IDF Spring 2007 – Day Zero – UEFI Killed the BIOS-star

Time to say bye to the BIOS?

One of the major challenges in the industry is how to move on from legacy devices. Nowhere is this more of an issue that the venerable BIOS. John Du, General Manager of Intel China, explained that it it’s a 22 year old technology that’s hampering progress and innovation on computers. One of the main problems with it is that it’s written in assembly code as finding programmers who are skilled in using it is becoming increasingly difficult.

The solution is Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a standard that Intel has been promoting for some time. This can be written in a modern high-level programming language such as C++ and should finally drag the BIOS into the 21st century. The UEFI will have proper modularity, enabling coders to customise it to their hearts content, as opposed to adding new bits to a current BIOS, which is something of a nightmare. Once UEFI is in place we should be able to enjoy faster boot times, more stability and new features.

UEFI still isn’t here yet and Intel pretty much placed the blame firmly at Microsoft with it not even supported by Vista though it acknowledged that it has talked with Microsoft at about it at events like WinHEC. The facts on the ground however are that the BIOS is so firmly entrenched in the industry that it needs virtual root canal to remove it before it can be replaced with something new and shiny. Let’s hope that Intel and Microsoft can get their act together on this one as soon as possible.

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