Sunday, November 11, 2012

m12 development

Mepis 12 has been on hold while developer Warren Woodford looks into making Mepis work with UEFI-only hardware. Jerry3904 recently posted some some of Mr. Woodford's responses to comments/concerns from members in this Mepis forums thread. Here's what was communicated in the email message from Mr. Woodford to Jerry3904, for those who are interested and want to know what's up (and who don't want to have to dig through the entire thread):

On Saturday, November 10, 2012 02:07:15 PM you wrote: 
> Hi Warren -- 
> Doubt if you have been paying any attention to that thread, so here is a
> summary of the Community's reaction to your request:
> 1) not a single person currently owns the hardware needed for testing.
Actually,I have been reading the thread and that was my impression. 
> 2) most people believe that it is not actually a show-stopping problem at
> this point, and that an update later could handle what comes 
Go to Best Buy, see all the new computers that are EFI only. The problem
arises when people buy or get a new computer this christmas and then want to
put MEPIS on it. 
> 3) many felt that we should not try to duplicate what Debian itself is
> doing, whose installer (as that link I sent stated) has apparently made
> significant progress 
I agree. MEPIS and Debian have always had different philosophies regarding
installation. It's unlikely that what works for them will easily integrate
with the MEPIS installer. 
Eventually the MEPIS installer will have to be expanded to recognize at least
3 or 4 different installation scenarios. It can be done, but only if testing
is available. 
> 4) a certain number said they would rather see you put your development
> time at this point into getting KDE fully functional so we can get to a
> beta stage.

I would love to do that. And if I stop selling CDs, then it's less of an
issue, if MEPIS doesn't work with EFI. I don't sell enough to matter anyway. 
> This comment by a long-standing member is a good summary of the discussion:
> "From initial investigations I would say that the UEFI obstacle is
> something that presently will only affect a handful of people (who wish to
> try Mepis/other non m$ OS). No doubt in a year's time it will affect some
> more people, when say some OEM manufacturers ship a load of pre locked
> PCs. Even so, for UEFI to be an issue, secure mode has to be enabled
> already during windows install. It is gonna be pretty easy to disable this
> by either entering the BIOS and doing so there, or using a windows utility
> (cmndlets?!) to help with this.

A lot of new PCs are EFI only. At this time, MEPIS does not support EFI boot
at all. Anyone with EFI only, is out of luck right now with MEPIS.

And even if the PC can be put in BIOS mode, if someone wants to dual boot,
that may not work because their Win install may refuse to work with BIOS mode.
Secure boot just makes it worse. 
> The tricky bit is if you wish to dual boot
> windows and Linux using UEFI as far as I can tell.

> Not for me but some people might prefer this? It looks like simply wiping
> the disk and reformatting the boot partition should resolve most issues.
> Bottom line is we will have to deal with this as it happens as the Linux
> tools to automate disabling of secure boot aren't out there (yet?), so I'd
> say carry on with M12(3?) regardless and lets deal with any UEFI issues as
> they occur."
> Another knowledgeable member agreed:
> "Full UEFI implementation will only be required for a very small number of
> brand spanking new hardware sets, all OEM preloads of Windows. The MEPIS
> "market" is much larger than that. For now, we (Warren) should play to our
> strengths; we can deal with the edge cases on down the line when the
> tools/solutions become more widely available." 
I see three possible paths: 
1. Ignore EFI and proceed toward beta. 
2. Get an EFI computer and at least get basic EFI install working. 
3. Do 1 for now and resolve 2 after Christmas when prices are lower.
I have never before gone to Beta with such a big issue unresolved.

But I guess the best path is #3. Move toward Beta and resolve EFI before
Thanks to everyone for their input! 

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