UEFI News and Commentary

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

UEFI Forum releases the ACPI 5.1 Specification

For years, the ACPI specification was developed by what was essentially a 5-way tangle of an IP agreement between Microsoft, Intel, Toshiba, Phoenix and HP. It was a closed group with no simple way for new ideas and direction from outside.

After ACPI 5.0 was released, it became clear that if ACPI were going to have wider industry adoption, it would need to open up to a different sort of development process. At the UEFI board meetings (when I was with Phoenix), I saw most of the same companies and most of the same people as with ACPI. After much discussion between companies with large contingents of lawyers, the UEFI Forum took over management of ACPI and the UEFI board created the ASWG (ACPI Specification Working Group) to manage ACPI's development.

One of the first challenges after this change in management was to clean up the ACPI specification and make it more ARM AArch64 friendly. ACPI 5.0 had already paved the way with the Hardware-Reduced profile, removing many of the assumptions about hardware registers, processor states and bus hierarchies . These had been driven to some extent by Microsoft when Windows RT was on the horizon. For a description of the ACPI-related changes made by Linaro and other ARM partners, see this summary. Linaro has been very active in submitting kernel patch after kernel patch to modify the X86-only flavor of some of the Linux kernel pieces.

Now, with the release of the new ACPI 5.1 specification in a timely fashion, the remaining bits that didn't fit have been cleared away. There is still more work to be done, but at least Linux, ACPI an ARM have a clear path forward, both in terms of technology and open specification governance.

No comments: