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Saturday, July 12, 2014

How Boot Firmware Development and Driver Development Differs--PCI Bus Implementation Case Study

This post is not BIOS/UEFI specific per-se. However, it has a very close relation to it because it delves deep into Windows device driver architecture.

Most of BIOS/UEFI modules are aware of the CPU architecture, motherboard chipset and all supporting logic in which it runs. However, the same assumption cannot be made for an OS, such as Windows. Therefore, BIOS/UEFI modules mostly can take for granted the CPU and bus architecture in which it will run. The same is not true for a device driver. For example, a PCI or PCIe explansion card can be used in the same operating system but runs on entirely different CPU architecture. This means device driver creator couldn't and shouldn't assume the CPU architecture and bus architecture in which it will eventually run.

This series of posts by Windows PnP subsystem developer is very enlightening in this respect:

This hopefully shed some light in system software developments :)