Patent application title: Parametric Build of UEFI Firmware
Eugene Khoruzhenko (Redmond, WA, US)
Stephen E. Jones (Bellevue, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AG06F944FI
Class name: Software program development tool (e.g., integrated case tool or stand-alone development tool) code generation component based
Publication date: 2010-12-16
Patent application number: 20100318961
Methods, systems, apparatuses and program products are disclosed for
providing parametric driven build of Unified Extensible Firmware
Interface based Personal Computer firmware, typically but not essentially
Provision is made for source databases providing for multiple
configurations, variants, revisions and levels of capabilities including
on non-hierarchical bases.
1. A method for building a plurality of firmware components to execute a
sequence of instructions in a device comprising a computer, the method
comprising:through the use of a build utility program invoked in a build
directory, scanning parent directories of the build directory to locate a
build file having a plurality of module version specifications;creating
an EFI (extensible firmware interface) configurator file that provides
information for identifying a plurality of selected modules for building
from a plurality of versions of modules specified by the plurality of
module version specifications; andperforming a build responsive to a
reading of the EFI configurator file.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein:the EFI (extensible firmware interface) configurator provides for UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) capabilities.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein:the EFI (extensible firmware interface) configurator file is created responsive to contents of module definition files for a plurality of versions of subdirectories comprising Kernel, Executive and System files.
4. The method of claim 1 further comprising:conditionally including drivers in the firmware components responsive to build condition parameter in a DXE.DSC (driver execution environment description).
5. A computer program product comprising:at least one computer-readable medium having instructions encoded therein, the instructions when executed by a device comprising a computer cause the device to operate to implement the method of claim 1.
6. The computer program product of claim 5 wherein:the device further operates to implement the method of claim 2.
7. A method comprising:an act of modulating a signal onto an electro-magnetic carrier wave impressed into a tangible medium, or of demodulating the signal from the electro-magnetic carrier wave, the signal having instructions encoded therein, the instructions when executed by a device comprising a computer cause the device to operate to implement the method of claim 1.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein:the device further operates to implement the method of claim 2.
9. An electronic device comprising:a controller; anda memory having instructions encoded therein, the instructions when executed by the controller cause said electronic device to operate for running an sequence of instructions by steps that implement the method of claim 1.
10. The electronic device of claim 9 wherein:the electronic device further operates to implement the method of claim 2.
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional application for a patent No. 61/268,562 entitled INNOVATIONS IN SECURECORE TIANO 2.0 filed Jun. 13, 2009 inventor Stephen E. Jones and which is incorporated in its entirety by this reference.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to personal computers and devices sharing similar architectures and, more particularly relates to a system and corresponding or related method for parametric driven build of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface based Personal Computer firmware. Similar processes and entities within comparable computing apparatuses also fall within the general scope of the invention.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Modernly, the use of PCs (personal computers), including so-called laptop and notebook computers, is increasingly common and the computers themselves are ever more powerful and complex. Hardware development continues at great rates resulting in families of PCs that share parts and partial configurations yet have evolving capabilities and legion configurations. A persistent problem is the management of needed changes and enhancements to firmwares as new versions of hardware and entirely new hardware subsystems are phased in--while simultaneously avoiding excessive duplication of effort across families of related, but different, computer products. This leads to a need for capabilities above and beyond those found in previously developed source and build management systems.
Firmware development for PCs presents substantially different problems (requiring substantially different solutions) from software development. Previously developed software development solutions either have systems programs to handle routine programming minutiae and/or comprise systems program(s) that can rely on firmware features to largely hide hardware dependencies. Different again is development for embedded firmware--that firmware typically supports only a very few hardware configurations and/or versions, as contrasted with the very many of each found in PC firmware.
Intel Corporation first defined EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) as the programming interface exposed by firmware to O/S (operating system); former comparable firmwares were not sufficiently portable nor scalable to Intel's CPU (Central Processor Unit) IA64 (Intel Architecture for 64 bit widths) architecture. A first implementation of the EFI interface became known as Tiano, which Intel Corporation offered under license via a web site. The UEFI (Unified EFI) Forum, a trade group, secured architectural control over derivatives of EFI under a new name--UEFI, with a right to support and extend. The UEFI Forum specifies and documents the UEFI interface.
The PIWG (Platform Initialization Working Group) of the UEFI Forum provides a common internal framework for Silicon and platform drivers, so that a common understanding of the roles and methods used by Silicon and platform drivers is developed by implementers of UEFI firmware stacks together with the providers of the Silicon and platform drivers. Silicon and platform drivers are each well-known in the PC firmware arts.
The UEFI and related standards provide richness, but fail to sufficiently address significant specific areas of concern including at least:
Quality of board bring-up user experienceQuality of BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) customization experienceDuration of system bootloading and platform initialization timeLevel of reliabilityLevel of compatibility with Intel's Foundation Core (also known as Foundation for short and a discrete part of Tiano)Scope for platform innovation by BIOS vendors and partners and customers thereof.
These attributes are described in a version of SCT (SECURECORE Tiano®) System Overview document published by Phoenix® Technologies Ltd. (herein "Phoenix"). Adequately addressing all of these areas of concern requires innovation above and beyond what is described in UEFI and PIWG standards and related documents. However, innovation needs to be at least substantially backwards compatible with those same standards so as not to lose benefits arising out of compliance therewith.
However, mere compliance is insufficient. One of the things needed is a way of supporting the UEFI and PIWG standards (and their future versions) while at the same time providing an infrastructure for firmware that can be used for proprietary innovation, going beyond the standards. Ultimately, these innovations may themselves become official or de facto standards in the industry, as Phoenix's channel is broad.
The standard packaging for the source codes of the Tiano firmware (released under a TianoCore.org label), includes relevant source code and facilitates methods for compiling, linking and for merging the firmware programs together so that the resulting binary codes may be used to produce firmware comprising run-time instruction codes for a ROM (read-only memory) or its functional equivalent. The standard packaging and methods have proven insufficiently capable and flexible. These are improved upon as described below.
A significant advantage of embodiments of the invention over previously developed solutions is that it becomes possible to provide for multiple types of chipsets (also Silicon), platforms (also product families), hardware levels (especially improved, significantly revised and novel subsystems), and firmware revision levels (especially levels of deficiency and fault remedies) without forcing a hierarchical approach to be used and without the significant downside of that alternative.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a method for packaging, compiling, linking, and merging programs that embodies the invention. In addition program products and other means for exploiting the invention are presented.
According to an aspect of the present invention an embodiment of the invention may provide a method for building firmware components with the use of a build utility program that scans parent directories to locate a build file with multiple module version specifications; creating an EFI (extensible firmware interface) configurator file specific to those specification and performing a build responsive thereto.
According to a further aspect of the invention a DXE.DSC (driver execution environment description) capability is provided.
According to a still further aspect of the invention the EFI (extensible firmware interface) configurator file is created responsive to contents of module definition files for a plurality of versions of subdirectories comprising Kernel, Executive and System files
Program products and programs transmitted by Internet and similar means that provide for the method are also disclosed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The aforementioned and related advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood and appreciated upon review of the following detailed description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the following drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate an embodiment of the invention and wherein like numerals represent like elements, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an electronic device configured as a target device into which firmware generated using the present invention may be loaded and utilized;
FIG. 2 shows an organization of a EDK1 source tree with corresponding Directory Organization.
FIG. 3 shows an SCT2 directory tree organization according to an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary Project Definition File illustrating use of MODULE statements according to an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 5 is a flowchart that shows a method according to an embodiment of the invention that implements the exemplary features of FIGS. 3 and 4
FIG. 6 shows a sample output Project.env file.
FIG. 7 shows an excerpt of a System Dxe.DSC file.
FIG. 8 shows how an exemplary embodiment of the invention may be encoded onto a computer medium or media; and
FIG. 9 shows how an exemplary embodiment of the invention may be encoded, transmitted, received and decoded using electro-magnetic waves.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The numerous components shown in the drawings are presented to provide a person of ordinary skill in the art a thorough, enabling disclosure of the present invention. The description of well-known components is not included within this description so as not to obscure the disclosure or take away or otherwise reduce the novelty of the present invention and the main benefits provided thereby.
Embodiments of the disclosure presented herein provide methods, systems, and computer-readable media for providing and utilizing a means for packaging, compiling, linking, and merging programs that embodies the invention. In addition program products and other means for exploiting the invention are presented.
Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals represent like elements throughout the several figures, aspects of an exemplary operating environment and the implementations provided herein will be described. FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an electronic device configured to implement the firmware target system operational functionality according to the present invention.
FIG. 1 shows a computer 10 that is operative to provide an EFI/UEFI firmware environment to provide a DXE (Driver Execution Environment) phase and/or a BDS (Boot Device Selection) phase. DXE and BDS are well known in the UEFI arts. The computer 10 typically includes a baseboard (not shown in FIG. 1), or motherboard form of printed circuit board to which a multitude of components or devices are connected by way of a system bus or other electrical communication path. In one illustrative embodiment, a CPU (central processing unit) 12 operates in conjunction with a chipset 50. The CPU 12 is a standard central processor that performs, inter alia, arithmetic and logical operations necessary for the operation of the computer.
Chipset 50 may include a Northbridge 14 and a Southbridge 32. The Northbridge 14 may be attached to CPU 12 by a FSB (Front Side Bus) 13 and typically provides an interface between the CPU 12 and the remainder of the computer 10. The Northbridge 14 may also provide an interface to a RAM (random access memory) 16 the main memory for the computer 10 and, possibly, to other devices such as an on-board graphics adapter (not shown in FIG. 1).
The Northbridge 14 is connected to a Southbridge 32 by a DMI (direct media interface) 18. The Southbridge 32 may be responsible for controlling many of the input/output functions of the computer 10 such as USB (universal serial bus), sound adapters, Ethernet controllers and one or more GPIO (general purpose input/output) port (None shown in FIG. 1). In one embodiment, a bus comprises a PCI (peripheral component interconnect) bus circuit 22 to which a disk storage subsystem 66 (often abbreviated to "disk") or other storage devices for storing an operating system and application programs may be attached.
The Southbridge 32 may also provide SMM (system management mode) circuits and power management circuitry. A peripheral interface 30 may also be provided by the Southbridge 32 for connecting a SuperI/O (Super input-output) device 60. Southbridge 32 may also incorporate a timer circuit for generating timer circuit interrupts typically at periodic intervals.
As known to those skilled in the art, an O/S (operating system) such as may be stored on disk 66 comprises a set of programs that control operations of a computer and allocation of resources. An application program is software that runs on top of (is loaded and directed by) the O/S software and uses computer resources made available through the O/S to perform application specific tasks desired by a user of the computer 10.
Disk 66 may also provide non-volatile storage for the computer 10. Although the description of computer-readable media contained herein refers to a mass storage device, such as a hard disk or CD-ROM (Compact-Disc-ROM) drive, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that computer-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by the computer 10. By way of example, and not limitation, computer-readable media may comprise computer storage media and communication media. Computer storage media includes volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in a method or technology for storage of information such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EPROM (Erasable, programmable ROM), EEPROM (Electrically EPROM), serial EEPROM, Flash memory or other solid state memory technology, CD-ROM, DVD (Digital Versatile Disk), or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices well-known in the art, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by the computer.
The peripheral interface 30 may also connect a computer storage media such as a ROM (not shown) or, more typically, a flash memory such as a NVRAM (non-volatile random access semiconductor memory) 33 for storing UEFI platform firmware 34 that includes program code containing the basic routines that help to start up the computer 10 and to transfer information between elements within the computer 10. The UEFI firmware 34 is compatible with the UEFI Specification.
It should be appreciated that the computer 10 may comprise other types of computing devices, including hand-held computers, embedded computer systems, personal digital assistants, and other types of computing devices known to those skilled in the art. It is also contemplated that the computer 10 may not include all of the components shown in FIG. 1, may include other components that are not explicitly shown in FIG. 1, or may utilize an architecture different from that shown in FIG. 1.
In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, Phoenix's SCT2 (SECURECORE Tiano version 2) uses build time paradigms derived in large part from the previously developed EDK1 (EFI Development Kit version 1), which is the previously developed and heretofore standardized form of packaging for the firmware of type TianoCore.org, discussed above. EDK1 includes respective source code and methods for compiling, linking, and merging the relevant software and firmware instruction codes together so that the resulting binary information entities may be used to program a ROM such as may typically be used in a targeted hardware configuration at run time.
Such innovations may typically include means for componentizing pieces of the software and firmware instruction codes so that a large structure is presented with elements or packages that are simplified for the product consumer or user. The way that, for example, a product user may define what is produced by the source code is also different in SCT2 as contrasted with EDK1, and notably so through an innovation of project files with a parametric build capability. Each driver program (mostly DXE device drivers) represented therein may have compile-time parameters that may be specified in the build, thus facilitating and promoting product user control over various discrete policies (typically fine-grained discrete policies) that may be embodied in each driver. Additionally, overall system policies involving multiple drivers are facilitated.
Moreover, as contrasted with EDK1, SCT2 simplifies EFI Platform module concepts, as expressed in hundreds (or even thousands) of source files, by introducing a Board-level module that may be used by a product user for customization. In such an embodiment, Platform modules are typically relegated to platform class definitions that support multiple Board modules. These SDK (so-called software development kit, but relating also to firmware) innovations facilitate significant improvement as to productivity (both during board bring-up and during customization processes), and enable third parties to develop solutions that may be used by Phoenix customers and/or other product users.
The ways in which Tiano-based EFI is augmented with these innovations is new and historically unparalleled thus providing significant new advantages.
FIG. 2 shows a prior art organization of an Intel-architected EDK1 source tree as embodied as to a corresponding Directory Organization.
In FIG. 2, the Foundation, consisting of code necessary to locate and load drivers into memory in the run time environment, is located entirely within its own directory, which is simply named "Foundation". Intel Corporation maintains this code as creators and owners of the basic fundamental part of the EFI architecture. Accordingly, Intel supplies patches thereto from time to time. Whenever patches are applied, they are (must be) applied in situ, that is over the top of any and all existing Foundation folder files. Although such patches primarily correct defects in the Foundation itself, they might not always be entirely backwards compatible. Consequently, patches are supplied on a per-tree basis, and all projects within the tree must entirely accept (or, rarely, entirely reject) all of the subject patches.
In the EDK1 Sample directory there are subdirectories supporting potential or realizable product user (so-called customer) adaptation, this is especially the case within the Platform directory, and within which subdirectories are typically created for each project to be supported by the build tree.
Moreover, the EDK1 Universal directory contains the system's standard components that have general applicability to all, or almost all, projects. Examples include the disk component, which typically contains multiple drivers supporting disk I/O (block input-output and related file systems) and a feature commonly known as DxeIpl (for Driver execution environment initial program loader), which launches the DXE (Driver execution environment) runtime component.
In contrast, FIG. 3 represents a typical SCT2 directory tree organization according to an embodiment of the invention and which provides an exemplary illustration of innovative SCT2 Code Organization. As depicted, in such a tree of build files a plurality of logical components (such as Foundation, Kernel, Exec(executive), System, Platform, Board, Project) is presented and each contains a further layer of subdirectories (herein enumerated 000, 001, 002, et seq) each supporting versioning of the respective component.
Thus, as a newer version of each component is created, it may be assigned a new version number in local sequence. This thereby allows more than one version (or logical revision) of a component to be available in the selected tree. This innovation makes it possible for a project file (shown as Projects\ProjectName\000\Project.def in FIG. 3) to specify the modules and their respective versions to be included on a project basis. As the customer or product user has a development tree that matures, so earlier projects that may be using correspondingly earlier versions of the Foundation, Kernel, Executive, System, or Silicon drivers may continued to be maintained through revision. This may occur all while newer projects may refer to more recent releases of those same (or equivalent or corresponding) components.
The exemplary SCT 2.0 source tree consists of the versioned modules. Any directory that has the 3-digit numeric subdirectories is a module. The numeric subdirectories store different revisions of the module's source code; they should start from 000 and increment as the new module revisions are created. Also, because even the build itself is versioned, it is possible for the SCT framework to support dissimilar builds, including those not based on EDK I, on a project-by-project basis.
In order that project-based build may be achieved without modification to the EDK1 source itself (which is prohibited if compatibility and conformity is required) a novel top-level directory is created. In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, this new top-level directory is herein called "Projects", and whereat each project to be defined is assigned its own respective subdirectory. Within a given project's subdirectory hierarchy, further versioning (and version naming) subdirectories are created, thus providing a means for supporting multiple releases of a particular project within one single directory tree.
The selected versioned directory (for example 000--a directory mapped to a first version) is known as the project directory. It contains the necessary files to define a given project that is to produce a binary target image. In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, the Project.def file within this directory may be a text file that contains the project definition statements that drive the build, such as that shown in FIG. 4.
FIG. 4 is an exemplary Project Definition File illustrating use of MODULE statements. In FIG. 4, MODULE statements are depicted that may be used to declare the components within an exemplary SCT2 build tree. It is intended that these are to be included in the exemplary build, and also specify locations of pertinent EDK1 build automation files.
In an exemplary embodiment of the invention the build process is controlled by the project file (named PROJECT.DEF), which configures the build with the Definition Language statements. The nature and purpose of the Definition Language is to define configuration objects used by a utility program to create the output files used in other phases of the build. Such output files may include: a Project.h file for #define statements included for C language source program; a Project.inc file for symbol definitions included in Assembly language source program; a Project.env file for symbol definitions, as may be used in INF and DSC files and/or a Cmdb.bin file for a kernel CM (Configuration Manager) database used for BIOS runtime configuration and/or reconfiguration.
The project file may be processed by an SCTPROJ utility from a top level downwards, so that statements placed towards the end of the file will typically override definitions placed further from the end of the file. Within the project file the first module to include is the module named "Build"; it may contains some overarching definitions, such as a version number of the recommended and tested development suite used. One such development suite is the popular Visual Studio product. The order of the modules specified in the project file may typically follow their respective architectural position. For example in the sequence: Foundation, Kernel, Executive, and System. Thus subsequent modules may augment or override objects created in preceding modules. In a similar manner, Core modules are typically followed by the Silicon, Platform, Board, and other modules in that particular order.
Still referring to FIG. 4, an exemplary MODULE statement in a .DEF might be of the form: MODULE ModuleName, ModuleVersion, [Parameter]
Here, MODULE is a keyword. The second lexeme is the Module name, followed by the required version number and an optional special parameter.
In an embodiment of the invention, the special parameter is interpreted as according whether the parameter contains underscores. If there are underscores then SCTPROJ creates an equate: Parameter=ModulePath. This may be done so as to create the additional symbols for the module path, which may be required, for example, by third-party code.
Conversely, if underscores are absent from the parameter, then SCTPROJ creates a additional path equate similar to the above described path, but with an "SCT_PATH_" prefix: SCT_PATH_Parameter=ModulePath.
MODULE declarations enable the SCTPROJ tool to find the specified versioned modules in the current source tree and create the necessary path symbols used by ProcessDSC for processing INF and DSC files. SCTPROJ may also look for a Build folder and MODULE.DEF file in the module's own root directory. The content of the MODULE.DEF file may thus be included in processing of the PROJECT.DEF file, thereby facilitating overrides as described above. The Module's Build folder contains the standard Pei.dsc, Dxe.dsc, and Library.dsc files that have INF file entries for the components included in the module. When SCTPROJ processes a MODULE statement, it may add these DSC files as "!include" entries into the corresponding temporary files: ProjectPei.dsc, ProjectDxe.dsc, and ProjectLib.dsc. In this way, these project level DSC files are auto-generated in the project's Temp folder and are included by the main Build.dsc located in the core Build folder. The main Build.dsc file is pointed to by the project's MAKEFILE to be passed to a ProcessDSC utility.
FIG. 5 is a flowchart that shows a method according to an embodiment of the invention that implements the exemplary features prescribed in FIGS. 3 and 4 above. At Ref. 5100 entry is made to a function for building a firmware (or firmware and software) image according to an embodiment of the invention.
At Ref. 5110, a build utility program with an exemplary name of PHMAKE is invoked such as via a DOS (Disk Operating System) prompt or through an integrated environment, with the project directory being the current working directory. Build utility programs are well-known in the firmware or software build arts; some types of build utility programs are colloquially (or sometimes formally) known as "Make programs". To invoke a build utility program in a particular directory is a term of art for initiating and running a build utility program that has specific knowledge of how to locate a most-significant, or current project, directory upon which many or most aspects of the build particulars are derived. The current working directory is an exemplary embodiment of the current project directory concept. A current project directory may be a focal point of a multiplicity of versions of build versions derived from an instance of build-time parameterization. Such terminologies are well-known in the firmware or software build arts, as appropriate.
At Ref. 5120, a PHMAKE.EXE program to implement the PHMAKE function scans its own parent directories for a configurator file herein called PHMAKE.CFG. This PHMAKE.CFG file provides directives to PHMAKE that allow it to identify name and version of the build files to be used in the present build.
At Ref. 5130, the PHMAKE.EXE program runs a MAKEFILE located in the Build directory, passing it symbols specifying (1) the project's name and version, (2) the location of the build files, and (3) the build tree's root directory name (in the example this is C:\SCT.) MAKEFILE is well-known in the art. The MAKEFILE in turn invokes, supervises and runs the top-level build, including running a utility program, SCTPROJ.EXE, to process the respective Project.def file.
At Ref. 5140, the SCTPROJ.EXE program attempts to access MODULE.DEF files, located in each of the component directories specified by the MODULE statements in the project file. Whenever and wherever relevant MODULE.DEF files are found, their statements, consisting of Option and Config definitions are processed by SCTPROJ.EXE. These Option and Config definitions act to specify default values for the build options later each used by their respective component.
At Ref. 5150, the SCTPROJ.EXE program parses the Project.def file to produce a Project.h file in a temporary (temp\) directory within the project directory that typically contains #define statements associated with each Option declaration (for example Parametric Build uses this build product.) A Project.inc file is also created for input into build of Assembly Language programs.
Next, at Ref. 5160, a Project.env file is created; this is necessarily compatible with the EDK1 Config.env file. FIG. 6 (below) shows a sample output Project.env file, illustrating how the MODULE and Option statements are transformed into declarations in the Project.env file.
Still referring to FIG. 5, at Ref. 5170, the PHMAKE.EXE program continues to read the MAKEFILE after SCTPROJ.EXE completes its processing, causing the EDK1 compatible MAKEFILE to receive control in substantially the same manner as with previously developed build systems and with the information needed to parameterize the build and to locate the needed build components.
At Ref. 5180, the remainder of the build proceeds using EDK1 build tools. This may include DSC (description files) as described below in connection with FIG. 8. At Ref. 5190 the method ends.
FIG. 6 shows a sample output Project.env file that has been methodically produced by the exemplary SCTPROJ.EXE build utility.
FIG. 7 shows an excerpt of a System Dxe.DSC (driver execution environment description) file, showing use of a BUILD_CONDITION parameter.
Build parameters, such as OPTION_DEBUG_SERIAL_DXE, are used to render conditional the inclusion of drivers in the build, using the EDK's DSC file system. In previously developed (non-enhanced) EDK1 style builds, a BUILD.DSC file in the platform tip directory containing a list of drivers to be included in the build, is read by the EDK1 build tool PROCESSDSC.EXE.
In contrast, in an enhanced build according to an embodiment of the invention, individual statements are replaced with !INCLUDE statements that refer to standardized DSC files in the respective module directories and which have corresponding BUILD_CONDITION parameters. This causes PROCESS.DSC to include only those files wherein the respective parameters in the manufactured Config.env file evaluate to TRUE. FIG. 7 shows an excerpt of the System's Dxe.DSC file, illustrating how certain drivers may be conditionally included in the build in the context of the present exemplary description.
With regards to FIG. 8, computer instructions to be incorporated into an electronic device 10 may be distributed as manufactured firmware and/or software computer products 510 using a variety of possible media 530 having the instructions recorded thereon such as by using a storage recorder 520. Often in products as complex as those that deploy the invention, more than one medium may be used, both in distribution and in manufacturing relevant product. Only one medium is shown in FIG. 8 for clarity but more than one medium may be used and a single computer product may be divided among a plurality of media.
FIG. 9 shows how an exemplary embodiment of the invention may be encoded, transmitted, received and decoded using electro-magnetic waves.
With regard to FIG. 9, additionally, and especially since the rise in Internet usage, computer products 610 may be distributed by encoding them into signals modulated as a wave. The resulting waveforms may then be transmitted by a transmitter 640, propagated as tangible modulated electro-magnetic carrier waves 650 and received by a receiver 660. Upon reception they may be demodulated and the signal decoded into a further version or copy of the computer product 611 in a memory or other storage device that is part of a second electronic device 11 and typically similar in nature to electronic device 10.
Other topologies and/or devices could also be used to construct alternative embodiments of the invention. The embodiments described above are exemplary rather than limiting and the bounds of the invention should be determined from the claims. Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail hereinabove, it should be clearly understood that many variations and/or modifications of the basic inventive concepts herein taught which may appear to those skilled in the present art will still fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention, as defined in the appended claims.
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