Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) defines a replacement specification for the interface between operating systems and platform firmware to replace the legacy system BIOS which evolved from the initial implementation for the IBM PC.
The UEFI specification was originally defined by Intel for the first Itanium systems and is now managed by the UEFI Forum.
The specification defines a new model for the interface between personal-computer operating systems and platform firmware. The interface consists of data tables that contain platform-related information, plus boot and runtime service calls that are available to the operating system and its loader. Together, these provide a standard environment for booting an operating system and running pre-boot applications.
Insyde Software’s InsydeH2O, based on the Tianocore EDKII, is a fully functional BIOS equivalent that is easier to use and more extensible than the decades-old PC BIOS it replaces. InsydeH2O enables PC manufacturers to achieve greater product differentiation, lower development costs and accelerate product roll out. More details…
For customers developing IoT devices using Intel Atom platforms and Linux operating systems Insyde Software and Intel have introduced the BlinkBoot bootloader based on Insyde Software’s UEFI technology and Intel’s Firmware Support Packages (FSP) which executes the minimum number of instructions necessary to boot a device in the fastest time possible. More details…
U-Boot and Coreboot open source firmware
U-Boot is a monitor program (bootloader) that supports PowerPC, ARM, MIPS, x86 and other processor architectures. It is maintained by the U-Boot custodians led by Wolfgang Denk and Tom Rini and is available with full source code licensed under GPLv2. It is the default bootloader used by a number of board vendors including NXP for the i.MX processors and TI for OMAP, DaVinci and Sitara processors.
Coreboot is a free software project that provides a alternative boot firmware for x86 platforms.
Coreboot performs a minimal amount of hardware initialisation and then executes it’s payload.
These payloads can include FILO and GRUB2 for loading Linux from a storage device, the Linux kernel itself or SeaBIOS which provides the standard BIOS bootstrap process for loading Windows or other operating systems.
Boot time optimisation
One of the tasks common to all device development is to reduce the time taken from applying power to the system being ready for operation. This has typically been a manual process starting with the removal of redundant or unused features and then optimising what remains.
This iterative process eventually gets to a point where the fractions of a second being saved from the boot time no longer justifies the days or weeks of effort required to achieve them.
With NitroBoot, from Datalight, manufacturers using Linux or Android based systems can develop automotive In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems, mobile devices, digital home electronics and much more that can be instantly launched from zero standby power.
This is accomplished by preferentially restoring the memory areas necessary for booting the system.
This technology helps device manufacturers produce unforgettable user experiences and distinguish themselves from the competition.
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