Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu’

First UEFI PlugFest for Linuxers


After the 3 days dedicated to LinuxCon US 2013 in New Orleans, it was time to contribute to the UEFI Plugfest organized for the first time as a co-located event.

So what is a UEFI plugfest ? Well it’s a place where hardware manufacturers and software producers meet to check the compatibility of their implementations with regards to UEFI. So Every hardware manufacturer brings some systems, sometimes early units or prototypes, and try them with the latest operating systems available to find out potential issues, some other bring cards to see whether their UEFI driver works fine on computer manufacturer and operating system producers want to try their latest version on these often brand new systems.

UEFI PlugFest

I think it was a brilliant idea to mix the 2 populations for multiple reasons:

  • UEFI members were for sure impressed by the technical knowledge floating around, and employed in such an open fashion, which is not the standard way of working of this standard body.
  • Linux kernel members could exchange with manufacturer representatives of UEFI systems which definitely helped reducing all the FUD around this technology, in particular Secure Boot. They also had the opportunity to test some not yet available hardware platform to ensure their distributions/drivers/tools were working fine or fix them if that wasn’t the case

UEFI PlugFest - Samer El-Haj-Mahmoud, HP

So in the HP area, under the lead of Dong Wei who is UEFI Forum Vice President and HP Fellow, we tried with 2 colleagues various Linux distributions (and even Windows, but not me !) on the 4 systems that were around. And some findings were interesting !

UEFI PlugFest - Dong Wei, HP

  • Debian 7.1 had grub issue at boot and we were not able to install it
  • Mageia 3 has no UEFI support yet and we were not able to install it easily. However, support is planned for Mageia 4, and some info have been published recently to detail how to perform UEFI based installation.
  • Ubuntu 13.10 provides all what is needed to install in a UEFI compliant environment, thanks to their documentation. We were also able to test SecureBoot with success with their version of Matthew Garrett‘s shim bootloader, signed by Microsoft. They are also working on an interesting tool: FWTS aka Firmware Test Suite, which should be adopted by all distributions IMHO in order to have (for once !) a single tool able to perform firmware compliance tests for a Linux environment. Easy to use, pretty comprehensive, reports lots of useful info. Too bad that they are not providing their certification tools online anymore 😦
  • OpenSUSE 12.3+ again has what is needed for UEFI support. Same mechanism with a shim bootloader, but this time signed multiple times by Microsoft and SUSE. However, this requires a more recent implementation of the UEFI specification, which wasn’t the case on all our system during this event. SUSE provides in particular an excellent documentation on UEFI support, including the possibility to sign its own kernel with pesign in order to use it with SecureBoot.
  • Fedora 19 provides mostly all what is needed. Install worked in UEFI mode without problem. We used the updated version of the shim and shim-unsigned packages from Fedora 20 in order to avoid some issues. However, the multisign issue met with OpenSUSE was also encountered here. More over, Fedora doesn’t provide a good documentation yet for signing your own kernel, which was reported upstream and could benefit from this article. Also the usage of mokutil is broken and should be fixed for Fedora 20.
  • UEFI PlugFest - Samer El-Haj-Mahmoud, HP

    We also got visited by two Kernel Maintainers Greg Kroah-Hartman and James Bottomley who even tried some of his tools on our systems.
    UEFI PlugFest - James Bottomley, Parallels - Neill Kapron, HP

    Note that Some USB keys even correctly formated didn’t boot correctly on some platforms so if you encounter this issue, try using another USB key.

    Finally I made some tries with MondoRescue on the Last Fedora distribution installed. I thought the work done to support EFI on Itanium would be sufficient, but there are some detection problems for the boot loader in mindi need to be solved and are now tracked upstream as well.

    And on top of all what I was able to learn working with my 3 colleagues, I was pointed to a very instructive article from Ken Thomson on Trusting Trust, I hadn’t read before (and I encourage you to read it), following discussions on Secure Boot. And we had a very nice dinner downtown, a walk through Bourbon Street
    Bourbon Street

    followed by a real air of New Orleans Jazz.

    That was the end of a very rich US week. More to come on other more recent travels later.

Proposition of Cross-Distro Mini-Conf for 2012


Time has come again to think to our friends down under ! Since I was there in 2007 for a MondoRescue conference I think this is really a place to be in the FLOSS ecosystem when possible; Too bad it’s so far away from France 😦 Travel costs are not light either.

But I thought I should propose the follwoing mini-conf, as the one I attended in Fosdem 2010 on the same topic worked very interesting, and allowed to start some joint collaboration that I think is fruitful and avoid/reduce fragmentation.

I hope it will be accepted to give me an opportunity to fly there and meet with the great community which gathers there each year.

So here it is (Thanks to the great example provided by Martin Michlmayr last year)

The “Cross-Distribution” mini-conf at LCA 2012 (Ballarat, Australia; January 16-20 2012) is for people interested in cooperation between Open Source distributions. Topics include contributors agreements, licensing policies, packaging best practices and tools, sharing patches to upstream projects, communications, working with upstream Open Source developers, translations, governance, workflow in place, version control systems, bug reporting management and sharing,, funding, marketing, lessons from your experience, and whatever related topics people would like to bring up. Whether you are a single contributor working on a single package, or leading a full distribution, managing a full distribution infrastructure, or representing it in the press, whether it’s famous as Debian or less as AbulEdu this mini-conf hopes to bring different people together to exchange thoughts and facilitate discussion about these topics.

Presentation submitters should feel free to suggest their own topics. Here is a list of potentially interesting subjects (in no particular order):

* Building software packages on a large scale
* Choosing valid licenses and copyright policies
* Patch management
* Working with upstream
* Forking a distribution
* Experiences in distributed development
* Managing bug report and enhancement request
* Tools to support making a distribution
* Translation of a distribution
* Reuse between distributions
* Collaborationbetween distributions
* Distribution structures
* Distribution Development Management and Governance
* Distribution Corporate Governance
* Lessons learned in building up your distribution
* Marketing
* Communication
* Copyrights
* Applying your copyright and license choices

We hope to receive proposals for:

* 50 minute expert panel discussions
* 50 minute full presentations
* 25 minute half presentations
* 5-10 minute lightning talks (e.g. success stories, …)

To submit a proposal, please contact Bruno Cornec at and include the following information:

* Your name
* Brief bio noting any previous speaking experience
* Talk title
* Brief outline of your proposed talk
* Notes of any special equipment / facilities you may require