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Using Linux for UEFI Development

There are many folks in the UEFI community using Linux as their main dev machines. This guide is focused on setting up Linux for UEFI development. This guide also uses Visual Studio Code as it has fantastic capabilities that makes working in Linux much easier. Any IDE or editor is usable for UEFI development. It also explains how to use WSL to setup Linux in a Windows environment. So if you have a Linux machine, you can follow the later half of this guide to skip setting up WSL.

For reference, this tutorial was written for a 1903 version of Windows with WSL.

Getting Started with WSL

The best documentation at time of writing can be found:

Following the guide, we need to check the minimum version requirements. Check the document as mentioned to find the Windows version needed for WSL.

Install the optional windows components through PowerShell. These commands may change, so check the document. But the commands to run in an Admin PowerShell window were these:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform

You might need to reboot to fully enable the WSL subsystem. Once you are rebooted, we can setup our distro. We are using Ubuntu-22.04 LTS. We now need to set it to use WSLv2. You use either of these commands

wsl --set-default-version 2

This will set the default WSL environment as version 2. Or you can set a specific distro to be version 2.

wsl --set-version Ubuntu-22.04 2

This will take a few minutes. As it converts the distro to WSLv2. You can check to make sure the conversion was successful.

wsl --list --verbose

You should see something like this:

 NAME            STATE           VERSION
* Ubuntu-22.04    Stopped         2

Starting your WSL Environment

Starting your new environment is easy. Open the Ubuntu-22.04 app in your start menu or type wsl into the command window (note that this will launch your default instance, which may not be Ubuntu-22.04 if you have multiple environments installed).

When you first start the environment, it will do initial first time setup that may take a few minutes. It will prompt you for a new username and password. This can be unique from your windows username and password.

Setting up Git

As of Ubuntu-22.04, the provided git version does not meet the requirements of edk2-pytool-extensions including the latest version when performing a apt update / apt install git. The following steps will need to be completed to install git to the required version:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:git-core/ppa
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install git

Setting up NuGet/Mono

If you use the external dependency features of pytools, you'll need to update your mono to support NuGet on Linux. This applies to all Linux users, WSL or native.

See more information in the using_extdep document here.

Setting up other tools

You'll need python3 (See your version of edk2-pytool-extensions for the exact version of python3), which on Ubuntu-22.04 python 3.10 comes default. Pip comes separatel'y, so that will be need to be installed.

Visual Studio code makes developing in WSL much easier. This guide here is pretty informative:

Install Visual Studio Code in your windows environment. Then install the Remote Development VS Code extension.

You should see the installation of the VS Code server if you are doing this for the first time. If you don't see it, make sure your extension is installed properly.

Navigate to the folder you want to use in your WSL terminal and then run code

cd my_project_folder
code .

You can use your VS Code editor just like you're editing locally. Opening a terminal in VS Code opens a WSL window, which makes executing commands within the Linux environment easier.

Alternatively, you can use any IDE or editor that's effective for you.


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave an issue on our GitHub repo here