The Breakouts: UEFI

Me and Rohan and Harald spent the day playing with the cheapo Sony Vaio laptop I got with Windows 8 and UEFI firmware.

This laptop has many partitions:
sda1 is fat32 and contains a Boot and a Microsoft EFI boot loaders
sda2 is ntfs and contains Windows Recovery bits
sda3 is efi/fat32 and contains a Boot, a Microsoft, a kubuntu and a ubuntu EFI boot loader
sda4 is a Microsoft reserved parition and won't mount, spooky
sda5 is an ntfs partition and has Windows 8 on it
sda6 is ext4 and I install Ubuntu and Kubuntu to it
sda7 is a linux-swap partition

I've no idea why there are two efi partitions
I've no idea why there's both an ntfs windows recovery partition and a microsoft reserved partition.

We installed Kubuntu but it didn't set up Grub and we couldn't do much useful at the Grub command line.

So we installed Ubuntu Unity 13.04 and it successfully set up Grub so we could boot from Grub into Ubuntu. Grub also listed Windows 8 but it gives an error on trying to boot "error: can't find command drivemap error: invalid EFI file path". Grub also listed windows recovery and this does boot and lets us boot into Windows 8 but that then stops Grub being loaded so there's no way to reboot into Ubuntu. see log.

Then we tried to install Kubuntu again and it give an error during install about the grub setup package not configuring right see bug for log.

If you go to to download it points Windows 8 users to this scary UEFI wiki page with scary headings like "Installing Ubuntu Quickly and Easily via Trial and Error".

Conclusion: UEFI is a giant MS conspiracy to make installing Linux more faffy than it already is. Kubuntu is slightly more broken then Ubuntu but not much. Only silver lining is that Windows 8 is rubbish and when we tried it there genuinely was a notification saying "Warning: your children might not be protected". Think of the children and don't use Windows 8!

Oh well, here's some pretty pictures to keep you amused.

Les Frogs sont hypercool

The view of Catalunia is great for contemplation

Murdering a water mellon

VHanda ignores Doctor Who.


VHanda, that needs an explanation, a good one, and fast!

By krake at Thu, 05/09/2013 - 17:07

Currently the best approach is to simply register the EFI partitions in the BIOS and then dual boot using the BIOS boot menu. That works on all systems I have encountered so far.

But yeah EFI is a huge pain. Try installing EFI with software RAID, that's so much fun. Took me 3 work days.

By Let_Me_Be at Thu, 05/09/2013 - 21:34

When I first joined my current job I had the pleasure to use a Mac pro for a few weeks. No BIOS in sight.

Quite a pain, though I didn't have it as bad as you all since I had no interest in dual booting. You would have been better off wiping all those confusing partitions.

By eean at Sat, 05/11/2013 - 04:30

Jonathan, a commit added to kernel 3.8 is the cause of this problem. See LP bug 1167622 (and duplicates 1167567, 1168659). This is supposed to be fixed eventually.

By steveriley at Sun, 05/12/2013 - 00:06