Saturday, May 25, 2019

modern, red, rust, retire

I have been on the road for a few weeks, but I'm happily back in town for the memorial day weekend. Some of the notable stops on my trek have included a nearby visit to the UEFI Plugfest to talk about how to accelerate pre-OS networking This included a reference to an open source implementation of the work

In the spirit of open source, my next was still relatively local to Bellingham, WA to deliver a talk at LinuxFest Northwest
Great community and interaction from people truly engaged on open source. Also, some interesting sightings on the way out

After the Saturday Bellingham event I hopped plan Sunday morning to commence a two week trek across various stops in North America

and Taiwan

Upon return from Tw I wandered to southern WA to an open source conference

where the topic of ModernFW was introduced

As part of those discussions on modernizing firmware the coreboot community mentioned Redleaf and an approach to elide C from coreboot with oreboot The latter mentions a first target of RISC-V. Pretty exciting to see discussions on many fronts, along with code artifacts, to advance the state of the art in host firmware.

On my last leg of the journey in the last week, I visited the Intel Oregon location. This sojourn included my colleague Lee Rosenbaum's retirement lunch.

I enjoyed many interactions with Lee in his 13 years at Intel, including some public artifacts like
 "A Tour Beyond BIOS into UEFI Secure Boot" and later work on testing

Ironically, of the 5 authors of the WOOT paper, Alex and John are  now at  where they are doing interesting work like, Mark headed over to Amazon where he has done some interesting work like,  and of course Lee leaving.  Or as I like to say about retirement, Lee had a sharp enough spoon to tunnel out of the Shawshank of corporate America. Looks like I'm the last man still with an active Intel address of the original 5 authors.

Beyond the WOOT paper bench clearing out, I was not too surprised that Lee didn't want to retire with the three books

The third one is definitely nostalgic since it has one of the first overviews of EFI in print beyond the de jure specification. It also treats the PAL and SAL firmware architectures, where the latter with its SAL_PROC mapping of the legacy BIOS API's (e.g., SAL_PROC (0x13) to read the disk) pre-dated EFI (e.g., EFI_BLOCK_IO_PROTOCOL). I onboarded with Intel in early 1997 to lead the firmware for the first Itanium platform Merced.

Good stuff.

I mentioned RISC-V in the context of oreboot above. This architecture proposes a lowest software layer called the system binary interface (SBI), essentially the equivalent of the Itanium PAL (which in turn resembled the DEC Alpha PAL code layer a bit). It's fascinating the watch the deliberations around this code, especially as they drive an open source variant The wheel of history continues to turn, and sometimes repeat.

I guess that this type of posting will continue over time, with the maudlin aspects resembling a bit,too. Safe retirement travels to another Lee and enough blogging for the holiday weekend.....

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