My Tumbleweed install for August

I’ve been doing an install of the month, in order to test Tumbleweed installation.  For August, I installed in an alternate partition on my main desktop system.

The Tumbleweed install media have been broken for the last two weeks.  If used from a USB flash drive, the installer cannot be booted in UEFI mode.  Apparently it can still be booted with UEFI if it is actually burned to a DVD.  However, I prefer to install with a USB, so I decided to give it a try in spite of the problems.  I had actually wanted to test whether a UEFI install can be done when the install media is not UEFI bootable.  So this was a good time to test that.

Downloading

I downloaded the install DVD iso for the 20150802 snapshot.  As usual, I used “aria2c” to download.  That went well.  I also used “wget” to download the file containing the sha256 checksum.  I verified the gpg signature on that checksum file.  Then I compared the checksum in that file with the checksum that I could compute from the downloaded iso.  And all was fine.

I then “burned” the iso to a USB drive, with

# dd_rescue openSUSE-Tumbleweed-DVD-x86_64-Snapshot20150802-Media.iso /dev/sdd

I was now ready to try an install.

Installing

My desktop uses UEFI.  And I was aware of the problems with UEFI booting the install image on USB.  But I tried anyway.  I hit F12 during boot, go give me a boot menu from the firmware.  The USB device did not show up in that menu

Next I went into the BIOS (firmware) settings.  I disabled secure-boot, and I made sure that CSM (compatibility support module) was enabled for legacy booting.

I then tried booting again, hitting F12 during boot.  This time the BIOS displayed a UEFI boot menu and a legacy boot menu.  The USB device showed up only in the legacy boot menu.  I selected that, and was shortly seeing the opening screen (the “syslinux” boot screen).  There, I added “efi=1” (without the quotes) to the kernel command line, and booted into the installer.  I’m not quite sure what that “efi=1” does, but I think it only makes grub2-efi the default for booting.  That could also be set manually during install.

I was soon seeing a familiar installer screen.

The recommended partitioning did not include mounting the EFI partition as “/boot/efi”.  I selected “create partitioning” followed by “custom partitioning” so that I could specify my own partitioning choices.  I made sure that my choices included mounting the EFI partition as “/boot/efi”.

Everything continued to look normal for configuring users and timezone.  Then we got to the summary screen.  It was there, that I saw the first error message:

Unsupported combination of hardware platform x86_64 and bootloader grub2-efi

I was expecting a warning.  The installer allowed me to continue anyway.

I configured the software selection, then proceeded with install.  All went well until the very end where it installs the bootloader.  That’s where I saw an error message indicating that the bootloader install had failed.  I was offered the opportunity to change the boot configuration.  I declined, and proceeded to the reboot following install.

The system failed to boot.  This was expected, given the circumstances.

Rescue time

I next went into rescue mode.  For that, I booted the opensuse 13.2 rescue CD (but written to a different USB flash drive).  I booted that in UEFI mode, which I would need to repair the broken install.

It turned out that I needed to run three commands in rescue mode:

# grub2-install
# shim-install
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Those commands fixed the problem, and I was then able to UEFI boot the newly installed Tumbleweed system.  I turned UEFI and secure-boot back on in the BIOS settings to test whether secure-boot worked properly.  It did.

Summary

It is possible to do a UEFI install, even when the install media is booted to legacy mode.  However, the installed system will be broken and will need to be rescued with a UEFI boot to correct boot problems.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

One response to “My Tumbleweed install for August”

  1. Jobb says :

    Thank you for this! Saved the day. That bug was driving me bonkers today!

    Like

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