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UEFI On Linux Is Like A Pathogen

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  • #21
    Would be nice if some smart people would come up with a solid reference design for a Coreboot based motherboard that plays nice with Windows and Linux as well as any other OS you want to throw at it. Such a board would sell quite well if its quality at a good price point and that runs rings around the MS-controlled hardware. A board like this can even be made by an indie mobo maker

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    • #22
      My experience was if I let Linux (OpenSuSE 11.4, various Ubuntu, Fedora 15/16) or WIndows handle the disk automagically then everything was fine as long as it was a single-boot install.

      Dual boot Windows + Linux just did not work. I got pretty deep into it - I could manually install either, but not both.

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      • #23
        Just add a /boot/grub/custom.cfg (if it is sourced by default) with a content like:
        Code:
        if search -nf /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/BOOTMGR.EFI ; then
          menuentry 'Microsoft Bootmgr' {
            search -sf /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/BOOTMGR.EFI
            chainloader /EFI/Boot/BOOTX64.EFI                                                                                                                                          
        fi
        Then you can boot win directly from grub (even if win is on another hd!).
        Last edited by Kano; 09 April 2012, 02:50 PM.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Kano View Post
          Just add a /boot/grub/custom.cfg (if it is sourced by default) with a content like:
          Code:
          if search -nf /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/BOOTMGR.EFI ; then
            menuentry 'Microsoft Bootmgr' {
              search -sf /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/BOOTMGR.EFI
              chainloader /EFI/Boot/BOOTX64.EFI                                                                                                                                          
          fi
          Then you can boot win directly from grub (even if win is on another hd!).
          Very neat, thanks Kano! I'll give a try.

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          • #25
            ARM is worse

            Originally posted by speculatrix View Post
            I am thus fairly concerned that it won't be long before BIOSs will only understand UEFI and GPT, and be so locked down so much that the average person won't have any choice in the OS they run. It will also be very difficult for third party tools for making and reproducing OS images, like Acronis, to function effectively at all. Hopefully ARM-based systems will have caught up sufficiently and not have the same lock down?
            Actually ARM is worse. First ARM is way much less standarized than x86.
            Second, to get certified for the Windows 8 Logo on ARM the motherboard must have SecureBoot enabled with no way of disabling it.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by uid313 View Post
              2214 page specification?
              what the fuck?
              Yep... everything you need to know about the spec, right there in the page count. What odds that *anyone* has actually read the entire thing?

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              • #27
                @Qaridarium

                First of all the BIOS MBR boot code does not support larger hds than 2 tb. You can partition your drive and use it with Linux anyway but you need to boot from below 2 tb. But thats definitely a stupid hack. EFI is definitely not straight forward to use and you can definitely brick some systems using efibootmgr (you should be really careful not to try this with a mac, better use bless). But I do not get why you love BIOS booting so much...

                The whole secure boot thingy does not matter at all for x86 and who really needs to buy Win8 arm systems to put Linux on it? You can buy those devices preloaded with Linux or Android anyway.

                I find it very interesting to play with EFI and found already a bug that prevented booting from a fat partition with EFI label. This usually happens ONLY when the label is set directly on format, then you have got a fat entry with EFI name before the EFI directory entry. And believe it or not, i have got a system that does not find the EFI directory in that case because it does not check for the directory flag...

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                • #28
                  It is completely outdated to use boot partitions. grub2 has got even raid support. If you use a partition for /home it would be more logical. But your 8/128 gb bios bugs should not happen with efi (even in the high tb range). First of all it does not only solve the 2tb boot problem. When you start the efi shell (some boards have it included, most can run it from usb) you have got a dos like interface including text/hexeditor. You can start efi apps just like running dos executeables (identified by .efi extension), just you use fs0: or fs1: and so on instead of a: or b:. It is just like a mini os and has got scripting features. You can try that with vbox in efi mode as well when you don't have got a new board. Basically all 2012 launched boards should have got full efi support. Before some vendors like gigabyte really ductaped an uefi addon onto an old bios - but even there beginning with the intel 7 series the boards should be using native uefi. I do not own amd boards, but most likely there is uefi as well. It seems you have got wet dreams of good old bios systems, but the remaining ones without uefi support are just legacy hardware today. Also you are NOT forced to use uefi mode, basically every board has got a bios emulation layer on top. This is called CSM or Compatibility Support Module and allows you to boot from your old hds/dvds. The problem is however if you use that mode you don't have got access to uefi features. You can for example add a boot entry called "Qaridarium OS" which you could select as boot choice. I did not try the Linux 3.3 feature yet to add an efi stub to the kernel, but most likely you could boot without grub as well (your kernel should not need an initrd of course). There are lots of things you can try with it, so just do it instead of praising some legacy system that was invented 1981...

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                  • #29
                    I never heard about breaking desktop systems with efi. There you can use cmos clear if needed - thats usually a bit complicated with mobile systems but most likely not impossible. Btw. i found a video with direct linux 3.3 boot:

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi_XZocjoIA

                    I definitely will try that as you dont need the time to load grub. Best get rid of your old amd hardware - an opteron system with 128 gb bug must be a real joke.

                    Btw. coreboot pure does nothing useful, you always need a payload. The payload could be a linux kernel of course but would be a bit stupid to flash it all the time for every bios update. Other payloads could be grub2, seabios and others:

                    http://www.coreboot.org/Payloads

                    But i doubt that you can use coreboot on YOUR funny amd systems. It seems to be more likely that you can use it with snb/ivb systems. If your chipset is really supported then flash it! But get replacement chips before. Btw. it was not fully correct that i do not own amd hardware at all, i have got an old Athlon XP system with sis chipset. Coreboot does not support this chipset, but Flashrom does, pretty useful as testbed for hotswap bios flash and bios mods. For Asrock K7S41GX i made several mods like:

                    * iPXE instead of Intel PXE - which is even so bad that a chainload to iPXE fails...
                    * Plop instead of Intel PXE - the board itself only supports superfloppy format to boot from usb, but i prefer usb hd/key
                    * Via Raid Option ROM added - you can combine that with Plop as there was enough free space after removing the VGA rom - needed to boot from sata harddisks from a controller WITHOUT flash chip

                    But most likely you never did a hotflash, replaced a flash chip, used flashrom and coreboot you only know the name but did absolutely nothing with it. You can play with coreboot using kvm/qemu as well - you dont have to buy hardware. For beginners: you can flash of course iPXE or Plop onto nics as well, tried that with a 3c905 pci card with flash chip (about 4€ used). In order to activate it disable onboard lan, but enable lan boot...

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by blacknova View Post
                      The only linux distro I were able painlessly install on UEFI is Fedora 16. Ubuntu and Arch just plainly failed to install correct boot loader.
                      Win 7 64 installed flawlessly, which were pretty much surprising given that it have been out for 2 years already (at the date of installation).
                      Most Linux distros ignored possibility of UEFI install though.
                      Frankly, I wouldn't guarantee a trouble-free UEFI install with any distro, including Fedora. We more or less work on quite a lot of UEFI implementations. With a following wind, and a favourable moon. It's just too new, too complex and too fragile (see Matt's slides...) for things to be otherwise.

                      grub2 is *terrible* at UEFI, which is a bit of a problem. Fedora still uses grub for UEFI installs.

                      Macs tend to have quite incredibly poor UEFI implementations; they're significantly more difficult to get working than most PC UEFI implementations.

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