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Intel’s 8088 processor was released in 1979 and the 4.77 MHz processor was at the heart of the first IBM PC that was released two years later. While the processor is pretty sluggish by modern standards, it’s kind of legendary among retro computing fans, and it’s even popped up recently in new devices like the Book 8088 mini-laptop.

Historically, computers with Intel 8088 chips have shipped with proprietary BIOS firmware. But developer Sergey Kiselev has been working on an open source BIOS for select 8088 devices for about a dozen years, and this month Kiselev decided the 8088 BIOS code was stable enough to graduate to version 1.0.0 status.

micro 8088 board designed by Sergey Kiselev (GitHub)

The 8088 BIOS officially supports hardware including Kiselev’s Micro 8088 IBM XT-compatible board, the NuXT board, and the Xi 8088 board.

Version 1.0 also adds official support for the Book 8088, which actually ships with a pirated copy of an older version Kiselev’s 8088 BIOS installed. How do you pirate open source software? By failing to comply with the open source licensing terms: in this case, the maker of the Book 8088 strips references to Kiselev and the GPL license.

Book 8088 mini-laptop (Available from AliExpress for $182)

Folks who want to use the official version of 8088 BIOS on the Book 8088 can now buy a replacement BIOS chip for $10 from Kiselev’s Tindie store to get a GPL-compliant version of the software, as well as the latest version, which includes “several bug fixes and enhancements.”

While Kiselev is calling this release version 1.0, there are still some items on the to do list, including adding technical documentation, finalizing extended keyboard support, and adding a “beep if no video” function.

Book 8088 BIOS Chip for $10 from Kiselev’s Tindie Store

You can find more details at the 8088 BIOS GitHub page.

via HackADay and Hacker News

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