Steve's blog

Steve About
Steve's blog,
The Words of the Sledge

Subscribe to the RSS feed.


  • Home
  • Debian
  • PlanetDebian
  • Search PlanetDebian
  • Friends

  • Matthew Garrett
  • Jonathan McDowell
  • Jo McIntyre
  • Martin Michlmayr
  • Andrew Mobbs
  • Mike Pitt
  • Daniel Silverstone
  • Andy Simpkins
  • Neil Williams


    Sunday, 11 January 2015

    UEFI Debian installer work for Jessie, part 5

    Time for another update on my work for UEFI improvements in Jessie!

    I've spent more time on the integration of 32-bit grub-efi with a 64-bit Debian system, and just published a new test image on pettersson. I've added:

    • a patch to the Linux kernel to add a new /sys file which exposes the size of the underlying UEFI platform (32- or 64-bit).
    • a patch to grub2 to read that new /sys file in grub-install to determine the right version of grub-efi to install by default
    • a patch to grub-installer to do similar

    These remove the manual steps that were necessary for a 64-bit installation with the previous build. I've just used this exact image (and a network mirror) to install a fully-functional 64-bit Gnome system on the X205TA, simply by selecting "64-bit install" from the GRUB menu and following prompts. Yay! Visit to download and test the image.

    Now, there's no guarantee that the kernel patch I've submitted to the linux-efi folks will be accepted in its current form, and even if it is I'll have to get it and the other code I've written accepted into the various packages and then into Jessie! But for now this image should work just fine for Bay Trail folks I hope!

    WARNING: this CD is provided for testing only. Use at your own risk! If you have appropriate (U)EFI hardware, please try this image and let me know how you get on, via the debian-cd and debian-boot mailing lists.

    For now, I'm going to pause development here. The core code I'm using to make these images is all in the debian-cd and d-i repos, and I'll push the other patches once I know they'll work with the kernel. But I've got a slew of other things that I need to work on in the next few weeks, in no particular order:

    • RC bugs filed against abcde
    • Sorting out Mac-only 32-bit netinst images (only EFI boot? without EFI?)
    • Regular openstack image generation for Jessie
    • Regular debian-live image generation for Jessie
    • ...

    I'm currently not planning to make all of Debian's amd64 images bootable using 32-bit UEFI like this image - I'm happy to leave this as just an option for our multi-arch i386/amd64 images (netinst or DVD only). I think that's a reasonable compromise here, and it's also the easiest thing for me to do with the current debian-cd build system.

    Finally, apologies if you've asked me questions about the earlier images in this series and I've not responded yet. Fixing that ASAP!

    02:49 :: # :: /debian/CDs :: 22 comments


      Re: Re: UEFI Debian installer work for Jessie, part 5
      Bailey wrote on Fri, 16 Oct 2015 08:10


      Thank you so much for dealing with this 32-bit EFI situation.

      Yesterday, I bought a Bay Trail system (Zotac Zbox PI320 Pico) to replace a headless Raspberry Pi server. I bought it on a whim without researching the Linux situation first.

      I booted multi arch netinst (from and installed 64-bit Jessie on it. I too then got stuck at the "Loading initial ramdisk" message and couldn't ping the server.

      It turns out that if, before booting, I went into the Zotac bios and exited, then the system wouldn't get stuck on "Loading initial ramdisk".

      I re-installed with 32-bit Jessie, and it doesn't get stuck at all.

      It's a headless server, and all I really care about working are storage and ethernet. But as far as I can tell, everything is working perfectly now.

      I do think it would be nice to have 32-bit EFI support in a Debian live image. It think it would be good to have around for backing up or repairing the system if needed.

      I managed to get an Ubuntu 15.04 64-bit live image to boot (after copying bootia32.efi from into the EFI/Boot directory on the usb drive), and I used Ubuntu live to back up the mmc drive before istalling Debian.

      BTW, as far as I can tell, it still isn't possible to install Ubuntu on my device withtout a lot of post-install work to deal with the 32-bit EFI issue.

      I pefer to run Debian anwyay.

      Thanks again for making it possible to run Debian on my new server.



    Your Comment

    URL/Email: [http://... or mailto:you@wherever] (optional)
    Title: (optional)
    Anti-spam:Select the second of the following words and enter it in the "Human" box
    avidly avionics abounds absorb accelerate accosted accuser acidify actress adamantly
    Save my Name and URL/Email for next time