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UEFI and Linux in 2013 - the list so far

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With the advent of UEFI enabled PCs now being shipped, Linux users who wish to easily dual-boot Linux and Windows 8 on such machines currently have relatively few options.

Secure Boot distribution support
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:02 pm
by Matthew Garret

It's after Christmas, and some number of people doubtless ended up with Windows 8 PCs and may want to install Linux on them. If you'd like to do that without fiddling with firmware settings, here are your options...

<read the rest here>
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So far, the list of UEFI collaborating distros is pretty short:

* Ubuntu 12.10
* Fedora 18
* Sabayon
Hmm...the only real surprise there is Sabayon. Whoulda thought?

Suse has announced plans to come to some sort of accomodation with Microsoft; and Debian has announced they will put support for UEFI into their installer, but (so far) do not actually support UEFI.



GParted - that most excellent of all disk partitioning and management toolkits now has full support for UEFI on their latest live distribution. This is welcome news as GParted Live is one of the most useful utility disks in a PC tech's toolkit.

From the GParted website:

28 December 2012: GParted Live 0.14.1-6 Stable Release

The GParted team is proud to announce a new stable release of GParted Live.

The big news with this release is the added ability to boot the live image on UEFI firmware computers, while maintaining boot ability on traditional PC/BIOS computers. This means that GParted Live can now boot on newer Windows 8 computers.

In addition to supporting uEFI firmware, two more GNU/Linux operating system images have been released: i686-PAE (Physical Address Extension) and AMD64 (X86-64). These new images permit addressing more than 4 gigabytes of RAM, and enable using multiple processor cores.

Other items of note include:

    Updated Linux kernel to 3.2.35-2
    Based on the Debian Sid repository (as of 2012/Dec/23)

Thanks goes to Steven Shiau for these live image enhancements.

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IMHO it doesn't seem so difficult to get Secure Boot support - you just use Matthew Garrett's shim?

If you feel you need to be able to recompile the shim, you spend $100 on a VeriSign SSL/CodeSigning certificate, and use that to sign up for a (free) Microsoft SysDev account, which will let you sign stuff.

And while I haven't seen any "ready for Win8" laptops, so I cannot comment on the key management features of their BIOS/UEFI, my Secure Boot capable ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard has full key management capabilities.

I still do believe that Secure Boot is fundamentally a good thing, technically... but I don't like the thought of the slippery slope.

I can't believe the industry linked its future to this MS-exclusive approach. Is the only way around it to build your own rigs? (Helped a relative build one over the holidays and we just turned the UEFI option off before installing Linux on a new HD.

It's not MS-exclusive, Zaine. And as long as you're buying x86 and not ARM, it's a MS requirement that your UEFI either has key management facilities, or at least allows disabling secure boot, in order to get the MS logo thingy.

Let's stop the FUD and stick to facts - but still keep the slippery slope in mind.

I'm not sure that I understand the slippery slope thing here. The UEFI is an independent panel. MS is on the panel, but they're just one voice; I don't imagine them all deciding to make all computer hardware Windows-only. They are basically like the hardware equivalent of SSL certificate publishers. Like f0dder said, Windows 8 certification requires that you be able to disable Secure Boot, and that certification is important to OEMs.


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