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    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...

    So, my work for Wheezy gave us working amd64 UEFI installer images. Yay! Except: there were a few bugs that remained, and also places where we could deal better with some of the more crappy UEFI implementations out there. But, things have improve since then and we should be better for Jessie in quite a few ways.

    First of all, Colin and the other Grub developers have continued working hard and quite a lot of the old bugs in this area look to be fixed. I'm hoping we're not going to see so many "UEFI boot gives me a blank black screen" type of problems now.

    For those poor unfortunates with Windows 7 on their machines, using BIOS boot despite having UEFI support in their hardware, I've fixed a long-standing bug (#763127) that could leave people with broken systems, unable to dual boot.

    We've fixed a silly potential permissions bug in how the EFI System Partition is mounted: (#770033).

    Next up, I'm hoping to add a workaround for some of the broken UEFI implementations, by adding support in our Grub packages (and in d-i) for forcing the installation of a copy of grub-efi in the removable media path. See #746662 for more of the details. It's horrid to be doing this, but it's just about the best thing we can do to support people with broken firmware.

    Finally, I've been getting lots of requests for adding i386 (32-bit x86) UEFI support in our official images. Back in the Wheezy development cycle, I had test images that worked on i386, but decided not to push that support into the release. There were worries about potentially critical bugs that could be tickled on some hardware, plus there were only very few known i386 UEFI platforms at the time; the risk of damage outweighed the small proportion of users, IMHO. However, I'm now revisiting that decision. The potentially broken machines are now 2 years older, and so less likely to be in use. Also, Intel have released some horrid platform concoction around the Bay Trail CPU: a 64-bit CPU (that really wants a 64-bit kernel), but running a 32-bit UEFI firmware with no BIOS Compatibility Mode. Recent kernels are able to cope with this mess, but at the moment there is no sensible way to install Debian on such a machine. I'm hoping to fix that next (#768461). It's going to be awkward again, needing changes in several places too.

    You can help! Same as 2 years ago, I'll need help testing some of these images. Particularly for the 32-bit UEFI support, I currently have no relevant hardware myself. That's not going to make it easy... :-/

    I'll start pushing unofficial Jessie EFI test images shortly.

    22:59 :: # :: /debian/CDs :: 13 comments


    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Andy Cater wrote on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:40

    _Promise_ this won't brick my laptop?

    Of course I'll help.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Kurt Ã…rdal wrote on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:36

    Really looking forward to this :)

    I'm on a Dell XPS 15 (9530) with a ssd, and trying to get win 8.1 and linux to dualboot :D And be able to use debian is just a plus :D

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Coucouf wrote on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:57

    Hi, did a successful install of Jessie on an Ivy Bridge XPS13, with practically zero problem once I understood how to boot the USB installer in UEFI mode. Soo, good job I guess ! :-)

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Molloy wrote on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:26

    Hi Steve,

    I've been researching how to put Debian on the Asus X205TA that I purchased yesterday, so this blog post is rather timely! I'd love to help test your 32-bit UEFI image and I truly appreciate that you're working towards a fix.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    pint wrote on Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:38

    I also bought an x205TA and failed to install several linux distros due to lack of 32bit EFI support.

    I was able to boot into a liveusb using a guide to add 32bit EFI to the usb in the /EFI/ folder but it is unable to set up 32bit EFI booting correctly during installation.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    lachlan wrote on Sun, 23 Nov 2014 02:26

    I have a few hundred atom laptops (Acer iconia w510) that are x86 only, even getting pxe running on this correctly was annoying.

    I'd be happy to brick a few of those testing the installer. The amd64 support in wheezy was probably the most exciting new feature for me.

    I have access to images of win 7-8.1 as well if dual bbooting needs testing.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    jba wrote on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 08:33

    I also have the asus x205 and would love to be able to install linux on it. Until now, any try failed. Even the live-distros didnt boot.

    @pint: which live-usb did you use?


    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Glen Turner wrote on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:24

    I have a MacBook 2,1 and getting EFI32 booting a 64-bit Linux has been "interesting".

    Just putting grub-efi32 on the 64-bit installer image would make a huge difference, as then you could boot from 32-bit Refind and then select the 32-bit Grub to boot, and it would load the 64-bit kernel. Then you could use Refind again to boot from the installed disk and clean up the mess.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    jba wrote on Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:33

    Just found a page, that describes howto install ubuntu un tzhe x205: Could we do the 'same' with debian? And, Steve did you use the same approach?


    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Mathias wrote on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:24

    I am desperately looking for updated debian CDs with this EFI support. I got three older MacPros with 64bit Processor but 32bit EFI. On the newest of these MacPros the mixed-wheezy Image booted fine in 64bit and I was able to install DEBIAN with it. However the two older machines had some kernel problems with this wheezy kernel (3.2) and during booting the usb devices got shut down - so no installation possible (without keyboard or mouse). Your test images were the only images which booted in EFI mode which seems to be necessary to install the grub EFI bootloader...

    So please push or send an updated image - I'll be happy to test...


    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    fear_factory84 wrote on Tue, 30 Dec 2014 10:05

    I have an asus t100, 32 bit uefi only, and 64 bit atom baytrail processor. If you want to find some more people with 32 bit uefis take a look at Fedlet: It's a modified fedora with 32 bit uefi to work on bay trail tablets/hybrids.

    Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
    Tiago Daitx wrote on Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:34

    I run into a similar problem to Mathias while trying to get Debian up and running in a mid-2007 MacMini (AKA MB139LL/A or Macmini2,1). As the superdrive was busted, the only way was to boot from USB, but I couldn't find a distro that worked. rEFIt/rEFInd were unable to boot from USB (tried a few dongles) in legacy BIOS mode and no installer was being detected on the UEFI boot screen (ie. hold Option on boot).

    Your image was found right away and worked wonders! Thank you very much! I had already spend most of the weekend trying to get the darn thing to boot and was already moving to a PXE boot (it is a painful road to netboot Linux into a Mac from a Linux server).

      Re: Re: UEFI Debian CDs for Jessie...
      Tiago Daitx wrote on Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:37

      Forgot to say that I used the debian-jessie-UEFI-testing-netinst-i386-amd64-build3.iso


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