The Bios provides the initial low-level services required to load operating system software, such as keyboard, mouse, display, hard disc and CD-Rom access.
The original Bios, developed 20 years ago in machine code, was designed to run in 64Kbytes of memory and, according to analyst firm Gartner, suffers from its heritage. For instance, Gartner said the Bios user interface is primitive, and changes to the Bios disrupt system image stability.
Intel has begun working with CollabNet on a project codenamed "Tiano" to build the successor to the Bios. Intel said the project would be based on up-to-date software technology and would offer improved platform manageability, serviceability and administrative interfaces - features which it said were too complex to implement in the old Bios environment.
Gartner recommended that users opt for Tiano-based systems when they become available in mid-2005, rather than similar systems using conventional Bios.