[lfs-support] Good Results with LFS and EFI

Dan McGhee beesnees at grm.net
Mon Nov 18 08:30:28 PST 2013

At the start here, I want to apologize to those who may be frustrated 
with my changing the subject line for this EFI stuff. The subject 
appears to be at least a "warm one," if not a "hot one."  Therefore, 
many things get hidden in the replies.  So, in an attempt to keep things 
fresh and simple, I just start a new thread. When the time comes, and it 
will be quite soon now, I will post the basics of my "how I did it" and, 
if people are interested, post what I learned, the reasons why I did 
what I did, my conclusions and what I think is left for my future testing.

I was able to get the kernel to load.  That's the good news.  The bad 
news is that I got a kernel panic.  But, as I write this, I'm fixing 
that.  I have another kernel in the oven.

Using the kernel's efi-stubs was last on my list of testing.  I thought 
I knew grub pretty well and didn't know anything about initrd's and 
initramfs, and everything that I had read about the efi-stubs included 
one of those two.  But Geoff's success with his imbedded kernel command 
line looked promising so I did it.

One of the things he cautioned about, and I'm reinforcing now, is to 
make sure that all the drivers the kernel needs to boot are either 
configured into the kernel or made available on the EFI partition so 
that the kernel can load them.  That turned out to be my problem.  I had 
the "ahci" drivers configured as modules, and since the kernel couldn't 
load my hard drive, it couldn't mount the filesystem.  Here are the 
kernel configuration options I used:

CONFIG_CMDLINE="root=/dev/xxxx" (xxxx=partition containing LFS)




CONFIG_EFI_VARS=n (shows up as "Not Set)


Please note that these are the same as Geoff posted last night with the 
exception that he used EFIVARS and not EFIVARFS.  I did this because 
efivarfs is replacing efivars sometime in the future.

Then it's just a matter of getting the kernel to the EFI partition and 
getting the entry into the Boot Manager. My EFI partition is mounted at 
/boot/efi so it was:

mkdir -vp /boot/efi/EFI/lfs-7.4
cp -v /boot/vmlinuz-<et cetera> /boot/efi/EFI/lfs-7.4/vimliuz-<et 

I don't know if the ".efi" was necessary, but all the files I've seen on 
the EFI partition end like that.  Geoff gave the command he used for 
efibootmgr, but I started using gummiboot, so I did my "gummiboot thing."

The result of booting was a kernel panic, but that's farther than I have 
gotten since I started doing this research.  I can fix a kernel panic.  
But the interesting conclusion that I have drawn is that unless GRUB2 is 
hacked it won't boot a kernel "in the old way."  When I was testing, I 
never got my kernel to load and I couldn't load Ubuntu unless I 
chainloaded its efi file like I do Windoze.  Last night William 
Harrington posted a link to the Fedora site regarding grub patches.  
There were a lot.  Also, let me quote the "FEDORA.README" from that link:

> GRUB 2 provides various feature enhancements over the previous GRUB version
> (referred to as "GRUB", or "GRUB Legacy") which has been unmaintained upstream
> for years. GRUB has thus been deprecated in Fedora and replaced by GRUB 2 for
> BIOS systems. (EFI systems still uses GRUB Legacy from the new grub-efi package.)

So, Fedora is using grub legacy to boot into an efi environment. The 
vast majority of threads I have found at arch-linux, ubuntu, gentoo and 
openSuse all talk about not being able to boot other things with GRUB2.  
Very few, if any, people complain about their distros not booting.

I think that if LFS is going to document how to boot using an EFI 
partition, then the most stripped down way is with the kernel efi-stubs 
and efibootmgr.  If someone chooses that option for their system, there 
is no need for GRUB2.  Multiboot options can be handled either by 
efibootmgr, which is the simplest, gummiboot or rEFInd.

I'm still going to try to find a way to use GRUB2 in this.  But, I 
haven't done any building for my LFS system in almost a month and I want 
to get back to it.  I'm going to let this grub stuff grow penicillin in 
my brain for awhile and then try again.


More information about the lfs-support mailing list