[Oberon] UEFI

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Tue Jun 15 16:23:28 CEST 2021

On Tue, 15 Jun 2021 at 15:24, <peter at easthope.ca> wrote:
> Liam, does UEFI being proprietary and undocumented

Hang on. I must stop you there.

UEFI is not proprietary and it is documented:

UEFI is derived from EFI. EFI is Intel's firmware for Itanium
computers. EFI is proprietary. UEFI is not.

> mean that Native
> Oberon or A2 on contemporary machines is impossible without Herculean
> reverse engineering?

No, I don't think so.

UEFI is supported in multiple FOSS OSes and there is a community to help:


>  Even if UEFI is navigated, the backdoor problem
> remains.

What backdoor problem is this?

I mean, in principle, anyone who is writing motherboard firmware can
put whatever they like in there and there's little or no way to work
around it. For instance, Lenovo put code in some versions of its
firmware to make MS Windows silently install the Lenovo diagnostic


I don't think it still does this -- the reaction was very negative --
but it is possible. I have Windows 10 on a Lenovo T420 machine running
from a GPT hard disk in UEFI mode and it didn't install anything I can

But I mainly run Linux so I don't care. This does not affect Linux at all.

I think we could support it, in principle. Indeed I think, as I
believe I've said, that Native Oberon is small enough that in
principle it could run *entirely*  from the ESP with no root
partition, which would be a very good demo!

>   Another motivation to put Oberon on the Skulski machines?

Is it not already?

> Andreas suggested RISC-V.  Can it also have a backdoor?

Any firmware can.

As I've also said before, I think we should target the Raspberry Pi
Zero, as a $5 computer with millions of installed units. The compilers
already output ARM and there was a strongARM port in the past.

Basically all we need are drivers for USB, Ethernet and the
framebuffer. There are multiple FOSS OSes  to use for guidance: Linux,
Plan 9, FreeBSD, RISC OS, etc.

Liam Proven – Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
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