[Beowulf] Repenting for sins against Dell (on good Friday, no less)

Nifty Tom Mitchell niftyompi at niftyegg.com
Fri Apr 17 14:22:23 PDT 2009

On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 01:01:58PM +0100, stephen mulcahy wrote:
> Mark Hahn wrote:
>> being able to check and interpret bios settings (from the normal OS)
>> would be a major advantage.  being able to set them would be very nice
>> as well, even if the change didn't take effect until the bios ran again
>> (next boot).
> +1 on both counts.
> I hope some vendor(s) are reading this. Reading BIOS settings (never mind  
> writing them) is a total pain at the moment. It'd be great to see a tool  
> for doing this in a human-readable fashion.

Since most systems purchase their BIOS we need to communicate with BIOS vendors.
I suspect that the BIOS vendors hold some set of locks on a critical patent set
but I never looked under the hood very hard to know.    It may be that they
just have more experience and connections (Common manufacturers, American Megatrends
Insyde Software, Phoenix Technologies, Byosoft, Phoenix Award ....)

I do know that most of the critical chip documentation is under NDA (bridge chips with IO
and memory controllers) .   

What I would like is a single 'setting dump' command that can be captured from
an ASCII  serial line.  No escape characters, no screens, no color, something simple that
can be parsed with awk/ python with little pain.

Perhaps harder to get are the settings that cannot be set.   

One tool "lspci" does dump most all the bits and if you have the
vendor documents it is the richest source of info. "dmidecode" decodes 
a lot more but depends on the dmi table being correct. "biosdecode" 
sounds like the right tool but is less informative.

There is an open source BIOS project.. 

The good news is that once the system has booted, the BIOS can be left behind.

	T o m  M i t c h e l l 
	Found me a new hat, now what?

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