Linux distros (and FreeBSD): join the UEFI Forum

Hey Linux/FreeBSD distros: it’s great that you’ve got UEFI support including Secure Boot certs. But that’s not enough, you need to join the UEFI Forum, and help evolve UEFI to be more Linux-friendly.

Right now, the last time I checked, the only Linux distros that had joined were: Canonical (Ubuntu), Red Hat, and SuSE. As well as Linaro. Excluding SuSE and Redhat’s commercial products, that means that Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE are the community Linux distros that may have the best UEFI support.

UEFI Forum members have access to:
* member-only communications (web forums)
* member-only invites to meetings/events (including the 1-3 plugfests they do each year).
* member-only access to software and specs the public doesn’t have.
* access to file bugs/change requests, which the public cannot do.

I think you get access to their non-public trunk, a subset of which is exported to the public as TianoCore, but I’m not sure. (Hypocritically, I’m not a member yet, still working on it, blocking on some new company infrastructure.)

If you join, you can help evolve and improve UEFI, and have early access to UEFI resources so your distros can be ready for any changes. You can attend the plugfests and do interop testing with other UEFI products/projects, to find problems before your users have to see them.

If you don’t join, you’ll be constantly reacting to UEFI Forum releases, have less resources than UEFI Member distros have, and if there’s a problem all you can do is whine and blame Intel and/or Microsoft, when you should look into the mirror instead.

The Linux Foundation should help enable community distros, which don’t have large corporations to back their membership, to get involved as well. The Free Software Foundation should join and participate, instead of keeping their heads in the sand and wish everyone would stop using UEFI. Embrace and Extend.

In addition to Linux distros, FreeBSD also supports UEFI, and is not a UEFI Forum member. iX Systems and FreeBSD Foundation: this also applies to you.

You also need to register your distro with the UEFI Forum’s ESP Subdirectory Registry, so you can have some UEFI binaries (boot loader, etc.) in a well-known location. Ex, if Debian’s cbootstrap gets ported to a UEFI Application, then \EFI\Debian\cbootstrap.efi would be an example of where the file would be stored. Right now, Debian is registered, but not a member of the UEFI Forum!?

Intel, ARM, Linaro, Red Hat, SuSE, and Canonical have been doing a great job improving UEFI so it works better with non-Apple, non-Microsoft operating systems. IMO, more distros need to get involved and help.

More Information:

http://uefi.org/members
http://uefi.org/join
http://uefi.org/registry

While I’m on my soapbox, Linux distros should consider some UEFI-centric rescue options in their boot CDs. ALT Linux Rescue ISOs include rEFInd boot manager, and let you optionally jump into UEFI Shell. You could use UEFI-aware GRUB for this, instead of rEFInd. Additionally, it would be nice to also give access to running: FWTS (FirmWare Test Suite), Intel CHIPSEC to test the hardware/firmware for security. It would also be nice to include the UEFI port of CPython 2.7x, along with the UEFI Shell, for more powerful diagnostic abilities. Distro installers should also consider installing UEFI Shell and UEFI Python and CHIPSEC onto system’s ESP, in an advanced mode, not just let them access via install ISO. Of course, there are security issues by enabling extra Pre-OS tools, user would need to opt-into all of this. Intel’s LUV-live, which Linaro is porting to AArch64, contains BITS (BIOS Interface Test Suite), FWTS, CHIPSEC all in one convenient location. I hope other Linux distros emulate some of LUV-live’s diagnostic and rescue abilities.

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