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#1 2011-10-11 07:02:17

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

Hi all, I installed Arch about a week or so ago on my new laptop big_smile (thinkpad t420s) and I just read about the UEFI BIOS and it sounded cool to me, altough when I installed Arch I didnt know my laptop had UEFI capabilities.

So I used the same method (the one that worked for me last time) as I did on my old laptop. Ended up with no UEFI partition + grub-legacy. Which leads me to think a lot of work (dangerous work) needs to be done in order to get this working. So here is my question:

Is it worth the work? I read on the Archwiki about UEFI but didnt find any advantages. Does the laptop boot faster? is it more resilient to failures? what advantages can you mention?

Also a separate question, why if Arch is a bleeding edge distro it keeps installing grub-legacy? why not Grub2 right away? it seems for me it defies Arch Philosophy...just wondering

Thanks for the help


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#2 2011-10-11 09:13:19

caligo
Member
From: Stockholm
Registered: 2010-01-10
Posts: 76

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

UEFI provides some useful features, but nothing that exceptional. For me at least, it doesn't seem to be worth the effort. When I built a new computer recently I tried to make an UEFI install at first, but I  failed miserably and just went with the legacy BIOS. The main problem is that the official installer does not support UEFI that well. Not just because of grub-legacy being the default bootloader, but also because there's no way to create a GPT partition table with fdisk. As more and more motherboards will ship without support for legacy BIOS, I guess this will eventually be remedied.

As for the grub-legacy vs. grub2 discussion, there are a ton of threads in the TGN section on that very subject. Many people feel that grub2 adds a lot of complexity without that many benefits, thereby being less in line with the Arch way and KISS principle. Arch isn't the only distro that has decied to stick with grub-legacy -- for example, if I'm not entirely mistaken Fedora chose to add UEFI support to  grub-legacy through a patch of their own rather than switching to grub2. My personal opinion is that the installer should at least provide a choice between the two from the start instead of having me opting not to install a bootloader and then installing grub2 manually, but that's just my .02$.

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#3 2011-10-11 20:29:11

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

caligo, thanks for your insights, well I wont have the same issues as you because I wont use the Arch installer, my system is already setup and I would try the move without restarting the comp, that is:

- boot into gparted live cd and create the uefi partition
- boot into Arch and install grub2
- convert from mbr table to gpt
- reinstall grub2 with uefi capabilities
- pray for the system not to bake big_smile

Will that work?

also I just found this:

The interface defined by the EFI specification includes data tables that contain platform information, and boot and runtime services that are available to the OS loader and OS. UEFI firmware provides several technical advantages:[9]
Ability to boot from large disks (over 2 TiB)
Faster boot-up
CPU-independent architecture
CPU-independent drivers
Flexible pre-OS environment, including network capability
Modular design
Some existing enhancements to PC BIOS, such as the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and System Management BIOS (SMBIOS), are also present in EFI, as they do not rely on a 16-bit runtime interface.

So, it DOES decrease bootup times, the question now will be, how quick will it boot compared to my current setup, I have an SSD disk and my current Arch install boots in about 10 secs to login prompt.


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#4 2011-10-11 22:59:08

caligo
Member
From: Stockholm
Registered: 2010-01-10
Posts: 76

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

Sounds like a reasonable approach. In fact, I might actually try something similar when I get the time. When I first installed my system I just wanted to get it up and running, but it's kind of annoying knowing that I don't use the full potential of my hardware. The practical difference might be minimal, but it's the principle that counts. wink

And there are indeed a lot of theoretical benefits, but at the moment I don't know what real-life difference it would make. Do they even make hard drives bigger than 2 TB? Being able to launch e.g. diagnostic tools that are independent of the OS is a quite neat possibility I guess, and I think my motherboard UEFI has some quite useful features for people interested in overclocking etc.

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#5 2011-10-11 23:21:46

dhave
Arch Linux f@h Team Member
From: Outside the matrix.
Registered: 2005-05-15
Posts: 1,110

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

One advantage is that you won't have to face the dreaded Y3K problem, since computers using standard a BIOS will no longer function after 23:59:59 on 31 December 2999. Don't get caught unprepared!

In fact, I made the change just because (1) my new laptop could handle it, (2) I was getting bored with how few problems I was having with my previous Arch installation, and (3) I figured that UEFI and GPT were the wave of the future. Of course, the future can be pretty slow in coming sometimes.


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#6 2011-10-12 01:28:17

ratcheer
Member
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 518

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

I really like GPT, but I am using it without UEFI, even though my BIOS supports UEFI. I never could see any real advantage to UEFI, either.

I also agree about grub2, @655321.

Tim

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#7 2011-10-12 06:01:19

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

dhave wrote:

One advantage is that you won't have to face the dreaded Y3K problem, since computers using standard a BIOS will no longer function after 23:59:59 on 31 December 2999. Don't get caught unprepared!

I laughed so hard! lol

@ratcheer what do you agree about grub2? the info I provided was regarding UEFI tongue

Gonna try this tomorrow because I want to print the Archwiki info first and my brother stole my printer so....

Last edited by 655321 (2011-10-12 06:02:23)


Linux user #498977
With microsoft you get windows and gates, with linux you get the whole house!
My Blog about ArchLinux and other stuff

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#8 2011-10-12 18:29:12

ratcheer
Member
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 518

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

@655321, the part I was agreeing with was from the top post: "Also a separate question, why if Arch is a bleeding edge distro it keeps installing grub-legacy? why not Grub2 right away? it seems for me it defies Arch Philosophy...just wondering"

I also wonder why Arch and Fedora stick with legacy grub. I have been using grub2 for the past couple of years with no trouble, at all. If Arch is so "bleeding edge", why do they stick with the old grub?

Tim

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#9 2011-10-13 08:24:37

mythus
Member
From: MS Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-05-15
Posts: 509
Website

Re: Grub2 + UEFI..should I bother?

ratcheer wrote:

@655321, the part I was agreeing with was from the top post: "Also a separate question, why if Arch is a bleeding edge distro it keeps installing grub-legacy? why not Grub2 right away? it seems for me it defies Arch Philosophy...just wondering"

I also wonder why Arch and Fedora stick with legacy grub. I have been using grub2 for the past couple of years with no trouble, at all. If Arch is so "bleeding edge", why do they stick with the old grub?

Tim

Because it defies The Arch Way
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way

Having to deal with a "complicated" script or whatever to make changes to the boot-loader simply isn't true to the Arch Way. Grub2 is added complexity compared to the code-simple grub legacy. Notice that the Arch Way doesn't guarantee bleeding edge.

The real question perhaps is why not use LILO, isn't that more code-simple? But of course I may be wrong about that part lol.


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