Microsoft / new firmware

John Gilmore gnu at
Fri May 16 02:46:13 EDT 2008

>                         [NN] then claimed no OLPC resources would
> be devoted to the project.  I'm left wondering how many of those
> resources went into this firmware mod.

The firmware mod required weeks of a skilled engineer's time.  This
engineer put in the time, partly or fully paid by OLPC, because the
alternative would have been that countries whose machines run Windows
would be *unable* to run OLPC's Linux release, even to try it out.

I believe that having freely licensed boot firmware that not only
supports Linux and great power management, but also supports running
Windows, will help open up the PC BIOS market to free software.

Motherboard vendors need boot firmware that will boot and run many
operating systems, since their customers want to run many operating
systems.  Free BIOS software that's merely free is only partway there;
it also has to solve the customer or user's problem.  Just as they
reject lower quality proprietary products, the average customer will
reject inferior free products, until the early adopter community
improves them.  Adding a major OS that Open Firmware can now boot is
such an improvement.

The new firmware mostly implements a set of ancient DOS-era "INT" calls:

The Windows XP port for the OLPC needs a small number of these to
work.  Those particular needed calls have been implemented.  Future
improvements, by anyone, can implement other calls needed by different
OS's that others may want to boot; support other motherboards besides
OLPC's; etc.


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