the bios today..

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by nodnar, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
    hi, folks,

    just some lose thoughts from a mean old man....
    for what they are worth....

    look, i`ve been around for a long time..
    i`ve used anything from the original ibm 8086
    right up to my present dual core machine.
    [ which is 6 years old, and absolete..]

    when browsing this forum, as i have been doing
    for about 4 weeks now, something strikes me as
    damned odd..and it is about the good old bios.

    in the good old days, the bios just told your
    machine the things that were connected, and how
    to use them..nowadays, with slic, OEM. whitelists, etc.
    it is being abused by manufacturers to restrict
    what you can do, and what you can connect to your
    machine. after you paid your good money and OWN
    the machine. you don`t want to be restricted in what
    you do with it, i paid for it; so you own it..

    i`m no legal-eagle. so i don`t know about all the issues,
    but i do think, that what we are doing here, removing these
    restrictions that the manufacturers impose, if we can.
    is an endless thing.. and i think that they should be
    stopped from restricting what we can do with our machines.
    that we paid our good money for..........

    okay, maybe i`m naive, or old-fashioned,
    if you so think that is the case; just say so,
    but for me such restrictons as manufacturers are imposing
    today, are just not pallatable anymore..
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  2. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    This is a really great post.
    Only a short reply for today, since I have to go.

    And you are one of the far too few who has a clear mind.

    The entire problem is that I doubt about the maturity of our consume society.
    Do somebody actually think about what is happening?

    The big companies slowly and bitchy restrict the potential customer. Most of us don't notice about.
    We are influenced by commercials, commercials manipulate us. Hypes are generated, we follow them we are modern zombies.

    -online activation
    -closed source
    -Apple hype
    -M$ monopoly
    -signed ROMs signed boot loaders

    Only to name a few.

    This has no end, it has just started.

    The market has to offer open devices, products. There are communities which are informed and support those devices.

    I am sorry for those who had bought such a device and had later to notice that they were taken for a ride.
    But they will and can change their behavior and they won't support those companies anymore.
    UEFI the successor of the BIOS? What is the purpose? To be something new and better as they fool most of us? No! It allows more ways to restrict and to control!

    The big masses will remain zombies. You cannot convince them with arguments, they are brainwashed. They need to change their minds by themselves.

    As you have mentioned already, this game has no end. They restrict, we break.......
    I had been with some Chinese guys and was a part of the SLIC mimicking develop approach.
    I thought it would be cool to break something what others have developed.

    I probably was wrong. Their stuff isn't worth to be pirated, their stuff isn't worth to be modded.

    When I have bought a copy of w7 do I need to activate? Why should I? I OWN it and I don't need to prove it!
    Wouldn't windows be a lot cheaper if they hadn't to run activation servers? Hadn't to develop restrictions?

    When I have bought a notebook I own it. Who the hell dictates me what additional hardware I can run???
    When I have bought an Iphone who the hell has the right to restrict my blue tooth and traces my GPS location???
    Who the hell has the right to release IPhone-stuff-only that addicts me to use that crap all the time?

    Why do they go voluntarily into jail (a place where restriction is common) and jailbreak (the approach to break the restrictions of the Iphone is called jailbreak) after??

    You say..they should be stopped...... as long as admen feed the zombies it is impossible.
    Free minds are rare....I was one of them, but I woke up. My 'binary system' at my signature does express all this.
    The zero companies are known to restrict. Thank god there are still companies who are reputable and threat their customers as they should be be king and not to be like a dumb cow that needs to be milked. be continued...
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  3. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

    Feb 13, 2011
    Anyone who plays pc games would know about restrictions. The DRM on some games now is ridiculous, from a simple cd check before you now have garbage like Starforce, restricted amounts of product activation and then you have the infamous Assassins Creed 2 always on internet connection DRM crap. In general you don't own a lot of the stuff you buy you lease it. I know Windows OS is one such example not sure what the Apple Eula is like but Apple is worse than Microsoft so I wouldn't expect better. There are three alternatives to these restrictions, you look for an alternative, pirate/modify the product or simply don't use it. In the case of the BIOS you are screwed simple as that, but the good news is "where there is a will there is a way". The harder they try to restrict, the more resistance they will encounter and the more innovative people will get.
  4. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    This is a great thread. Let's go with it!

    I live about 3 miles outside a town with one stop sign. It was a while before we got DSL. We had have 2 dial up connections just to survive. I use to have to go to town if I had a download 0f more than 184mb because my IP would drop a connection after 8 hours. 184mb is all she would do in 8hrs.

    My point is I watched the us go from the top 5 in internet connection speed to something like 27th. All because the top five IP's jockey for position and lobby to get there agenda past their bought and payed for legislators at a turtles pace. Free market! What free market?

    Hell, look at 64bit computing or the idea of a stable HTPC all those things that are slow walked and show just a little glimmer of stability. Just enough to give the impression that it's just around the corner.
    All you have to do is go to the dump and look at the e-waste to see how genuine the corporate intention is in providing the end user with something of value.
    So we have 36,000 container ships on the ocean 24/7 shipping this crap to anyone who will buy it and they pay no price for the damage it's doing to the planet. It makes no sense and they can:moon:

    To be continued:biggrin:
  5. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
    right; thanks for summing up, and elaborating,
    but where do we go from here?

    as yen said, the masses get taken for a marketing ride.
    they dont know, and they probably don`t care, so long
    as they can run their `apps`

    when i bought my hp machine a few years back i got
    bloatware, but i got no fair warning of the restrictions
    they put in. i just found out the hard way,

    i don`t want to give up; i just feel we are rattling
    at the wrong bars if we just mod every new bios
    under the sun, when they are writing a new one every second..
    [ and sell us UEFI to restrict us even better.]

    we should not stop doing that, but we should also think
    about how we can prevent having to do this indefinitely.
    that way we allow ourselves to remain in the same
    restrictive groove.

    what r29k points out about gaming is a case in point.
    those guys say you LEASE their game, when you BOUGHT it!

    [so they make me put my AOE cd in my drive, when the game
    runs from my hard drive. you don`t want dig up that cd
    every time you want to play out of a pile of umpteenhundred
    so you have to put in a crack on your legal game..
    and that is because of just one simple check in the
    original exe.]
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  6. Paiva

    Paiva MDL Developer

    Apr 9, 2011
    An interesting post;

    I think the ridiculous proposal of the successor UEFI BIOS addressing some of the problems:

    I buy a copy of Windows XP SP3 and / or Windows Vista
    Paid dearly for it is a proprietary OS,

    If I update the BIOS to UEFI what happens? Problems ... :confused:
    Is that right? Incompatibility? :dontgetit:

    I'll have to buy a new OS (M$ 8) to work smoothly?
    (We're thinking)

    When you pay for something we hope to be free to use the way we see fit,
    is not it?

    I remember when we just needed a key to be able to use my products without complications;

    If you buy a machine and like to do two boots, Like to use a Free Software and any other;
    It will be easy after the UEFI? Or we have to ask permission for a company? :nono:


    His ideas are out to enjoy; o_O

    To be continued
  7. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    I guess the ones who state loudly that UEFI will be an improvement are later the ones who tend to control most.
    Actually it is up to the OEM what will be with UEFI.
    It is just like a knife. You can use it to cook a delicious meal, or to stab somebody to death.

    UEFI simply allows more possibilities for restriction and to control. If they become realized will be up to the OEMs.
    Basically any UEFI can boot ‘old’ OSes.

    What is important is to think about how to improve the situation.

    To arrange my post I determine different customers.

    -The one who buys a restricted device, but never notices about.

    Since he doesn't notice about, there is no real problem (for him). He never tries to run new hardware which isn't allowed to run. He buys mediocre products, spends a lot of money therefore as a sequel to these events he incurs liabilities, which are paid services, apps, certificates to unlock (blue tooth). He sacrifices his privacy by getting monitored, agrees with EULA which is probably illegal at his national laws and doesn't care if some of the truth gets to the public.

    In return he gets credit from his friends. He is 'somebody' because he is the same and can afford an expensive status symbol. An item to compensate his lack of self confidence.
    He belongs to the special ones. In short I might call him 'Apple fan boy'

    What can be 'improved': Actually nothing. He is a true customer.

    -The one who buys a restricted device and has later to notice about.

    Preinstalled Notebook. As soon you turn it on the first time you notice that you haven't bought a notebook, you have bought illuminated advertising. Bloat ware, trial versions of this trial versions of that.......and probably later you buy hardware to gain performance, but it won't run.

    What can be improved:

    -Return it to the shop. Say you can't comply with the EULA, say you haven't been informed about hardware restrictions. And finally never buy a product of this company again.
    Be consequent and not lazy. The seller and the company needs to know that there are customers who are acting!!!

    If you want to keep it anyway....
    -Format it and make a clean install. (Therefore some knowledge is needed already). Get a clean ISO of the OS and activate it. This is no pirating, this is your right.
    The white list thing is different. Actually I cannot recommend to try for a modded EFI unless you know exactly what you are doing.....

    Important: Take your consequences! Buy another brand (next time). I never have heard of Asus and MSI white lists!!! Why don't they use it???
    Make up your mind. Keep yourself educated, read about privacy, control and restrictions.

    -Finally the one who don't support them at all, or at least tries to escape from their greed for money.

    -As I have mentioned already knowledge is power. Read, read..browse through forums, ask friends which have a open mind. Be sceptical at commercials, test their products, arrange the right to return it before you pay for it. Never buy a preinstalled notebook. Get a free one and a extra copy of your favourite OS.

    Have a look who is a monopolist and look about alternatives. Think about the need of it. Do you need another apps store, this time at windows 8?
    Go to the big stores where you can test the devices, test them there, take your time. Ask the seller about restrictions, costs which come later additionally......
    Get different opinions by asking different sellers. Compare the costs and offers.

    You see to get an improvement one need to make effort. The companies will go on and on if there is no resistance. They are doing everything that potential resistance will be nipped in the bud.
    It is just like you are at a public place at summertime to feed pigeons.
    You simply have to spread the breadcrumbs and they come from everywhere to pounce on it.

    Some slogans which are ironic.

    “If you don't have an iPhone... You don’t’ have an iphone “ (Apple)

    “Life without walls” (M$)

    “Every beginning is simple” “Realize your vision” (Hewlett Packard)

    “We make tomorrow possible” (Intel)

    “Purely you” “The power to do more” “Be direct” (Dell)

    “Connecting people” Nokia

    “It’s not a trick it’s a Sony”

    I bet they laugh their heads off when creating such slogans. In fact they fear their customers would realize the slogans and take them serious..

    Much rather they want to have their zombies.
    It's up to you to be one.....
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  8. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
    still thinking aloud....

    what i think we really need is some kind of roadmap.
    what i can think of runs along these lines;
    [ but i HOPE to find folks with better ideas here..]

    the big companies are building more restrictions as mentioned.
    and they will go on and on unless we STOP them!
    so what can we really do?

    -1, the legal angle.
    they don`t warn you, that their machines got built-in
    restrictions when they sell them. but they should!
    they have to warn you when they sell a packet of cigarettes,
    but not when they sell you UEFI..
    the legal angle is to take up arms against unlimited
    resources, so i`m afraid this is a losing battle,
    a sea of trouble..

    -2. vote with our feet.
    and not update to the next generation of restrictions.
    [ i do, i have not replaced my pc..]
    we are a tiny minority, so they won`t give a damn.

    -3. refuse to take up computing in the cloud.
    [ i do. no apple, no google here..i want my data
    right here, on my harddisk, where i can get at them,
    and not in the cloud..where they can get at them..]
    but with every pretty girl`s right hand growing
    from her right ear with a piece of sillicon between
    it, i fear it is a forlorn hope..

    so i guess i àm a loss, TEMPORARILY.
    i feel we must..

    to be continued, indeed.
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  9. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011

    you are so right, missed your post while building my next one,
    but it is a good thing that i am not the only one who has an
    issue with this.............
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  10. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    #10 redroad, Jan 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012

    Why it matters:

    Let me take you back for a moment a few hundred years in history. Here where I live my people had everything in abundance. We only used what we needed and there was no waste. Three hundred years later the officials of the State where I live warn that pregnant women and children should not eat any fish caught in any of the rivers or lakes. This is the result in part of opening new markets and larger market shares.

    You might say that's a bit off topic. Allow me to use that example to make my larger point. Make no mistake, "Big Oil" and the computer industry have a symbiotic relationship. Looking at that relationship through the lens of half measured attempts to roll out new products and software one can fairly conclude that it is their intention to slow walk improvements in the industry.

    The longer we can make something serve our needs the better.

    It seems that this forum is a diverse group of people. One thing that I see as common ground is our willingness to proactively improve our computing environment. I would like to encourage others here, who haven't already, to take that mindfulness one step further to improve the larger environment which we all live.


    1) If you are a code writer, this is for you. When you are writing try to be mindful of what you put out choose elegant over lazy. CPU cycles = fossil fuel burned.

    2) If you are one of those that are tempted by the newest and shinny, see if you can't wait until the improved version is available. We can force them to improve their products by not buying what we know is crap.

    3) For others here if you see a noob trying to keep their older pc running, help them so it doesn't end up as e-waste before it's time.

    Thanks to all who make this forum run.:worthy:

    To be continued
  11. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    There are some problems you surely encounter as well (I do):
    You cannot argue, at least a long time with the ones who don't see a problem here or think you are too sensitive.
    Why? It will end up that they think you are nuts. It is a general mechanism. As long as you float with the current, you don't attract attention. To be normal means to float with the current. To be different means to be strange.
    So my conclusion is: It is not our job to convince the 'others'.

    Our job is to assist and to take own personal consequences. A role model is the IT administration section of the company I am working.

    -they have to think about privacy to protect the company's data / interest.
    -they choose the hardware / PCs in the aspect of low cost / high value / compatibility
    -they think twice if an upgrade is really needed.
    -they are honest and run only legit licenses.
    -they disable any service that might 'phone home'

    They don't try to convince others outside of the company. But they assist with best advice if needed!
    They are responsible for the company only, no matter if an employee has got his 3rd PC in the meantime already..

    So what can I do? What can everyone do?
    I also try to act where I am responsible. It is my private life and here at MDL.
    I help members here if I can. I mod EFIs / BIOS / administer the forums.
    I post my opinion the way I am.
    I recommend devices of which I think are a good deal.

    I want to add that IMHO the manufacturer of any device has to take it back after 'end of life'
    His responsibility should not end when sold.
    He has the ability to build and ship it, so he should have it to take it back and disassemble / recycle.
    He knows best how to re-use the parts.

    The problem resources has been discussed at other threads as well.
    I love MDL because it's not only about PC related stuff and programming.
    Some say that PC freaks and / or programmers are a sort of nerds and don't take a part in 'common' life matters.

    They are so wrong. They are clever and have a great variety of experiences. And they can contribute in a valuable way with their own ideas and thoughts.
    Since we are an international forum we can collect different aspects, different matters related to different cultures.

    So MDL becomes more and more a real treasure for people who want to make up their minds and want to hear different points of views.

    As long as I am an MDL admin I will support this idea.
    I recommend to all new members to browse through the non PC related sections as well when having time. I am sure you will have fun.
    We have a lot of unique members. :)
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  12. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    IMHO this is a great point. I fully support it's implementation. Sign me up!
  13. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
    hi all.

    i `ve just spent the best part of an hour browsing this;

    how sick can it get?? those guys are putting in restrictions
    for the user, i mean customer, by the ton! encryptions, that only
    serve to thwart you.
    okay, i know very well, that i am way out of my depth in that thread..

    when Yen says avoid buying HP stuff because of it he surely
    has got a point..a conclusion i`ve reached long ago since
    using such a machine. but it is not just hp..

    i feel that some lateral thinking is needed here.
    for you can`t go on delving deeper and deeper
    into what multi-million companies choose to encrypt
    on YOUR machine. only a very few people, with
    knowledge way beyond that of the average user,
    have got a hope to keep up with that, imho..

    those companies choose to put this stuff in the
    bios/uefi/whatever, because that way they can
    f**k up the boot process before you get acces to your
    OS, whatever OS you happen to use, and where you
    could use software, not firmware, to get things going.

    which makes me wonder if it is possible to use some
    bios that merely hands over to the OS, so that you
    may load your stuff from there, on your harddrive.

    okay, i know it can`t be that simple, but i also know
    that the deep delving road mentioned above will only
    lead to a dead end.....these companies have turned
    in this direction, they are going very fast, and if
    we keep playing their game there is no stopping them..

    i hope i have provided some food for thought..
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  14. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    #14 redroad, Jan 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
    U(EFI) is like a board of directors meeting,deciding what firmware,what products, and on what terms you can use them with a given OS. The only problem is they forgot to invite the share holders to the meeting.

    The solution IMHO is to lock the door to the meeting, let them know how insulted you are for not being invited. Let them know that they work for you and it is through your good graces that they will be allowed to continue. Renegotiate the terms. End the meeting and open the door. That is a U(EFI) mod.:biggrin5:
  15. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007
    What worries me most is that I play with EFI, which is a pre-OS. It is essential to boot the OS. This means I can brick the device. Recovery is usually working at HP notebooks, but you never know.
    When I try to patch an application and it doesn't work, it simply doesn't work, I can re-try it without any trouble.

    What's quite funny is that you always can sell restriction as a new era of technology, as advancement, as improvement of security.
    But what do they secure, improve?

    Intel's UEFI are most 'secured' they are digitally signed.

    HP's are encrypted. This measure is made only to avoid any modification. This is NOT made to secure the PC / boot process itself.
    It also has a whitelist, probably even a pool of allowed devices to run.
    It's probably digitally signed as well.
    I haven't seen such a EFI before. Just to patch the error message isn't enough, there is a pool of devices which are allowed to run only. (FCC IDs)

    Lenovo has 'simple' whitelists, their EFI isn't protected, though.
    MSI and Asus don't have, not sure about Toshiba and Acer. Dell is also known to be restrictive. They even have their own BIOS. Sony also don't seem to have whitelist, but their recovery is crappy, which means if you brick it you have to send it away to repair.

    It's a simple thing. A user of a HP notebook (netwave) asks if it's possible that he can run his new WWAN card.
    He's bought it and he did not know that there would be a problem. He cannot use the card and has to re-sell it.
    I try for a mod. It's the only chance to get it run. Also another member of the biosmod forum tries it.
    I have now an idea how it could work, if it ever will..I don't know yet.
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  16. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    Is it possible to have boot look like BIOS > U(EFI) > TPM or USB device > OS
  17. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
    #17 nodnar, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
    still munching over this a lot, yen..
    took a good hard look at coreboot and seabios today,
    unhindered by too much expertise..
    but it would seem this stuff is capable of running w7 x64
    and below, open source..without headaches. but the trouble is
    that you get new headaches, like unsupported mobo`s..
    but the fun about pre-os is about control..
    which is where a generic bios tries to f**k up the
    boot process, if you don`t play their game..
    i`m not so sure seabios etc are the way to go, many failures,
    but at least it provides an alternative to sheepishly loading
    an uefi thing, with new restrictions added every 5 minututes..

    come to think of it, one thing i read on wikipedia today
    was, thet all the bios really had to do, is to hand over to
    the os. and get the hell out!
    hear, hear..
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  18. Yen

    Yen Admin
    Staff Member

    May 6, 2007


    BIOS > OS or UEFI > OS (simplified chain)

    TPM is an extra chip / own secure cryptoprocessor. It can be used with BIOS or UEFI, it doesn't matter. You only need a TPM header on the mainboard. Although the co-work of UEFI and TPM has been revised a lot, w8 will also support it.

    What will be possible I don't know (UEFI / TPM / W8).
    If they do it well the user should be able to sign its own platform.
    Let's say you have everything installed and you say now I trust my system / platform. Then just sign it.
    TPM / W8 will then detect any modifications. This would prevent alternation of malware for instance.

    On the other hand it could be signed already. So your 'modifications' will be restricted.
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  19. berretta9mm

    berretta9mm MDL Novice

    Mar 11, 2011
    Great thread! I, like you, began using, tearing apart and rebuilding computers since I sold them (and used them for centralized inventory and profit figures daily updated) for Tandy Corporation back in the days of the TRS-80s and Color Computers. I do remember my first hard drive was 250 Mb and cost 250 or more dollars. I loaded win 3.1, after the various iterations of DOS, from a few floppies. What really burns me is that the available technologies (ie 4g) are being 'implemented' by lie. The 'implementation' is to squeeze 4g packets into standard protocol packets, and then advertise a "4g network." I called my ISP to ask them why they were advertising 4g service when, although clearly the protocol showed as active, on further inspection IPV6 had no internet connection. It is like a halloween mask - they went round and round until I finally pinned them into a corner and they said that they had no plans to implement 'true 4g' service anytime soon, if ever. The promise of 4g was simply a lie, false representation - and yet the monopolization of these ISPs in most markets allow them to do whatever they wish. We have become grateful suckers, paying extra money for things that do not exist. What is TRULY needed is an anti-monopoly legislation agenda, ala "Ma Bell". If implementation and diversification of providers and the technology they use continues to be obstructed by lobyists, then the technology will die on the vine - but only here, where it was developed; not in Asia, and Europe, and other countries who are not so focused on control and next-quarter profit. And we will be left behind, as surely as we were in chip mass manufacturing , broadband worthy of its name, car manufacturing, and a host of other leads we have discovered and squandered. And cloud computing? It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up - I will NEVER expose data to a 'cloud.'
    -Old curmudgen out - hope I didn't step on any toes or go on too long. These trends have really disturbed me.
  20. redroad

    redroad MDL Guru

    Dec 2, 2011
    The point of hand off has been the grey area is it not? For me the question comes up what are the possibilities of intercession between U(EFI) and OS hand off. It's clear in the old way with rudimentary drivers at BIOS level and a hand off to the advanced drivers of the OS. It is only my assumption that with U(EFI) the advanced drivers in part have been assigned to the recovery area, U(EFI) thus giving advanced control of the OS. The question in my mind still remains how much of a hand off takes place in that grey area between U(EFI) and OS.