Incubation Committee Representative Ron Minnich
Open system firmware is an open development project, the goal of which is to allow OCP owners to "own their firmware" -- to move the point of control of firmware to the system owner. Owners must be able to change firmware and share it -- including any binary components -- with other owners. Starting in March, 2021, OCP badging for servers will require that systems support OSF.
OSF is open source. However, OSF does not require vendors to deliver firmware in open source form. OSF open source components are designed to be easily integrated into a non-open-source firmware image. For example, such integration has been occurring since 2017 on the LinuxBoot project, where we integrate Linux into UEFI images as a UEFI driver.
There are several ways for vendors to deliver OSF compliant systems. The most convenient, as in IBM's Power 9 systems, is to deliver firmware in open source form, buildable by the owner, and installable by the owner. Another is to deliver firmware in a binary, but componentized, form, which allows us to build and install open source components in the firmware image. An example of componentized firmware is UEFI, which allows us to modify, remove, and replace components in the image. Although a binary firmware image is far less desirable than full open source, the OSF specification allows it.
Two examples of OSF can be seen today, in the LinuxBoot (linuxboot.org) and OpenEDK2 projects.
For examples of compliant open source systems, see IBM's OPAL; for examples of compliant binary images, see UEFI.
- Supports all processor architectures found in the web-scale data center.
- Support for cloud operating systems
- Support for compute (GP & AI/ML/FPGA), storage, & network devices.
- Development and deployment tools
- Security feature
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