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I've been struggling with some servers that have what appear to be less than optimal UEFI implementations for booting operating systems other than Windows Server. It struggles when booting Linux distributions such as Unraid and TrueNAS SCALE, etc.

I'm familiar with options such as OpenCore, GRUB, Limine, and rEFInd, and a few others that seem to specialize for embedded applications, but I've not found a silver bullet yet that has solid OS/kernel autodetection and just seems to work everywhere. I have in mind that it would be nice to keep a number of identical USB2 flash drives that seem to reliably boot to a good UEFI implementation that can autodetect and facilitate selection of any OS (and remember a selection once selected similar to OpenCore's control-enter function).

Are there any other options that might be particularly noteworthy and accomplish my desired goal?

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  • Reading between the lines: Do you want to boot different images off an USB stick (as you mention USB Flash drives to boot from) – or are you looking for a "fixed installation" on hard disk?
    – Izzy
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 17:39
  • Well, ideally I'd like to boot anything on any drive either internal SATA drives or OTHER USB drives that are inserted. OpenCore does this rather elegantly and I think rEFInd might also do this, but I've not gotten either of these to work on an older UEFI 2.1 implementation from a Dell server yet and so I'm looking to stabilize selection with a boot manager that 100% reliably loads and/or gives more details and debugging options. It would be nice to have such a boot tool around when one manages a lot of workstations and servers and is involved with various scenarios of booting needs.
    – ylluminate
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 21:58
  • Ah, OK – then I'm out. I just discovered Venty a while ago, which works excellently on USB sticks: flash the stick once, then simply copy all your image files to it (just copy, no flashing). Boot from the stick and find them neatly listed in a boot menu :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 19:34
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    Yeah Ventoy is really cool/useful @Izzy, but it doesn't really do what is needed here. It DOES work on the UEFI installer boot front though, just not a long term replacement.
    – ylluminate
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 0:10

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