Intel launches Firmware Engine dev tool

April 8, 2015 // 10:56 a.m.

Tags: #bios #doug-fisher #firmware #internet-of-things #iot #minnowboard #sdk #software-development-kit #uefi

Companies: #galileo #intel

Intel has announced the launch of a new tool which it claims will make it easier for customers to develop custom UEFI firmware for their devices: the Intel Firmware Engine.

Unveiled by Intel's Doug Fisher during a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum Shenzen this week, the Intel Firmware Engine is described by Michael Greene as 'a paradigm shift in the approach of firmware development.' In a blog post introducing the tool, Greene explains: 'Most device manufacturers just need firmware to do one basic job … boot their system. The value they see in the platform is the ability to run a variety of operating systems, middle-ware and user applications. Firmware is essential to the boot process, but it’s not what device manufacturers want to spend most of their time working on. Intel is providing the Intel Firmware Engine to automate its development so they can focus on creating innovative products for their customers.'

The Windows-only utility provides a graphical interface through which an OEM or ODM can customise an Intel-provided and validated reference UEFI firmware design. Features can be added and removed quickly and without having to delve into the code thanks to a bundled catalogue of validated components - provided, interestingly, as binary blobs rather than compilable source code.

Intel isn't looking to the desktop and laptop market just yet, though. 'We’re providing this because of the increasingly fast pace of platform development and the need for capabilities and tools to quickly create firmware for the new platforms. Our primary focus is on Internet of Things (IoT) edge devices, embedded devices and China Technology Ecosystem (CTE) partners using Intel Atom and Intel Quark processors, creating platforms based on Intel reference designs with minimal firmware requirements,' Greene explained. 'Intel Firmware Engine gives Internet of Things innovators and Makers the ability to quickly create device firmware without programming expertise.'

The initial release of the Intel Firmware Engine supports the MinnowBoard and Galileo Gen. 2 platforms, both of which are open-hardware designs created by Intel engineers and powered by Intel processors. The company has also announced the Intel Firmware Engine Software Development Kit (SDK) as a beta, which allows the use of existing UEFI driver code within the Firmware Engine.

More details are available from the Intel Architecture Firmware Resource Centre.
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