Fedora Plans to Remove Legacy BIOS Support in the Future

Fedora Plans to Drop Support for Legacy BIOS Systems

The Fedora 37 development team is considering dropping support for non-UEFI BIOS.

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, or UEFI, is a modern method of handling the boot process. UEFI is similar to Legacy; however, the boot data is stored in a .efi file rather than the firmware.

In the case of Fedora, while the change may take some time, the new Fedora x86_64 installations will no longer work on non-UEFI platforms.

On x86_64 architectures, Fedora 37 will mark legacy BIOS installation as deprecated in favor of UEFI. While systems already using Legacy BIOS to boot will continue to be supported, new Legacy BIOS installations on these architectures will be impossible.

Legacy BIOS

Many desirable features require UEFI, such as applying firmware updates (fwupd) and supporting SecureBoot. A stand-alone change reduces the support burden on everyone involved in Fedora installation because there will now be only one way to do it per platform.

On top of that, because it only has to boot one way per arch, it simplifies the Fedora install/live media.

So, the idea isn’t that removing BIOS support directly improves UEFI. However, using BIOS imposes a slew of ancient, strange conventions requiring hacks or other complex code to maintain feature parity with UEFI.

Many of these hacks are mature, but they are still additional code paths that must be maintained.

A versioned standard defines UEFI, against which it can be tested and certified. On the other hand, each legacy BIOS is one-of-a-kind. As a result, the legacy BIOS is widely regarded as obsolete and on its way out.

Maintainability has declined as it has aged, and the current status quo of maintaining both stacks in perpetuity is no longer viable for those doing that work.

Here’s a summary of the advantages of UEFI over a legacy BIOS.

Legacy BIOS UEFI
User interface Legacy Boot mode is traditional and very basic. Provides a better User interface.
Partitioning scheme Uses the MBR partition scheme. Uses the GPT partitioning scheme.
Boot time Slower boot time compared to UEFI. Provides faster boot time.
Storage support Supports up to 2 TB storage devices. Support up to 9 zettabytes of storage devices
Secure boot It lacks a secure boot method, allowing unauthorized applications to be loaded. It allows a secure boot that prevents the loading of unauthorized applications.
Update process The update process is more complex compared to UEFI. A more straightforward update process.

So, as you can see, the advantages of UEFI over Legacy BIOS are pretty significant.

At the same time, many people have already commented on having active and usable computers only supporting BIOS and not UEFI. So, of course, the Fedora systems currently using Legacy BIOS for booting on x86_64 will continue to do so.

However, keep in mind that the Legacy BIOS support will be removed entirely in the future Fedora versions.

For more information, we recommend that you consult the official Fedora announcement.

6 Comments

  1. I’ve two relics devices with legacy bios that works well with linux.
    Uefi came around 2011 time fly.
    With the new windows 11 restriction, there is a lot of functionning devices going into relics.
    Lot of changes.

  2. Seems Fedora are going the Microsoft route with their hardware requirements before installation, and because of this users will jump ship to other distro’s that still support bios. Many good machines use bios including older servers which are important for use.

  3. Another plug for Microsoft! Just like its parent Red Hat, Fedora is following the same road to destruction. Whoever uses Linux does not need UEFI. Without legacy Bios it would be difficult for me to use Linux. Windows died more than 10 years ago in my book. Who needs it and who needs UEFI?

  4. First of all, let me get something straight. This is a proposal, and there is a chance that it may be rejected. And if you’d do a little bit of looking at history, you would’ve seen this proposed before & got turned down. Besides, maintaining code for old hardware is not easy, and may require external community contribution. Anyone can bitch & moan but who can put in work?

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