Late of 2012, in the shadows of the big splash launch of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework (http://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/embedded/intelligent-systems-framework.html), another more subtle yet very significant announcement was made by the Intelligent Systems Group (ISG) of Intel. At the Intel® Intelligent Systems Summit in Taipei last October (http://www.intel-events.com/iiss), ISG announced future availability of a product called the Intel® Firmware Support Package (Intel® FSP . . . http://www.intel.com/fsp). Details of this announcement and technical presentation can be found here: https://www.intel-event.com/iiss/iiss/d/track4/4-3.pdf
In 2010, Intel announce availability of a royalty-free system firmware solution called the Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK . . . http://www.intel.com/go/bldk). However, in October (2012), Intel announce it would be evolving the Intel BLDK solution, and transition to the Intel FSP solutions to enable royalty-free system firmware solutions.
Why you ask is this significant? In addition to the Intel FSP solution being available on more Intel platforms, and not just the Intel® Atom? Processors, the Intel FSP has standardized APIs that allow for interface of Intel silicon initialization code into any customized system firmware implementation. The implication is that open source firmware solutions, such as Coreboot (http://www.coreboot.org/) and U-Boot (http://www.denx.de/wiki/U-Boot) can be utilized on Intel silicon for the first time. Intel has historically held their initialization code very “close to the chest,” and prohibited any integration of silicon initialization code combined with open source code. This has made it very difficult for embedded developers to utilize or develop anything other than a BIOS for an embedded system based on Intel® Architecture. Now with the Intel FSP, embedded developers can use Intel Architecture for the first time ever with open source firmware solutions.