[Alug] Hard Drive performance

Steve Fosdick fozzy at pelvoux.demon.co.uk
Wed Sep 18 22:55:01 BST 2002

On Wed, 18 Sep 2002 21:54:26 +0000
Wayne Stallwood <wayne.stallwood at btinternet.com> wrote:

> That's not exactly how I remember it :o)
> IBM were quite liberal (for IBM) with information regarding the internals of 
> the PC, Anybody could get BIOS Source code,Bus specs etc. The only reason 
> Compaq got someone to do a clean room re-implementation of it was that they 
> had to, in order to evade any copyright issues regarding the original Bios 
> code...Compaq actually had to track down engineers who had never seen the 
> freely available IBM BOIS code just to make sure that none of them accidently 
> "copied" part of it.

I am not quite sure what you mean here about copyright issues.  Possible reasons I can see for compaq wanting an implementation not copyrighted by IBM are:

1. Compaq didn't trust IBM to keep the same license terms and so wanted to avoid being held to ransome in the future.

2. Compaq had plans for the BIOS which the IBM license didn't allow.

3. Compaq though they could do a better job than IBM and when their BIOS was finished they would have something other people would pay for.

> Diversity is both the PC's greatest gift and it's Achilles heal

That could be said of Unix and Free Software too.

> I'm surprised that you've had so much trouble with Compaq's and DMA, in my 
> experience Compaq have offered some of the most Linux compatable big name 
> machines I have seen.

Well, except for some Compaq specific graphics cards which appear to use a well known graphics chip but differ in a subtle way such that XFree86 doesn't know how to drive them correctly.

HP have also done something similar with one of their Vectras which has a Matrox MGA 200 chip but fails to work at the highest dot clocks the MGA 200 will support.

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