[Novalug] (HW vs SW ) Accessing BIOS
waltechmail at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 19 12:10:11 EST 2010
Re: [Novalug] Accessing BIOS
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 5:25 AM
"Ed James" <edjames at greenbelt.com>
novalug at calypso.tux.org
I'm still getting a handle on hardware capabilities from a viewpoint
of somebody who usually rescues old junk by installing linux, rather
than one who buys/builds from scratch. Eventually, I'l go back to
building my own, but the tech had greatly changed since I've done
that (original Pentium series).
So, is it fair to catagorize abilities (both hardware and software)
1 - Motherboard firmware (memory test...)
2 - Card add-on (ethernet wakeup, graphics, ...)
3 - OS add-on (memory swapping, file access...)
4 - Desktop (gnome, kde, ...)
5 - Applications (database, word processing...)
Are there gaps in the level hierarchy? For a home-user
PC, are there really any differences between MoBos at
Quoting "Bryan J Smith" <b.j.smith at ieee.org>:
> *UNLIKE* every RISC/UNIX platform firmware, the PC firmware has
> absolutely *NO* ability to boot from the network. It has *NO*
Sometimes it's really hard from the lingo to distinguish
HW from SW. but it's really necessary.
Firmware is really software. Physically, it could be flash or eeron
or just rom. Hardware state machines are really hardware...
unless you're the guy who "programmed" them. FPLA's...
And for awhile, there's software called the "hardware description
But in a PC (is this pc ?) it's better and easier to distinguish.
One very important thing I've noticed is that very often
some refer to the partnership as "hardware running on software".
Or, in a similar fashion, "software runs the hardware"...
This has been in a few articles or book.
I haven't seen that mentioned recently on this list, but if
one learned it that way, they're doomed forever to a life of
I'm taking Mr. James note to address that. Don't forget that there
are "BIOS" manufacturers. These companies put whatever they desire into
those "firmware" chips that startup the PC or provide BIOS calls,
or PXE or even entire OS's which can then boot the HD if desire.
There there's the Q of: how do these various companies work together
so that they MUST be compatible in order for Window, Linux or QNX
or WindRiver to boot up and work ?
>From a hierarchy, (gee, I know it'll drive the top/down people
crazy, but I'm gonna do bottoms up.. Goes more with the shot philosophy.
( joke here )..
drivers ( kernel level)
applications and helpers (user level)
note that hardware includes the hidden processor in the keyboard, a
real 8048 8 bit micro. It also include the 8048 (equivalent) on the MB
that not too many people know exists which handles some IO.
Trivia tip 'o day:
some old desktop pdp-11's/03 had an embedded ( before the word
"embedded" was used ) 8080 8-bit micro to do the floppy disk IO.
So, by definition, it had it's own bit 'o software.
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