Here is the interview we conducted with our latest Project of the Month winner, Clover EFI Bootloader (CEFIB). The community has picked a pretty interesting project in this one.
SF: Tell me about the Clover EFI bootloader project please…
CEFIB: Clover is a graphical boot loader that can run on both (U)EFI and legacy firmwares. It can auto-detect (U)EFI and legacy installations of Windows, Mac OS X, multiple flavors of Linux, and tools, such as the EFI shell. There is also the ability for custom entries and tools. Theming is another feature which is currently expanding and producing some very nice animated menus, thanks to some dedicated users. Clover also has the ability to expand OEM firmware capabilities with EFI drivers which makes it quite powerful and universal.
SF: What made you start this?
CEFIB: It started as a more future proof Mac OS X boot loader and evolved into more than that out of necessity and want to remove multiple chain loads, which shortens boot times and reduces the risk of failure.
SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
CEFIB: Yes the project is becoming quite mature and we’re starting to add features that catch the eye instead of perform a vital function, but we still haven’t lost the focus either!
SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?
CEFIB: Anyone who boots multiple operating systems can benefit from Clover, or anyone who might want a themeable and powerful graphical boot loader.
SF: What is the need for this particular bootloader?
CEFIB: One thing that sets Clover aside from other boot loaders is that it can natively run Mac OS X on PC hardware.
SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using Clover EFI bootloader?
CEFIB: By trying it out!
SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?
CEFIB: We try to communicate with our user base as much as possible and solve any issues they might have quickly. Whether it’s by adding features, fixing bugs, or just helping them configure or understand what’s happening during parts of the boot process.
SF: Do you all follow the release early release often (RERO) model?
CEFIB: We try to release any time a new feature or bug fix is out, there are also tools out there that help build the source from the repository. As often as possible while still trying to maintain a stable pathway through the releases.
SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?
CEFIB: I’m not sure, sometimes we find new users with issues who are using ancient versions, although I’d like to think it does.
SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?
CEFIB: Just getting it started and out there.
SF: What helped make that happen?
CEFIB: Slice (not sure he wants his real name out there) and that other boot loaders development seemed to be dying or already dead.
SF: What was the net result for that event?
CEFIB: Lots and lots and lots of time reading debug output, lol, and eventually a great boot loader!
SF: What is the next big thing for Clover EFI bootloader?
CEFIB: There are a few things that some users would like to see such as secure boot and implementing firmware features that are not present like target disk mode and file vault.
SF: How long do you think that will take?
CEFIB: Hopefully not long, lol.
SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?
CEFIB: Ingenuity, and discussion amongst the community usually gets it done!
SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for Clover EFI bootloader?
CEFIB: I think everyone working on the project would probably say something different here, but I’m going to say that I wish the GUI was written from scratch instead of using rEFIt as a base.
CEFIB: It’s just not sufficient for multicore cpus that could be using one core for system actions and another for graphics. This would allow for more seamless graphical operation and animation of entries as they are found, like usb disks.
SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?
CEFIB: It’s definitely possible but I think that may be a large undertaking at this point and may not have the reward to cost ratio that would merit it.
SF: Is there anything else we should know?
CEFIB: We hope that everyone finds our project useful and uses it! You can also visit projectosx.com, insanelymac.com‘s clover topics, and of course source forge for help, feature requests, or just to talk about Clover. Thanks!