TUAW reader Bryan raised an important question--one that's been circulating on a number of Apple forums--in response to yesterday's confirmation that Open Firmware won't be ported for x86 Macs: what happens to the Open Firmware functions Mac users love, such as Target Disk Mode and holding down "c" to boot from CD?
The answer? Probably nothing. The newest Intel chipsets, like the 945g, support Intel Active Management Technology, which allows for on chip control of all kinds of I/O. Its primary purpose is to allow remote control of devices via AMT enabled ethernet cards for easier network diagnostics and server recovery, but it can be put to a variety of other uses as well. The best publicized use has been its support for DTCP-IP, but it should be able to emulate most of the OF functionality Mac users rely on, and probably some things we haven't thought of yet.