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Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI, UEFI)

Microsoft announced at last week's Intel Developer Forum that it will not support UEFI in Vista. I'm sure that most of the crowd shrugged their shoulders and didn't give that a second thought, but this could be another Microsoft blunder.

Update: UEFI was added to Vista in their SP1. Windows Server 2008 also has this as does Win 7.

Linux elilo.sourceforge.net/ (link dead, sorry) supports EFI, and the new Intel Apples actually are EFI systems. It would seem obvious that Microsoft should be moving on this more quickly than it is. While some Windows analysts say Microsoft just doesn't see any market demand, I think that they are having so many problems with Vista as it is that they are willing to sacrifice just about anything to get it out the door.

Why is EFI important? Because as its name implies, this is an extensible firmware: low level drivers can be added to this. It is OS agnostic, and it's not all that low level: there's even an EFI shell, and you can develop EFI applications. The whole thing is written in C and runs in a flat memory model, making it much easier to program and to port.

Some writers say that geek level tech stuff like this is unimportant, which would imply that Microsoft is correct. But when PC users start noticing the new Macs lightning fast boot, maybe it does start becoming important. Seeing Target Disk Mode for the first time should make any PC user's jaw drop also (that was available with Macs before EFI because of Open Firmware).

PC Magazine says Microsoft's EFI Pullback is Apple's Gain. They are right.

Read more about EFI at kernelthread.com's More Power to Firmware.

UEFI Home Page: http://uefi.org/

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