdn64bitwin.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 5px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_ms.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">WOW64 Implementation Details (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/win64/win64/wow64_implementation_details.asp)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr></tbody></table>
GUID Partition Table (GPT) and Master Boot Record (MBR)<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Custom Bootstrap Actions (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/OEMBoot_Vista.mspx#)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">MBR System Disk Conversion for 64-bit Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT-64bit.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Modifications to Microsoft Boot Components: Update (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/Boot_Modifications.mspx) http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/new.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Using GPT Drives (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT-on-x64.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Windows and GPT FAQ (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/storage/GPT_FAQ.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr></tbody></table>
Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - EFI<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">EFI and Windows Vista (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/efibrief.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Imaging Guidelines for Windows Server Longhorn on UEFI Systems (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/uefiguide.mspx) http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/new.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Microsoft Extensible Firmware Initiative FAT32 File System Specification, V. 1.03 (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/fatgen.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Microsoft Portable Executable and Common Object File Format Specification (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/PECOFF.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_text.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">UEFI Support and Requirements: Microsoft Windows Server "Longhorn" (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/firmware/uefireg.mspx)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/fileType/icon_powerpoint.gif</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Unified EFI Update [WinHEC 2005; 493 KB] (http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/8/f/98f3fe47-dfc3-4e74-92a3-088782200fe7/TWAR05018_WinHEC05.ppt)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/ext_ani.gif (http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyright.htm)</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Extensible Firmware Interface Specification (http://developer.intel.com/technology/efi/download.htm)http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/shared/common/space.gif</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-top: 8px;" align="left" height="19" valign="top" width="16">http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/images/ext_ani.gif (http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyright.htm)</td><td style="font-family: Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; padding-top: 5px;" align="left" valign="top">Implementing the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface with Intel's Framework (http://www.intel.com/intelpress/sum_efi.htm)</td></tr></tbody></table>