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resuna
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
The question is whether the pain from this new feature of an HTML frontend is worth the increase in features.

That's only "the question" if the HTML front end is the only way to implement thnew features. Since that's provably false (Open Firmware and every other boot monitor in the world), the question is who's responsible for this travesty and why are they still at large?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then I guess the next "question" becomes whether GUIs should be implemented at all. Why should BIOSes finally rise above text-based craptacularity? Of course it's simpler, of course it's easier, but who wants things to be easy? Being an engineer, I don't, but hey, that's just me. An easy to create GUI for a BIOS would be nice because sometimes there just isn't room on the screen given the limitations of a DOS-like graphical system for enough useful information. Maybe now the BIOS will contain a full explanation of all of its features and the manual will be unneccessary.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
Then I guess the next "question" becomes whether GUIs should be implemented at all.

For a boot monitor? They shouldn't, not unless there's a non-graphical alternative.
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Why should BIOSes finally rise above text-based craptacularity?

The words "rise above" implies that you're talking about something better, so I'm not sure what the connection is with the previous sentence... because GUIs aren't better... not for this. They should rise above the pseudo-GUI and embrace their textness with a command line. Unless you include the command line in "text-based craptacularity", in which case "text-based craptacularity" can't be surpassed.

A command line is an inherently better interface for diagnostics and debugging.

The only time you should ever have to deal with the BIOS is when you're doing diagnosis and debugging. It doesn't matter if it's rocket science if only rocket scientists ever have to deal with it.

If that's not the case, if you have to deal with the BIOS routinely, then whatever is making you deal with the BIOS routinely is the problem that should be solved. Not making the BIOS prettier. You can't polish garbage.

The only time I've had to deal with the firmware on a Mac, for example, it's been because the firmware was screwed up or because I was doing rocket science (like installing OS X on a 7600). And even there, dropping back to defaults (zapping the PRAM) has almost always been all I needed to do.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That line that read "Why should BIOSes finally rise above text-based craptacularity?" should've said "Why shouldn't BIOSes finally rise above text-based craptacularity?".

Well, coming from a PC world where dealing with a BIOS is common if you modify, swap, or change the hardware relating to features contained in the motherboard. Dealing with that a lot, like I do, it would be nice if a mouse would work in the interface, for one. A little color and the possibility of anti-aliasing and such in a BIOS window would make dealing with these much nicer. I agree that it doesn't matter if it's rocket science when only rocket scientists work on it, but making computers easier to use should always be the goal here. I really don't see that many problems arising from making the BIOS prettier.

The main issue just seems to be its modularity as far as potential bugs and technological hurdles are concerned.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
dealing with a BIOS is common if you modify, swap, or change the hardware relating to features contained in the motherboard.

Almost all of which is stuff that you shouldn't need to see (like interrupt and port numbers) or stuff you could just as easily change after boot (like cache and RAM timing) when you have the whole OS there. Selecting and configuring the device to boot from is about the only thing you should need to tweak regularly, and you don't need to install a web browser to implement a simple graphical boot selector.

If you're doing stuff like setting up RAID sets? That's when you're in rocket-science mode, and I'd much rather deal with that through a command line!
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it would be nice if a mouse would work in the interface, for one.

It's pretty easy to add mouse support to a command line interface. The FreeBSD console has had great mouse support for a decade now.
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The main issue just seems to be its modularity as far as potential bugs and technological hurdles are concerned.

The main issue for me is the dependence on a web browser, and the difficulty of debugging problems when all you can see is third hand reports via embedded mozilla.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least for Windows and the BIOS for PCs, you can't change the RAM timings and all of that stuff in the OS. Okay, I did a little searching, and I guess you can, but pretty much only for Athlon-supporting mobos.

The point of a BIOS is that is separates these low-level options from the OS. Why would you want to go into the OS to change these features? How do you get your computer running, then, if there is no OS installed because the RAM timing is off and the computer locks up in 3 minutes or other such oddities?

Frankly, I don't see where all of these HTML errors will come from. The BIOS will be tested so that it won't experience HTML parsing errors or what have you. Though software is ruitinely* released that is buggy, a BIOS cannot be very buggy or a product will not sell. Even when that does happen a patch is quickly released. Like all changes to software there will be some headaches. Also, browsers have come a long way and can come in a very small footprint while still performing quite perfectly.

Would having a GUI be fine if it wasn't HTML-based?

A command line would be perfectly, but computers are leaving command line behind and for good reason. Many things are easier to do graphically; RAID is one of those things. The BIOS will never revert to the command line for the same reason that OS X will leave Quartz and go back to text only; there's no point. Considering how ugly the BIOS is right now in its attempt to be prettier an HTML-based GUI would be a nice change; we'd finally have the GUI that BIOS attempted to have an failed.
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resuna
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
At least for Windows and the BIOS for PCs, you can't change the RAM timings and all of that stuff in the OS. Okay, I did a little searching, and I guess you can, but pretty much only for Athlon-supporting mobos.

So now we're getting to the real problem... there's no standard way to control these functions from the OS.
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Why would you want to go into the OS to change these features?

Why do you care about things like optimizing the RAM timing before you've even got the OS installed?
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How do you get your computer running, then, if there is no OS installed because the RAM timing is off and the computer locks up in 3 minutes or other such oddities?

RAM timing isn't ever "off". It may be tuned too aggressively, but it's always safe to drop back to a conservative level for installation, then turn it up after boot if you want.
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Frankly, I don't see where all of these HTML errors will come from.

You ever had to work on anyone else's "well tested" HTML? All it takes is one misunderstanding and everything comes down. Heck, I had one graphics designer I had to reinstall Windows because some application injected some bad *ML into the "add remove programs" control panel and it wouldn't come up.
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Though software is ruitinely* released that is buggy, a BIOS cannot be very buggy or a product will not sell.

The more complexity, the more opportunity for problems. They're not even problems that can quality as "bugs", really, just people reading the same spec and implementing it differently.
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A command line would be perfectly, but computers are leaving command line behind and for good reason.

Actually, they're bringing it back. Apple brought back a command-based interface (applescript) very early, and OS X is UNIX at the heart. Microsoft's adding a new CLI in Longhorn. The command line remains an essential part of every OS, and for good reason.
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Many things are easier to do graphically; RAID is one of those things. The BIOS will never revert to the command line for the same reason that OS X will leave Quartz and go back to text only

Did you miss the part where I was talking about options? Having a GUI as an option for people who aren't rocket scientists is fine, but making it the only option is pure corrosive evil and anyone who's willing to mortgage their soul by doing it deserves to spend an eternity trying to debug a GUI-based application over a bad telephone line. There should be acid-coated sandpaper involved as well.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's nice not to need to enter an OS to change anything that will require a reboot because that just lengthens the time until the problems fixed. As for the GUI, why would we want a command-line and HTML option. That would be just add complexity also. This is really going to be an all-or-nothing transition; either the BIOS is changed so that it's all HTML or it's going to stay the same because adding another layer to the BIOS would add the much dreaded complexity.

I wasn't saying the command line was bad. Sometimes it's better, but how many programs are heading back to solely a CLI? None. A GUI has many strengths with the only downside being if it is designed poorly and the increased complexity. Considering the importance of this software, I doubt the former will be much of a problem and non-coders will not need to worry about the latter.

As for the bugs, of course companies will implement it differently, but who cares? It's not going to be like the internet where you have one page and each BIOS will have different browsers and everything's messed up because they all "render" it differently. Right now BIOSes are significantly different. The same will ring true for the next version. Just because there will be more interoperability doesn't mean that all companies will use it, but they don't have to. BIOSes don't need to work the same between the different venders' versions because all the venders will customize it for their own hardware. This follows the same premise why Mac OS X is so much more stable than Windows; Windows is the jack of all trades, master of none, while Mac OS X supports very few hardware configurations so support is better. The software will be fine because it will be customized to each application not just thrown in like a generic piece of software. The beauty of a modular, standards-based BIOS is that this configuration will take less time.

Where's this debugging a GUI-based app come from? You don't really debug a BIOS. Well, I don't know anyone that does. You either replace it all or call it quits.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
It's nice not to need to enter an OS to change anything that will require a reboot because that just lengthens the time until the problems fixed.

It's not nice to have to reboot to change something that the operating system should be able to take care of, but can't because you have to get back to the BIOS to do it.
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As for the GUI, why would we want a command-line and HTML option.

The HTML option would be built on top of the command line. That way one HTML interface can be shared by most modules, because it's MUCH easier to expose a standard command line interface than to expose an HTML one. This would actually REDUCE complexity. Only those modules that are doing something particularly complex would need to use the HTML interface.

In addition, the set of command line options would produce a human-readable and computer-readable script of the configuration, which would simplify upgrades. I already have a variety of systems I have to manage (both boot monitors and embedded systems like routers) that use CLI and HTML interfaces, and it's MUCH harder to manage the HTML ones.
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As for the bugs, of course companies will implement it differently, but who cares?

I do. I'm already dealing with the results in embedded systems and lights-out management platforms. And guess what one of the reasons for HTML is? Lights-out management. And guess who's implementing this stuff? The same people producing software I've already had to fight.
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Where's this debugging a GUI-based app come from? You don't really debug a BIOS. Well, I don't know anyone that does. You either replace it all or call it quits.

You debug your *computer*... that's what fault diagnosis and configuration is all about. If you're debugging your computer through a GUI-based interface, guess what... the things that make it hard to boot can also make it hard for the GUI-based interface to work. So now you've got to get your computer up far enough for the mouse and a reasonably high resolution screen and enough RAM to run embedded Mozilla so you can fix it the rest of the way.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right. You win through skill and technical prowess.

Very Happy

Edit: I'm not being a smartguy here, just bowing out gracefully before you successfully argue that I am not a man.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susurrus wrote:
I'm not being a smartguy here, just bowing out gracefully before you successfully argue that I am not a man.

You look kind of like a Crazy Frog from here. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

resuna wrote:
Susurrus wrote:
I'm not being a smartguy here, just bowing out gracefully before you successfully argue that I am not a man.

You look kind of like a Crazy Frog from here. Smile


Oh, I am....I am...All those sounds, from the audio, that's me. Surriously... Rolling Eyes
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