Systemd Lands Support For "XBOOTLDR" Extended Boot Loader
Written by Michael Larabel in systemd on 1 March 2019 at 10:11 AM EST. 81 Comments
Systemd has just merged support for the "Extended Boot Loader" partition, a.k.a. "XBOOTLDR", that is their bootloader specification they hope will allow Linux distribution vendors to better support dual/multi-boot setups.

XBOOTLDR is an alternative to the conventional EFI System Partition (ESP) for storing system boot information for bringing up an operating system. Their specification tries to make Linux system booting more robust, better handle multiple operating systems on a single disk, drop-in directory handling to avoid potentially clashing with another OS, and better unified support. This is an alternative or somewhat complementary to EFI boot menu logic.

The XBOOTLDR support in systemd includes the necessary sd-boot support, bootctl support for being able to list now ESPs and XBOOTLDRs, the systemd-gpt-auto-generator can now deal with XBOOTLDR partitions, and other bits.

This systemd Extended Boot Loader specification is outlined here -- it spells everything out why this spec was created and the shortcomings from the minds of systemd developers in the UEFI boot logic.
TL;DR: Currently there’s little cooperation between multiple distributions in dual-boot (or triple, … multi-boot) setups, and we’d like to improve this situation by getting everybody to commit to a single boot configuration format that is based on drop-in files, and thus is robust, simple, works without rewriting configuration files and is free of namespace clashes.

Implementing their specification tacked on just under two thousand lines of code to systemd as of this commit. That commit, Lennart Poettering says, implements "100%" of the specification.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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