UEFI is the new DOS

As I was doing some reading about UEFI emulation on BIOS systems, I came across this interesting link: http://www.multiboot.ru/DUET.htm. In essence, that the linked page says, is that UEFI is essentially a clone of DOS. I'm inclined to agree.

This is why: the page elaborates and compares how (from end-user's perspective) they are essentially the same: there is a kernel (UEFI TSL and UEFI RT [explanation here]), there is a command line interpreter (shellx64.efi); there is a standard executable binary format (.efi files, which is some sort of flat-mode PE/COFF [details here]), there is a system library you can link to to build your own binaries (EDK - UEFI Dev Kit c.f. libc); and the fact that an .efi binary can do anything that you want it to do, just like a DOS program can. UEFI provider kernel-like services like handling input devices, manages text and graphical displays, manages filesystem (FAT32 - the successor to DOS' original filesystem of FAT). The shell is single-user just like COMMAND.COM. You can even extend its capability by installing "drivers" - filesystem drivers, network drivers, what what you. A 64-bit DOS with support for all modern hardware, here we come. What's not to like?

If your system comes with BIOS, you can run UEFI firmware using DUET (Developers' UEFI Environment). DUET is basically UEFI firmware on a disk (or flash drive, or optical drive) that you can "boot" from your BIOS. Rod Smith (the author of rEFInd, popular UEFI boot manager) wrote about it here. Once booted, DUET takes over the system and the whole system now acts as if it has an UEFI firmware. You can boot your UEFI-capable OS with it, or you can run shellx64.efi - welcome to UEFI DOS.

If your system already comes with UEFI firmware in ROM - that's the equivalent of having ROM DOS. Rejoice!

Posted on 30 Apr 2016, 03:18 - Categories: General
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