This simulated command-line prompt shows how I came to know EFI — UEFI to be more precise.
Oh. Lost you already, huh? Let’s back up a bit…
What makes distro-hopping so easy for Linux users is the basic input/output system (BIOS) on built-for-Windows PCs which, among other things, allows the user to boot from an external source via a simple text menu.
Apparently some motherboard manufacturers are replacing BIOS with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) — like ASUS, who made the one on the custom-built PC I recently purchased. I honestly didn’t even know I had it until a botched Ubuntu upgrade yielded that screen you see above.
You can read this link for a good primer on the key differences between UEFI and BIOS. For me the differences have so far amounted to this:
… An extra 20MB FAT partition on my main hard drive, mounted at ‘/boot/efi’. That, and the ability to change my startup device from the
BIOS UEFI menu using my mouse.
Other than that, powering up doesn’t seem any faster. In fact, my system seems a bit less stable overall. Though possibly unrelated, my boot screen is borked and something repeatedly locks up my machine when I attempt to restart it (shutdown is fine).
On the plus side, I’ve gained a bit of knowledge that will hopefully come in handy when my girlfriend finally lets me put Ubuntu on her MacBook. But until that day comes I must confess that the benefits of UEFI are largely lost on me.
Am I missing something here?