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New Freedesktop.org Bootloader Specification

Surprisingly there appears to have been very little public discussion about the new bootloader specification which recently appeared on the Freedesktop.org website.

So who are the people behind this specification? They do not identify themselves. I wonder why? According to the website, the specification was last edited 2013-03-07 by somebody called annarchy. The name alone should make you wary!

I suspect that Kay Sievers of the Gummiboot (German for rubber boat) UEFI bootloader project is involved. Some of the specification matches what is in Gummiboot. If Kay Sievers is involved, then I would suspect that Harald Hoyer is also involved. Both are employees of Red Hat. Given that these two are involved, I would be willing to bet that Lennart Poettering is also involved.

There was a short discussion about the specification on the Red Hat anaconda-devel-list recently. This confirms that Poettering is involved.

Having read the specification with interest, it is clear to me that whoever wrote the specification has no deep knowledge of UEFI implementations. Frankly, this specification should be opposed by all. It continues the myth that you need a separate bootloader on UEFI when in fact the UEFI specification madates implementations provide all the necessary support for a firmware-based boot manager using various well defined global variables. For example, my Lenovo T430 comes with a UEFI firmware-based boot manager and it is easy to add, delete, or modify the various boot manager menu entries.

A better approach would be to work to change the UEFI 3.2.1 specification to require all UEFI implementations expose a UEFI 2.0 shell and a easily configurable firmware-based boot manager via some option such as a DEL key when powering up.

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