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Thread: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

  1. #1
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    Question UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    UEFI is making life very hard on Linux users. Every computer manufacturer seems to have its own way of setting up what used to be the BIOS. This has to affect how many casual users will throw a Live CD into their computer and give Ubuntu a spin.

    A few questions:

    Why can't I flash a ROM or NVRAM with Linux friendly code on any PC? That would allow users to do what they want with their hardware and OS options.

    Why is UEFI designed to make life difficult for computer users, especially Linux users? I guess it's ostensibly to protect machines against malware and viruses.

    What's the smartest, most current UEFI demystifying post/blog/thread that users such as myself can go to to get schooled?

    I know I probably so hopelessly naive and noobish. I'm really hoping to see conversation (here in the happy, friendly Cafe) from Ubuntu community members about UEFI and ways they currently handle it (aside from just buying machines with Linux pre-installed. Dell, for example, has higher end Linux machines. They are pricey, but they are an option for some users.).

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    You are not alone. UEFI makes it hard for many of us. Here are a few links, where you can start learning how to manage to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows. It is fairly easy in some new computers, when you know how to do it, but hard in other computers, particularly when the computer's system does not comply to the UEFI standard.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...mUSBStick#UEFI

    There is a good wiki page about booting with UEFI, and a good tutorial thread, UEFI Installing - Tips.

    It often helps to use BootRepair, https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

  3. #3
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    My old UEFI desktop worked fine with Ubuntu, however my new laptop has to have CSM boot mode (acts like a BIOS) enabled to get anything other than an ArchLinux install to boot.

  4. #4
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    I didn't find setting up Ubuntu on a system with UEFI that much of a problem. I read some of oldfred's posts on the subject although it wasn't needed. This is on a Toshiba laptop with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded. I used the Toshiba utility to create a working recovery device, before doing the installation just in case.

  5. #5
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    As far as I can tell UEFI was not brought out to protect the OS from malware. That is what secure boot is for in a limited way. UEFI came out to finally solve the 4 primary partition limit of the BIOS boot system. Which in its turn presented its own difficulties to the inexperienced wouldbe new user.

    I wonder how many new computers are returned as broken along with a demand for a refund when the problem was caused by the purchaser not knowing what they were doing and so messed up the OS. Perhaps by trying to install Linux. Computers have become a commodity and are no longer a hobbist's toy. In the past manufacturers tried to prevent overclocking until some of them saw marketing opportunity. A profitable market is what manufacturers and suppliers are looking for.

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  6. #6
    neu5eeCh is offline Grande Half-n-Half Cinnamon Ubuntu
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    There's an intriguing little editorial on just this subject here.

    The author seems to suggest that the three main Linux distros have as much to gain from EUFI as windows. When the author tried to contact the distros (including Canonical):

    'Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, appeared to be somewhat disoriented about the query. While their PR person said they would "come back with a response when we can", the next response seemed a bit odd: "We can't comment on forthcoming updates but we'll be in touch later on in April to advise on the features of the next update."'

    His thought:"...if it was impossible to turn off secure boot on a PC and one wanted to install Linux on it, then the only option would be to use a distribution that supported secure boot."

    A bit of a conspiracy theory perhaps, but maybe not...

  7. #7
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    UEFI came out to finally solve the 4 primary partition limit of the BIOS boot system.
    I thought GPT was the answer to the 4 partition limit of MBR partition tables?

  8. #8
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    Quote Originally Posted by VTPoet View Post
    There's an intriguing little editorial on just this subject here.

    The author seems to suggest that the three main Linux distros have as much to gain from EUFI as windows. When the author tried to contact the distros (including Canonical):

    'Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, appeared to be somewhat disoriented about the query. While their PR person said they would "come back with a response when we can", the next response seemed a bit odd: "We can't comment on forthcoming updates but we'll be in touch later on in April to advise on the features of the next update."'

    His thought:"...if it was impossible to turn off secure boot on a PC and one wanted to install Linux on it, then the only option would be to use a distribution that supported secure boot."

    A bit of a conspiracy theory perhaps, but maybe not...
    Canonical has commercial interests, it's a compagny making open source products after all.

    While I don't think anyone in the Linux community wishes for a computing future where people are virtually locked out in UEFI altogether with no easy way to disable secure boot, the hard truth is that it won't affect Canonical Ubuntu in any way. As far as I know, all 64x computers with UEFI are supported by Ubuntu Oses, thanks to bootloader instead of Grub 2. This is in no way the ideal scenario but if Linux is to survive or even some day dominate the desktop, it must adapt to the new reality. And the small distros might at some point have to rally under the big banners.
    Last edited by night_sky2; May 13th, 2015 at 06:46 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    Quote Originally Posted by night_sky2 View Post
    Canonical has commercial interests, it's a compagny making open source products after all.

    While I don't think anyone in the Linux community wishes for a computing future where people are virtually locked out in UEFI altogether with no easy way to disable secure boot, the hard truth is that it won't affect Canonical Ubuntu in any way. As far as I know, all 64x computers with UEFI are supported by Ubuntu Oses, thanks to bootloader instead of Grub 2. This is in no way the ideal scenario but if Linux is to survive or even some day dominate the desktop, it must adapt to the new reality. And the small distros might at some point have to rally under the big banners.
    Sorry, this kind of comments make my blood boil. Adapt to reality? Whose reality? Who dictates it? Why would we as a community just accept it without even putting up a fight? At least we can try. Ubuntu (and Fedora) may be able to handle secure boot, but it is at the mercy of MS. Canonical and Redhat may be competing at certain level, but ultimately they live off the same ecology, when the Linux ecology as a whole is threatened, we all get hurt, it is more than about our favourite distros.

    I know RMS is not very popular here where the prevalent attitude is "use whatever works best". But sometimes it wouldn't hurt to have a bit of idealism when called for and take a principled and forceful stand on certain things.
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; May 13th, 2015 at 08:31 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: UEFI - The desktop Linux killer?

    UEFI is not the same as secure boot. UEFI is the new improved BIOS. Secure boot (which is actually the thing that is causing the issues) is something Microsoft added and then forced manufacturers to use it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified...ware_Interface
    for example:
    UEFI can support remote diagnostics and repair of computers, even without another operating system
    and advantages:
    • Ability to boot from large disks (over 2 TB) with a GUID Partition Table (GPT)[13][b]
    • CPU-independent architecture[b]
    • CPU-independent drivers[b]
    • Flexible pre-OS environment, including network capability
    • Modular design
    as you can read only UEFI 2.2 added option for "secure" boot.

    moreover UEFI itself is not that new:

    • The Linux kernel has been able to use EFI at boot time since early 2000,[67] using the elilo EFI boot loader or, more recently, EFI versions of GRUB.[68] Grub+Linux also supports booting from a GUID partition table without UEFI.[13] The distribution Ubuntu added support for UEFI secure boot as of version 12.10.[69] Further, the Linux kernel can be compiled with the option to run as an EFI bootloader on its own through the EFI bootstub feature.
    • HP-UX has used (U)EFI as its boot mechanism on IA-64 systems since 2002.

    ...
    Last edited by mastablasta; May 13th, 2015 at 08:25 AM.
    Read the easy to understand, lots of pics Ubuntu manual.
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    Full disk backup (newer kernel -> suitable for newer PC): Clonezilla
    User friendly full disk backup: Rescuezilla

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