Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Questions about Grub, the liveCD and the installer
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BrunoMiranda
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Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:33 pm

I don't like UEFI as it is too locking and complex. Back in the old days BIOS would do the job perfectly. I even couldn't boot LMDE2's ISO from USB on my new laptop (I had to install Mint19 and then restore a LMDE2 backup, more about this below).

What should I use for a clean install of LMDE3? Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Note that with BIOS what I used to do was install the system in one machine, back it up with fsarchiver and then restore it to other machines (booting from an USB ISO) with chroot, allowing me to fix grub, initramfs, fstab, hostname and eventually a new kernel. This allows me to have the same exact OS experience on all my machines and have only a single backup (only limitation is 64 bits installs won't run on 32 bits hardware).

Will I still be able to do this with UEFI?

I also plan to 1st try to upgrade my LMDE2 installations to LMDE3 when the upgrade path opens. These LMDE2 were installed on Legacy Bios. (but I am not counting on a successful upgrade as I tweak way too much my installations, upgrade failed from 17.3 to 18 so I'm not counting down on it, just hoping it works as a 1st chance and if it doesn't... Clean install.)

Any comments and recommendations are very welcome. Thank you all.


Edited to correct EUFI to UEFI. Dislexy for the cure has not been found yet! :wink:
Last edited by BrunoMiranda on Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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xenopeek
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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or EUFI?

Post by xenopeek » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:01 pm

UEFI mode installs with GPT partition format which is much more more flexible and suitable for modern systems than MBR partition format likely used for BIOS mode. UEFI mode is often faster to boot.

Generally I would prefer UEFI mode unless you are installing to dual boot with another operating system that is using BIOS mode. In that case use the same as the other operating systems to avoid any conflicts.

Considering every other major OS is using UEFI mode by default, safe to assume UEFI mode gets the most (if not all) attention and tuning from your motherboard manufacturer and their firmware developer.
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BrunoMiranda
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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:39 pm

Thanks for your reply, Xeno!

Yeah, good point about GPT. Usually I don't have more than 4 partitions, but when I need them chaos and workarounds bloom in. GPT solves this.

Well, I guess I'll have to do some tests on GPT and UEFI. Lets see how things go.

Once again, thanks.
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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sdibaja
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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by sdibaja » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:07 pm

on this machine I am using GPT, and Legacy. UEFI always fights me so I go around it.
first partition is 500 mib, with bios_grub and legacy_boot flags set
Grub is installed in MBR.

but not all machines like those flag so I have to fiddle.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:56 pm

sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:07 pm
first partition is 500 mib, with bios_grub and legacy_boot flags set
Grub is installed in MBR.
So I assume this 500 mig partition should be /boot.

Thanks for reminding me for setting the flags!
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

gm10
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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by gm10 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:42 pm

BrunoMiranda wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:56 pm
sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:07 pm
first partition is 500 mib, with bios_grub and legacy_boot flags set
Grub is installed in MBR.
So I assume this 500 mig partition should be /boot.

Thanks for reminding me for setting the flags!
Nah, bios_grub isn't /boot. It's only needed for non-EFI installs to a GPT disk. There's also no reason to make it 500 MB, you only need a few kilobytes, but standard is to allocate 1 MB. Anything more is nothing but wasted space. And again, if you decide on an EFI install (gets my +1 as well) or have an MBR partitioned disk then you don't need this at all.

EFI installs need an EFI/ESP partition instead (mounted at /boot/efi). Unless you are planning on full disk encryption I wouldn't create a separate partition for /boot.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by sdibaja » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:04 pm

off topic a bit, is there some advantage for a Linux user to use UEFI?
whatever is easiest is to get the install working fine with me but is UEFI "better" than Legacy in some way?

all I have been able to surmise is that it was a Microsoft thing to prevent pirating Windows. I guess it works for them but it is a royal pain in the tush for us alternate types.
life was simple then someone got scared.

I was blissfully all BIOS until a year or two ago when we had to replace several machines. By chance all of the "new" machines are HP laptops and desktops (ebay bargains) but Every darn UEFI menu and options are different! what is with that crap?
Oh, some E5410 Dells to, but they were all the same as each other.
end of rant, nap time for me.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:18 pm

sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:07 pm
Nah, bios_grub isn't /boot. It's only needed for non-EFI installs to a GPT disk. There's also no reason to make it 500 MB, you only need a few kilobytes, but standard is to allocate 1 MB.
Yeah I remember watching something about a 1MB partition on GPT, but was not sure exactly what. More things to keep in mind... Thanks!
Last edited by BrunoMiranda on Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:20 pm

sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:04 pm
is there some advantage for a Linux user to use UEFI?
whatever is easiest is to get the install working fine with me but is UEFI "better" than Legacy in some way?

all I have been able to surmise is that it was a Microsoft thing to prevent pirating Windows. I guess it works for them but it is a royal pain in the tush for us alternate types.
life was simple then someone got scared.
This is exactly the point of this post and you just read my mind very very clearly!
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by xenopeek » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:37 am

sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:04 pm
all I have been able to surmise is that [UEFI] was a Microsoft thing to prevent pirating Windows. I guess it works for them but it is a royal pain in the tush for us alternate types.
That seems very far from the truth.

The UEFI history summarized (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_E ... ce#History):
The original motivation for EFI came during early development of the first Intel–HP Itanium systems in the mid-1990s. BIOS limitations (such as 16-bit processor mode, 1 MB addressable space and PC AT hardware) had become too restrictive for the larger server platforms Itanium was targeting. The effort to address these concerns began in 1998 and was initially called Intel Boot Initiative. It was later renamed to EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface).

In July 2005, Intel ceased its development of the EFI specification at version 1.10, and contributed it to the UEFI (Unified EFI) forum, which has developed the specification as UEFI.
The UEFI forum members and what it does (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_EFI_Forum):
The UEFI forum (a non-profit corporation) is an alliance between several leading technology companies to modernize the booting process. The board of directors includes representatives from thirteen "Promoter" companies: AMD, American Megatrends, ARM, Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., IBM, Insyde Software, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Phoenix Technologies.

In addition to the UEFI specification, the forum is responsible for a Platform Initialization (PI) specification, which addresses the firmware internal architecture as well as firmware-to-hardware interfaces. The forum also is responsible for Self-Certification Test suites, which defines conformance to the specifications that it defines.

In October 2013, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) assets have also been transferred into the forum. The forum is responsible for the management and promotion of future ACPI specifications, which provides static tables at boot time and dynamic control methods as the primary runtime interfaces between the OS and system firmware for system configuration, power management and RAS (Reliability, Availability and Supportability) features.
Sure, Microsoft wouldn't be Microsoft if they didn't weasel something they wanted into the specification. But it's clearly not a "Microsoft thing to prevent pirating Windows". And in any case, you should applaud any and all efforts of Microsoft to prevent people from pirating Windows—drives more users to Linux :)
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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by gm10 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:20 am

Some of you are discussing UEFI while others seem to be complaining about Secure Boot. Secure Boot is an optional feature of UEFI, nothing more.
BrunoMiranda wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:18 pm
sdibaja wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:07 pm
Nah, bios_grub isn't /boot. It's only needed for non-EFI installs to a GPT disk. There's also no reason to make it 500 MB, you only need a few kilobytes, but standard is to allocate 1 MB.
Yeah I remember watching something about a 1MB partition on GPT, but was not sure exactly what. More things to keep in mind... Thanks!
Simple. GRUB needs somewhere to place its code. With MBR partitions it places it at the start of the disk. With GPT there's not enough room at the start so it needs a little partition somewhere.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:44 am

gm10 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:20 am
Some of you are discussing UEFI while others seem to be complaining about Secure Boot. Secure Boot is an optional feature of UEFI, nothing more.
Yes, yes, that's it. You nailed it! My thing is with Secure Boot, not with UEFI itself.
Simple. GRUB needs somewhere to place its code. With MBR partitions it places it at the start of the disk. With GPT there's not enough room at the start so it needs a little partition somewhere.
Makes sense, thanks for clarifying, gm10! :wink:


@xenopeek, I've read that page on the diagonal but I was tired and didn't get everything. BIOS had a lot of problems (and SMART for hard drives sometimes was plain dumb), so things really did need to evolve and UEFI was the solution. There again, my thing is with Secure Boot, not with UEFI.

Sure Micro$oft wouldn't miss putting it's finger in the jam jar. But don't worry about pirating Windows, even with Windows 10 free and legal, people are running the heck away from it :lol: , and some of them are seeking sanctuary here in Linux Mint! :mrgreen:
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by sdibaja » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:32 am

@xenopeek thank you. Very much. I obviously had no idea.
I will research more and perhaps I can learn to take advantage of UEFI's benefits.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:48 am

Meanwhile I'm waiting for the final release of LMDE3, it crossed my mind if, installing it with UEFI, I could still boot by USB with it disabled should any old recovery tools were needed, and meanwhile they would still boot and access the LMDE system.

I would assume new recovery tools update themselves to boot from USB using UEFI, but not sure if the old tools would still work on UEFI.

Anyone has any experience on this? Thanks.
Bye for now,
Bruno


(Always backup before you fvckup :mrgreen: )

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by gm10 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am

BrunoMiranda wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:48 am
Meanwhile I'm waiting for the final release of LMDE3, it crossed my mind if, installing it with UEFI, I could still boot by USB with it disabled should any old recovery tools were needed, and meanwhile they would still boot and access the LMDE system.

I would assume new recovery tools update themselves to boot from USB using UEFI, but not sure if the old tools would still work on UEFI.
As long as you can boot GRUB you can then boot anything would be my remark on that. And GRUB obviously supports EFI.

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Re: Fresh LMDE3 installation. Should I go for Legacy Bios or UEFI?

Post by BrunoMiranda » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:00 am

gm10 wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am
As long as you can boot GRUB you can then boot anything would be my remark on that. And GRUB obviously supports EFI.
Based on this, my idea for an emergency USB boot would be a system installed on USB and some other emergency recovery tool on another thumb drive. If it doesn't boot directly, updating grub so it could see the other thumbdrive, allowing it to boot, would be my best option for a boot recovery.

Also, Mint's ISOs make pretty good recovery mediums, at least for me. Apart from access to a system, drives and partitions, I can access the internet, install and run fsarchiver to restore from backup, and chroot into it to fix grub, update it and the initramfs in order for it to boot, etc.
Bye for now,
Bruno


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