23 March 2006

Reasons for EFI

So with Apple's new Intel based Macs, they no longer use the Open Firmware BIOS. Since that announcement in January, I've often wondered why Apple chose EFI. Yesterday in a MacEnterprise.org webcast "Demystifying the Transition" Apple shared these two slides:

  • Larger ROMs: This makes sense, more features, more space needed. Okay at a high level I can understand that.
  • Richer graphics: Sure, I like not looking at some black screen with white text on boot. Check.
  • Dynamic boot volume picker: Okay, I do not know what this is. Any ideas?
  • Faster start-up time: This is always good. And I've already noticed how fast my MacBook boots and comes out of sleep.
  • Apple Remote for controlling boot options: Again, what could this possibly mean? Why would I want to use my Apple remote to control boot options? I know you can use the remote to bring your computer out of sleep, which would make a lot of sense if you have you Mac setup as your PVR. Still, it's not exactly a boot option. Hmmm. Any ideas what this might be?
  • NetBoot support for using BSDP: Sure, NetBoot is a very cool Mac feature and making sure EFI can suport this scenario is important. (From the webcast it sounded like Apple did make some modifications to make EFI work with BSDP.) All in all, EFI looks to be a Good Thing indeed.


    John Klepack said...

    Dynamic boot volume picker: Okay, I do not know what this is. Any ideas?

    Here's my guess: If you have multiple bootable volumes this lets you pick the volume at start up rather than through the start up disc control panal. This is probably similar to Lilio or grub when you run a linux flavor but built in rather than residing on the boot sector itself.

    What's interesting is that these are mostly used when duel booting a machine. For example, I run mandrake and xp on my pc and use lilo to select the boot disc at startup.

    Now, Apple has been non-commital about booting XP and other OS's on intel macs but this suggests that they could be making it 'maximally easy' without supporting it. They may just be making it easier to have multiple, bootable, OS X volumes however

    Stephen Mackenzie said...

    Dynamic Boot Volume Picker: is this not replicating what happens (or what's supposed to happen) when you hold down option on booting an Open Firmware machine? i.e. you can pick your startup volume without all that tedious messing around with System Preferences?