RE: Footnote #4, "There's nothing standing between EFI and EMACS except a C library and a port of readline. This probably just goes to show something, but I'm sure I don't know what."
It goes to show that we should jump to the Linux kernel much much earlier in the boot process. Modern SoCs like TI's OMAP have a configuration header that you can append to your binary (Linux kernel) to skip the whole boot loader issue entirely.
There have been real implementations of this on OMAP where the usual U-boot has been removed entirely; at power on ROM code parses the CH, then *boom* kernel decompression and party time.
I know other platforms can do similar stuff, and I also know that x86 is a world away from ARM SoCs... but still I can't help but think that BIOS, EFI, OpenFirmware, etc are all starting to sound a bit archaic.