A new way for users to hose their systems?
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Thread: A new way for users to hose their systems?

  1. #1
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    A new way for users to hose their systems?

    We need a free BIOS, because if we don't control the BIOS we don't control our computers,
    http://news.com.com/Battle+brews+ove...?tag=nefd.lede


    So anyone else think this is just a new way for users to hose their systems?
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  2. #2
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    I've found a user can hose their systems without actually doing anything at all...

    At least... that what they tell me...

    Me: "So... what was it EXACTLY that you did right before your computer stopped working?"
    Them: "Nothing! I swear! All I did was turn it on!"

    I don't think the free BIOS would make that much difference. If people are messing with loading a new BIOS... then they have to have at least *some* smarts. If not... too bad.

    I can *probably* fix it... my rate is $100 for the first hour, minimum one hour, $50 for every hour after that. No guarantees though... Worse case scenario... you have to replace the BIOS... it may be cheaper to just replace the mobo.
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  3. #3
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    At least... that what they tell me...
    They never seem to figure it out ... 'I'm paying him by the hour to fix it but maybe I won't give all the facts and it will take longer to trouble shoot that way he can bill me more... I'm so smart'

    One of my personal favorites is "How come the bill is so much, a lot of the time the computer was slow and rebooting, I shouldn't have to pay for that?" Who messed it up?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Well,

    I go with phish~ on the €/£/$

    Given that 90% of users don't even understand their OS, what on earth would they want control of their BIOS for?

    Anyway, it is flying in the face of industry trends? You buy a branded PC these days and you get some "recovery disk" or even worse, a hidden drive/partition, instead of the retail or OEM version of the OS.

    Also if you boot into the BIOS you find that it has been "castrated" and you can't access the normal features you would get if you bought a MoBo and built your own box.

    Geez! I thought that I was paranoid

    Or is this one of those "bull$h1t for bucks" articles

  5. #5
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    whatthe, that's pretty funny about the rebooting... i often though about it, but in my days of repair and recovery no one actually asked me about it.

    and I have to go with phish also. If you mess up the BIOS, well, it's your damn fault. Users have no business fudging with the bios.

    nihil, i don't understand why castrated pcs are bad. I agree, they are not for everyone, but there are things that are better suited to be hidden from users. It's a good attempt of a brand company trying to give themselves less problems to fix. But like I said, they should offer different versions, one for normal users, one for admins, etc...

    I hereby propose a license to operate a computer. Like buying guns or driving cars, users should have to go through a competency exam and background check. If they fail, they get the most basicest of the basic computers until they can pass another exam. Wishful thinking I guess...

    good post xtc.

    Getting back to the point, I have a problem with the idea that BIOS needs "freeing".

    "We need a free BIOS, because if we don't control the BIOS we don't control our computers," said Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, a Boston-based organization dedicated to promoting the use, modification and redistribution of computer programs. "It puts me in an ethically compromised position to have a nonfree program in my machine."
    What I don't agree with is the idea that all software has to be free (even though I love open source) in order for someone to be in an ethical position. Creating free BIOS _SOLELY_ for this reason is an example of stupid logic. What next, do you want open source ECU software? Don't you feel like you are in an ethically compromised position since you have non-free software in your car?!

    There is a pretty good discussion about this here: http://blogs.redhat.com/people/archive/000201.html

    I do, however, agree that alternatives should be available for those who want them, especially the security-minded. How hard would it be for someone to write a virus that writes to the BIOS? How would open-source BIOS fix this? Anyone have any idea?

    -ik
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  6. #6
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    Ok lets think about about this.... The system is as follows starting from the top, (simplified):-

    Applications
    Operating System
    BIOS
    Hardware

    Usually your favorite user fsks up at the application layer and does something to it's settings that stop them or hide from them the precious little function they use almost exclusively.... This isn't usually much of an issue. At the app level only the app is really affected.

    The curious users manage to fsks up the OS... Now we are starting to hit the "really kewl" stuff.... Messing with the OS messes with the apps too.... Now the box is really messed up....

    So... we want users messing with the BIOS? It's a pile of bricks - BIOS, OS, Apps... the BIOS is the lowest - pull it out and the pile falls... next they'll be suggesting that everyone take a screwdriver to the hardware....
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  7. #7
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    next they'll be suggesting that everyone take a screwdriver to the hardware....
    You'd be amazed at how much stress can be relieved by doing just that after finding that a comp is completely dead at the hardware level
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  8. #8
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    nihil, i don't understand why castrated pcs are bad. I agree, they are not for everyone, but there are things that are better suited to be hidden from users. It's a good attempt of a brand company trying to give themselves less problems to fix. But like I said, they should offer different versions, one for normal users, one for admins, etc...
    I have had a good think and I actually cannot remember anything I have been asked to fix that was due to the user messing with the BIOS...............when it gets that bad they usually bring it to me

    I find not being able to access the full (normal) BIOS can hinder me in trying to fix things............

    Yes, I agree with your assessment of the motives.............cut helpdesk costs?


  9. #9
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    Actually, what I think this boils down to is that the BIOS manufacturers are soon going to incorporate DRM (Digital Rights Management) into the BIOS chip that will prevent the user (of the computer) from installing copy right protected software, mp3's, ect on the computer. Personally, I don't like the idea of them controling what I do on my PC. I'm no pirate, but I don't want them dictating what I do on my pc. I don't think the idea of open BIOS will differ from the the BIOS of today when it comes down to the user. It would probably be similar to the way we upgrade the BIOS now. Richard Stallman is a big contributer to open source software, as you know. I don't think he intends for a novice user to manipulate the BIOS firmware. His goal is probably to become independant of the control that the BIOS manufacturers are about to impose.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Clp727

    Actually what I think this boils down to is that the BIOS manufacturers are soon going to incorporate DRM (Digital Rights Management) into the BIOS chip that will prevent the user (of the computer) to install copy right protected software, mp3's, ect on the computer
    They would want paying big time for that, and it would be 15 years before all the old kit "flushed through"

    I don't think the RIAA have mastered the technology of the wheel, let alone anything more complicated?

    Also, would you buy a MoBo or computer which you knew had that limitation?

    The MoBo boys and PC manufacturers stand to lose far more, and will just get some Chinese company to write BIOSes for them?

    Time to dump your Phoenix and American Megatrends stocks folks?

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