Legacy BIOS Support Remains Important For Some On Fedora, May Shift Responsibility To SIG

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 18 April 2022 at 06:30 AM EDT. 37 Comments
Earlier this month the change proposal was laid out for Fedora 37 looking to deprecate legacy BIOS support. That kicked the hornets nest with many Fedora users expressing their desire to see Fedora legacy BIOS support continue whether it be for running the Linux distribution on dated hardware or even just for VMs without UEFI boot. It's looking more like that responsibility of legacy BIOS support may instead be shifted to a new special interest group (SIG) to take up the work of maintaining and testing that pre-UEFI boot support.

That original Fedora mailing list discussion was very active as were the vibrant discussions within our forums and elsewhere over the prospects of Fedora later this year abandoning legacy BIOS boot support.

With there being many adamant for Fedora legacy BIOS support while the likes of Red Hat clearly looking to reduce their support burden and focus more on hardware released in the past decade. Rather than gutting out legacy BIOS support right away, it may lead to the creation of a new Fedora Special Interest Group (SIG) that would be tasked with maintaining and testing future Fedora releases with legacy BIOS compatibility.

Started last week was another Fedora thread over whether a video call should be scheduled to further debate the legacy BIOS deprecation proposal. As summed up in there, a Fedora SIG may make sense where those interested in the legacy BIOS support would be left to handle the bug reports on BugZilla pertaining to any regressions, regular testing of current and forthcoming Fedora releases for verifying legacy BIOS support, and working on related legacy BIOS packaging - especially if the BIOS boot GRUB support is shifted to a separate package(s).

Is it time for Fedora and other Linux distributions to focus less resources on legacy BIOS support?

If/when the SIG stops actively maintaining the legacy BIOS support, Fedora would then move to officially retire legacy BIOS support. Similar SIGs have been worked on in the past such as around x86 32-bit support albeit interest wanes over time and ultimately leads then to the retirement of said features.

We'll see what happens with the Fedora legacy BIOS support discussion over the coming weeks and if such a SIG does form and most importantly how many of those vocal legacy BIOS users step up to help maintain it.
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