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jrl2
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Installing on a 32bit UEFI only Tablet Reply with quote

I am hoping to put Linux on an atom Z2760 based tablet. So far I have not found any Linux distributions with UEFI 32 bit support that allows me to boot installation media.

There must be a way to get an i686 minimal iso image to boot using UEFI from a usb stick. Systemrescuecd does not UEFI boot (presumably it only works for 64 bit UEFI systems).

Has anyone had any luck with Gentoo? I have tried Refind but getting either systemrescuecd or the minimal iso image to boot after refind has escaped me.

These tablets are taking over from netbooks and Linux seems the obvious replacement for Win8 on them. Can anyone help?
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hellspawnV01
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not an easy task and is not in any way recommended...

Here is an article on the UEFI subject that you should read. http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/79883.html

Should you still wish to pursue this idea under the chance of permanent damage to your machine, good luck... It is possible, but nearly a question for absolute pros.
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jrl2
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UEFI booting on a Samsung i5 tablet with a keyboard dock works. Basically I shrunk windows 8 from within windows and booted Fedora 20's 64 bit iso installed on a usb stick. I ended up with two EFI partitions. Dual booting is by catching the computer's setup screen on booting and picking the appropriate boot loader - Fedora or Windows. The setup screen allows the order of boot loaders to be specified so that Linux starts normally. Fine for someone who rarely needs to boot Windows.

Over the years I have had to build kernels and compile code fom source etc so I am willing to be a little adventurous. Gentoo seems to be the distribution with more flexibilty when other distributions seem to be dodging the issue. From searching the reluctance to incorporate UEFI in 32bit distributions is related to maintaining compatibilty with CDs.

What I want to do initially is boot from a usb disk and then attempt the install to the tablet's ssd. In an ideal world there would be a bootable usbstick version of clonezilla or similar to make an image of the ssd before starting, and a systemrescuecd usbstick for installing Gentoo or for when things really go wrong.

I am stuck on getting a liveusb stick that boots 32bit Linux with 32bit UEFI only booting.

I suspect that the best way is to install 32bit Gentoo on a legacy BIOS machine and create a bootable UEFI usb stick from there. Hopefully the mimimal iso image could be made bootable on a usb pendrive.
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hellspawnV01
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With gentoo it would be difficult to do a clone transfer. Would portage play nice?

Some help from our friends: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/UEFI_Gentoo_Quick_Install_Guide

If there is an option to boot from a usb drive in the BIOS options, that would be the first try I recommend...

Third party software (Particularly if you are running a windows machine) such as PowerISO has a great "Create Bootable USB Drive" option... So far it seems to do well in getting around UEFI and secureboot from what I've played with when setting up boot images.

Setting up and the like will be easy. It's just getting over that bloody boot hump.

If you can't boot from external media... Gut the SSD card out, rig it in a desktop. Chroot build on the drive... reinstall drive... And pray... (And be prepared with a backup)
--------------------------------------------------------

They are pretty reluctant yes... As pointed out in the previously linked article. Micro$oft... Dare I say it... Doesn't like to play fair. But the solution is already being worked. Tons of articles on the subject.

I'm sure it can very well be done. But I wouldn't know where to begin... Just having 32 bit and UEFI boggles my mind... (The whole two terabyte cap thing.) I suppose it wouldn't hurt in small devices like a tablet but seems unnecessary bloat hardware. But then the security purpose of protecting windows based operating systems from those particular "vulnerabilities."

Yeah, my head hurts.
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srs5694
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have complete step-by-step instructions, but it can be done.

To begin, I recommend you read my pages on EFI boot loaders for Linux, and in particular the pages on EFI boot loader principles and EFI boot loader installation. That will give you an understanding of what happens when you boot in EFI mode, and therefore a fighting chance at creating your own 32-bit EFI-bootable installation medium.

With that knowledge in hand, you can create a regular Linux boot disk (a USB flash drive will be much easier to work with than a CD-R) and add your choice of EFI boot loader or boot manager as EFI/BOOT/bootia32.efi on that medium. You'll then need to "translate" the boot entry for whatever the BIOS boot loader (probably SYSLINUX) does into terms that your chosen EFI boot loader/manager understands. This will entail reading the original configuration file, extracting the kernel boot options from it, and creating a new configuration file for your EFI boot loader/manager that passes those same options to the kernel.

(Note that I'm referring to the "boot loader/manager" under EFI because you can choose to use either a boot loader, such as ELILO or SYSLINUX; or a boot manager, such as rEFInd or gummiboot. If the latter, you'll be relying on the EFI stub loader, which is a boot loader built into the kernel itself. GRUB is both a boot loader and a boot manager.)

With all this in place, your modified Linux installation medium should boot and get you up and running. When you install Gentoo, you'll need to install a boot loader or boot manager to your computer's ESP, much as you would when installing on an EFI 64-bit computer -- but change "x64" in any filenames to "ia32" for your 32-bit platform. Also, if your computer uses Secure Boot, you must disable it, because the Secure Boot workaround programs for Linux don't compile for x86/IA32, just for x86-64/x64/AMD64.
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing on a 32bit UEFI only Tablet Reply with quote

jrl2 wrote:
There must be a way to get an i686 minimal iso image to boot using UEFI from a usb stick. Systemrescuecd does not UEFI boot (presumably it only works for 64 bit UEFI systems).

jrl2 ... yes, sysrescuecd only supports 64bit UEFI, my workaround for this is to create a USB sysrescuecd and replace the bootx64.efi with a 32bit grub.efi and a grub.cfg that loads the 32bit kernel and point to the initramfs. On booting rEFInd detects there is an efi bootable USB and provides it in its menu, selecting it then activates grub.efi and whatever menu choices you've set in grub.cfg. This should work without rEFInd if you have some means of selecting the boot medium/USB stick.

The grub.efi I use is now some years old (as I had issues trying to replicate the same with more recent grub2 builds) but if you wanted I can make it available somewhere, along with the grub.cfg. I've used the same grub.efi to build a USB that boots various iso's (using 'loopback') ... this works but doesn't resolve the issue of 32bit efi booting if the iso in question doesn't support it.

jrl2 wrote:
Has anyone had any luck with Gentoo? I have tried Refind but getting either systemrescuecd or the minimal iso image to boot after refind has escaped me.

rEFInd will detect if there is a efi execuable on the boot medium and provide it in its menu, but it isn't able to provide 32bit booting if it isn't available.

jrl2 wrote:
Can anyone help?

As I said above, just PM me if you want the grub.efi I use, I've not used it on a tablet but it should work as expected.

best ... khay
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handygeek
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

khay - What do you think of the possibility of booting Linux via USB and/or MicroSD on an ASUS VivoTab 8 (MS version of windows 8.1) tablet, please?

I would very much appreciate anything you have used successfully as I'm trying to learn my way around the MS-monopolistic UEFI nightmare.

Thanks
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

handygeek wrote:
khay - What do you think of the possibility of booting Linux via USB and/or MicroSD on an ASUS VivoTab 8 (MS version of windows 8.1) tablet, please?

handygeek ... I have no experience at all with this particular device, however, if you can disable secure boot, and have a USB (such as sysrescuecd) that supports whatever bit the efi is (32 or 64), then it may be possible to boot. That said, I wouldn't attempt using the target as the build host, I would build an image that can be copied to the SD. First thing is to get it to boot a live disk.

handygeek wrote:
I would very much appreciate anything you have used successfully as I'm trying to learn my way around the MS-monopolistic UEFI nightmare.

EFI is a standard, it's not something MS owns, the only thing that might cause issues booting is secure boot, which you should be able to disable. See the following links (particularly the "Bonus Historical Note" in the first link) wrt to the above ...

UEFI boot: how does that actually work, then?
The EFI boot process
EFI on Linux

HTH & best ... khay
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