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Intel hands off BIOS successor to trade group

Extensible Firmware Interface, which could speed boot-up process for PCs, goes to a group that will promote and standardize it.

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The Extensible Firmware Interface, which could speed the boot-up process for PCs, has been handed over to a group that will promote and standardize it.

The United EFI Forum will essentially try to pave the way for EFI to succeed the basic input/output system, or BIOS, inside PCs. The BIOS lets the hardware speak to the software. Though the BIOS was once relatively straightforward in its design, over the years it has morphed into a figurative bowl of spaghetti as it's been changed and updated to accept new technologies.

Advocates say EFI would make it simpler for companies to add improvements, while also enabling PCs to boot up faster.

Some members of the open-source community are currently promoting open-source BIOSes. Major PC makers, however, have not actively championed this effort. Executives at BIOS makers and chip giant Intel have said that more tightly controlling this element in a PC helps maintain PC security and stability and fosters competition by protecting companies' intellectual property.

Intel began to promote EFI in 2003 and wrote an initial specification. The United EFI Forum says it will come out with a 1.10 version of the spec by the end of the year. Other members include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and BIOS specialists Insyde Software and Phoenix Technologies.

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