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An engineer from Advanced Micro Devices has reportedly released source-code of BIOS (basic input/output system) for a mainboard by Gigabyte Technology. The move allows die-hard Linux followers to reprogram BIOS according to their needs, for instance, to get better overclocking functionality.

A post on a bulletin board system (BBS) over Gmane.org web-site claims that AMD engineer Yinghai Lu released GPL (general public license)-licensed code last month of Gigabyte M57SLI-S4 mainboard’s BIOS, which allows advanced end-users to program their motherboards by themselves, which allows to optimize their behaviour according to particular needs and, perhaps, open up some more functionality for overclocking.

Gigabyte M57SLI-S4 mainboard is based on Nvidia nForce 570 SLI core-logic, supports various AMD processors in AM2 form-factor, four slots for DDR2 memory, two PCI Express x16 slots for two graphics cards in multi-GPU SLI mode, three PCI Express x1 ports for add-in cards, six Serial ATA-300 connectors for hard disk drives with RAID support, ten USB 2.0 connectors, three IEEE1394a (FireWire) ports and so on.

“This is a huge victory in the quest for a completely free and open-source general-purpose computer that enables users to have full control over their own hardware. The Free Software Foundation has made the campaign for a Free BIOS a top priority because it is a key component in the software stack of personal computers,” a statement by a Linux supporter reads.

While it remains unclear whether the release of the source code itself actually helps programmers to tweak their hardware better compared to the original BIOS developed by engineers of Gigabyte Technology, it is undisputable that die-hard enthusiasts will try to apply the re-worked BIOS not only for the Gigabyte M57SLI-S4 mainboard, but also for other devices to provide even more extreme overclocking without modding the motherboard itself. It also remains uncertain whether enthusiasts are capable of fully reprogramming BIOSes without sacrificing stability and compatibility.

“The need for a Free BIOS is even more pressing since DRM and Treacherous Computing have found their way into some proprietary BIOSes and EFI. From a practical perspective, LinuxBIOS removes the need for ugly hacks and workarounds in the kernel that compensate for buggy BIOSes we can now fix the BIOS ourselves,” the statement proclaims.

LinuxBIOS is a free software project, endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS firmware found in most computers with a lightweight BIOS designed to perform only the minimum of tasks necessary to load and run a modern 32-bit operating system. The LinuxBIOS project was started in 1999 in the Advanced Computing Laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to a Wikipedia entry.

Discussion

Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 02/24/07 05:36:37 AM
Latest comment: 04/18/07 09:46:27 AM

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The thing with AMD processors is that currently only Intel graphic interfaces have free drivers. Until ATi or nVidia free their drivers, Intel will be the only game in town for free software.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 02/24/07 07:08:16 AM]
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