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Debian Follows the FSF’s — Not Red Hat’s — Footsteps Regarding UEFI

Posted in FSF, Red Hat at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: An update on what Debian is planning to do regarding non-free boot sequences

THE coverage regarding UEFI has been started because Microsoft decided to attack computing freedom at the moment a computer boots. Red Hat stepped up with a piece of software which is seen as controversial. “For those looking to experiment with UEFI support on Linux, one of the alternatives to GRUB2 and efilinux is Gummiboot,” writes Michael Larabel. “The Gummiboot UEFI boot manager is an up and coming choice that’s under active development for playing with EFI images.

“Gummiboot is a FreeDesktop.org project that’s mentioned on this Wiki page. “gummiboot is a simple UEFI boot manager which executes configured EFI images. The default entry is selected by a configured pattern (glob) or an on-screen menu. gummiboot operates on the EFI System Partition (ESP) only. Configuration file fragments, kernels, initrds, other EFI images need to reside on the ESP. Linux kernels need to be built with CONFIG_EFI_STUB to be able to be directly executed as an EFI image.””

“If you’ve been keeping track of Matthew Garrett’s blog posts, talks, and other information concerning SecureBoot on Linux, you didn’t miss out on much from this Debian talk.”
      –Michael Larabel
Compare that with Debian’s approach. To quote Larabel again, “Debian developers today at DebConf 12, aside from talking about the future Debian codename, discussed what to do about UEFI booting for Debian Linux.

“UEFI is a hot discussion topic right now with Microsoft Windows 8 approaching that mandates UEFI SecureBoot support, uncertainty about how different OEMs will implement SecureBoot, different Linux distributions taking distinctly different approaches to supporting the controversial technology, and all around this just being another headache for Linux developers and distribution vendors.

“While the room was full of Debian developers in Managua, Nicaragua, nothing really new came out of the discussion. If you’ve been keeping track of Matthew Garrett’s blog posts, talks, and other information concerning SecureBoot on Linux, you didn’t miss out on much from this Debian talk.”

The FSF’s approach was supported by Debian and we shall see what it results in. UEFI on hardware might never take off; Microsoft doesn’t command the market like it used to, especially not on ARM.

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  1. mcinsand said,

    July 13, 2012 at 9:09 am


    Now that’s the approach we need to be taking. Neville Chamberlain is NOT an example to emulate!

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    While calling the FSF zealots or whatever.

    mcinsand Reply:

    Using terms like ‘zealot’ or ‘extremist’ are part of the FUD, as a way to demean people that actually think sticking to principles might be worthwhile. Granted, there are some zealots out there, but, in this case, compromising would mean taking the first step towards abandoning FOSS principles. The irony is that this is part of respecting our legal system; true FOSS eschews technology with incompatible licensing.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In politics the same tactics are used to deter people from associating with the opposition.

  2. mcinsand said,

    July 13, 2012 at 11:53 am


    In politics, zealots and extremists exist on both sides and, at least here in the US, people in the middle have a tough time deciding which set of extremists is less desirable. The sad thing is that the extremes are the most vocal, when hearing what the majority of each side supports would be more valuable.

    As you point out, the terms are thrown about with great effectiveness. The more each party is painted as identifying with the extremes, the more I look at third parties.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are also laws being passed against “extremist” parties sometimes.

  3. Mikko said,

    July 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm


    Microsoft is trying to be like apple but with others making computers locked to windows instead of making their own computers

    nice picture from stockholm.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft’s motives are quite different from Apple’s and the marketing of UEFI also.

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