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Nice, huh? At first, I did the obligatory "oh s*!t", but now that I think about it, I kind of like the idea. MS, in an attempt to lock everybody else out of the software business (not just OS, mind you), almost seems to be painting themselves into a corner.
Why? Despite all of MS's best efforts so far, they can't kill pirating. They know that the only way to do that (?) is to lock the pirates out with a hardware solution. Adding DRM/product activation into the bios would be a nice way to do that. I.e., not only would your OS stop working if you didn't follow MS's rules, but you'd lose the ability to use the motherboard for any OS. Or, how about a nice peice of activation code in the bios that refused to let the user connect to the internet until the system booted up and "called home" first?
The upside of this, ironically enough, are the pirates themselves. Sure, they use MS, but if that becomes too much of a pain, they'll go elsewhere. Without those pirates, MS's real marketshare drops in half, or worse. With Linux's desktop strides in the last two years, the switch now is pretty painless, and I can't see hardware companies bending over for a MS solution that offers them nothing but aggrevated support customers.
Besides, we've already been the OS/Bios route before. I've still got that old TI99/4a, and there are a few old atari computers laying around, I'm sure of it.
Lets hope that its not the case that all motherboards of the future have encryption capabilites fascilitated at the hardware level - unfortunately, I doubt this will be the case.......... this is only the start of the long farewell to the x86 PC............
BIOS access from your OS.
It is apparently being called a "security" feature. If your OS is hacked is your BIOS now hacked too?
And while OS access with the BIOS could be good, the "security" point makes me believe all that we will get is a Win-BIOS. If that turns out to be true, and consumer PCs are really crippled to be able to run nothing but Windows, I would hope it would be the law that any such PC on display or advertised in print should have a good size sticker with Bill's picture and the words, "I ownz joo".
Much of the talk about great security features of the future is just going to be cr** that costs you money and gives you trouble without providing the promised security. Open standards, knowledge, and personal responsability are key here as everywhere else.
No worries.... most of the BIOSs I've ever flashed to have been hacked versions for OCing or the like, so I have no doubt that there are coders out there talented enough to re-write a BIOS for any board that comes with this type of BIOS.