Recently I was able to review the EFiX Boot Processing Unit for the PC. This innovative device allows any PC to run EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) on a standard Intel machine and run all three flavors of modern OSes – Windows, OS X – Leopard and Linux (pick your favorite distro). During my research, I came in contact with Davide Rutigliano, the CEO or Art Studios Entertainment Media and maker of the EFiX. He was very helpful in explaining the history and functioning of the amazing device.
Davide was kind enough to sit down with Test Freaks and answer some questions about the EFiX BPU and about the future of his company. He addresses some of the more controversial aspects of the EFiX and its relationship with OS X. So without further ado, here is the interview with Davide Rutigliano.
TestFreaks (TF): Tell me little bit about your tech background and about the company – Art Studios Entertainment?
David Rutigliaon (DR): My first computer was a Coleco Adam in 1984 (which is still sitting in my little museum collection!)
I always loved computers and followed their evolution throughout the years. When I met my other family (Art Studios staff) we clicked immediately, on top of the video and music production they were doing, Art Studios was also a very busy prototype studio. That is where everything started!
TF:How long have you been involved with EFiX and Art Studios Entertainment?
DR: As a friend for about a year, and as CEO since August 2008.
TF:You feel that the EFiX boot processor unit has been misrepresented in the press and on many forums, can you tell me what the EFiX chip is about from your company’s perspective?
DR: To be honest it was to be expected that people misunderstood the nature of the product. We live in a world where gossip, joy for someone else’s damage and all lovely feelings like those are very popular and very sought by a lot of journalists and people.
At Art Studios we really believe in EFI-X as a device to bring people together, help with the research and development in all IT worlds, and mostly in the integration of those.
TF: Please tell the reader exactly how the EFI-X works in the boot process, what does it control, how does it interact with the OS
DR: Basically EFI-X has a powerful custom processor that bypasses most of the BIOS functions of a motherboard, and replaces them with EFI code. OS implementations are endless. We have a couple of experimental implementations of EFI in the lab right now, so I wouldn’t want to boast what we don’t have at hand yet as a final thing. EFI can interact very deeply with the OS about driver and filesystem management.
TF: Is this the same EFI as spec’ed by Intel or is it modified?
DR: We added some va-va-voom to the standard EFI and UEFI code, we even named it AEFI (Artstudios Extensible Firmware interface) mostly to obtain a more complex graphical interface management than the standard one.
TF: Is there any additional code besides the EFI at the boot stage?
DR: There doesn’t need to be, as the EFI environment is very flexible and very open to all sort of enhancements.
TF: How does the EFiX handle drivers?
DR: In a very different way than an OS does that. Basically where we want to get is to have our BPU to “understand” perfectly on its own what you have onboard and integrate all the hardware with the best possible performances on any EFI capable OS.
TF: What is your company’s stance on the linking of the EFiX BPU to the Hackintosh/OSX86 world?
DR: Although I don’t have any personal grudge towards them, linking us to them is not correct. Our approach is entirely different, and contrarily to them all our code and development is our own only, and we don’t hack anything at all. What we have (even our bugs! ) has been created only for us.
TF: One of the great features of the EFiX is the ability to upgrade the firmware and add new and exciting features, what can we expect to see in the near future in terms of upgrades?
DR: First of all, we are to eliminate the bugs. Then we have a very long list of new features, ranging from interchangeable boot graphics to a much better integrated filesystem integration in the pipeline.
TF: What is the roadmap for the EFiX chip and for the company as a whole?
DR: We are planning to get EFI-X better known in 2009. A lot of people don’t know, or worse, still misunderstand us, and I will do all I can to amend that. We have some new products waiting to be released, but I would rather like to concentrate onto maximising EFI-X performances and marketing right now. After that, all our workflow can be much better.
TF: Does Art Studio Entertainment have any new and exciting products coming down the road that you can let our readers in on?
DR: Ancient Gate is our game colossal being coded at the moment, sporting a breathtaking 3D engine and a very interesting story. Hopefully will be ready by 2010. Then we also have some more exciting future implementations of EFI-X (not for laptops) which we will release around the end of next summer.
As of Jan 19, 2009, Art Studios Entertainment Media have decided to cease any trade with EFIX USA. Our new reseller in USA is www.expresshd.com.
A nice bonus is the new vendor is actually selling the EFiX for $30 less than their predecessor at a low price of $169.
Once, again Test Freaks would like to thank Davide Rutigliano and Art Studios Entertainment Media with spending some time with us and our readers.
We received this email after the interview concerning EFIX USA and Art Studios Entertainment Media:
I thought you might be interested in this news. We at Art Studios Entertainment Media have decided to cease any trade with EFIX USA LLC for all the messup they made back in December. Our new reseller in USA is www.expresshd.com and it seems like they want to keep a nice, stable and low price of $169. We also kept one of the people of EFIX USA LLC that actually had no part in the messup of December.