Wednesday, July 20, 2016

UEFI Arch install (GPT, ESP) Single boot

First time with a UEFI install. Expected: Partition and boot issues (eg,how to do with no boot flag or MBR?) and possible boot loader settings. This page addresses many ESP issues, and this page UEFI issues more generally (scroll to UEFI). Also of course, there is this UEFI page.

There's a lot to consider (click on photo)

The booting order is apparently the UEFI firmware contacts an ESP partition (new concept), receiving information. This process also loads the EFI specific kernel informtion, (in the form of a filesystem?) "efivarfs", into /sys/firmware/efivars.

disk 20 mins

You'll have to overburn the install CD to get 740MB onto it. Of the possible options, cdrdao cannot be used without a TOC file to direct it, and dd has its dangers, so I tend to rely on cdrecord. With cdrecord, overburning should be specified, and random DAO errors that usually only appear at the end of the operation, can be prevented by running it in root.
$ cdrecord dev= HELP [get a device list]
# cdrecord -overburn -eject -dao -dev=/dev/sr0 ~/install.iso

Load the UEFI version of Arch, and then get information (eg fdisk -l sdX), at the prompt. I will want GPT, not MBR partitions: for partitioning, use cgdisk or gdisk instead of cfdisk for partition.
cgdisk /dev/sdX
... and then be sure to assign the proper qualities. New: four digit identifiers (eg 8300 for Linux and 8200 for the swap).It appears that filetype EF00 automatically sets an equivalent of a boot flag for its partition, so we only need one EF00 partition. This partition is said to need 250MB, so 1 GB should be enough.

Here might be a list of partitions:
  1. 1GB - /boot (ESP) sdb1 - ef00
  2. 40GB - / (apps) sdb2 - 8300 (this will be the basic "mnt" foundation)
  3. 50GB - swap sdb3 - 8200
  4. 900GB - /home sda1 - 8300
For GPT partitions, can use cgdisk for ncurses, or simple gdisk
# gdisk /dev/sdX
# n [add size, type]
# w [write it]
# gdisk -l /dev/sdX [list the partitions]
After partitioning, format them, eg mke2fs /dev/sda1. However, the ESP partition needs FAT32.
# mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sdb1

basic configuration 20 mins

# mkswap /dev/sdb3
# swapon /dev/sdb3
# free -m [check swap is on]
# mount -rw -t ext3 /dev/sdb2 /mnt
# mkdir /mnt/home
# mount -rw -t ext3 /dev/sda1 /mnt/home
# mkdir /mnt/boot
# mount -rw -t ext3 /dev/sdb1 /mnt/boot
# mkdir /mnt/etc/
# genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
# pacstrap /mnt base
# arch-chroot /mnt
# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/[zone]
# mkinitcpio -p linux
# passwd
# pacman -Syu grub efibootmgr
# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
# ls -l /boot/EFI/arch [verify grubx64.efi is here or locate it]
# grub-install --efi-directory=/boot/EFI/arch --target=x86_64-efi /dev/sdb
# efibootmgr -v [verifies all bootable efi's ]
# exit
# reboot

boot 90mins

At reboot, one may have the basic GRUB2 command prompt, not the curses version. This is called "rescue mode" GRUB, with limited commands. If command "boot" does not work, then one needs to return to their install disk, mount all the partitions again, and begin at the mkinitcpio step. Mkinitcpio cannot do its job of creating the ram disk if it can't find a kernel, so it's a good litmus test that the kernel is properly installed and available. There should be some vmlinuz in /boot. So, if this is missing, reinstall the base group entirely with pacman, so the mkinitcpio step is 100% certain.
# pacman -S --needed base
If this step informs that the system isup to date, "nothing to do", then force a kernel reinstall, especially if you could find no vmlinuz in /boot. Everything must be 100% to work with UEFI.
# find /var/cache/pacman/pkg -name 'linux*'
Get the specific name of the linux package in there, eg. 4.4-4, or whatever. Then...
# pacman -U /var/cache/pacman/linux[specifics].pkg.tar.xz
# ls /boot [verify a vmlinuz present]
# mkinitcpio - p linux
# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
# ls -l /boot/EFI/arch [verify grubx64.efi is here or locate it]
# grub-install --efi-directory=/boot/EFI/arch --target=x86_64-efi /dev/sdb
# nano /etc/systemd/journald.conf
SystemMaxUse=200K
# exit
# reboot

This should get us to Runlevel 2. Network configuration (eg, hosts, hostname, wifi arrangements, etc) is usually first since one needs a "pacman" configuration. Then perhaps pacman servers and keys, and then apps. For example, nearly every fresh install experiences dhcpcd time outs because it can't obtain an ipv6 dhcp address from a router.
# nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf
# custom to stop ipv6 service request timeouts
noipv6rs
# useradd -G wheel,lp,audio -s /bin/bash -m foo
# pacman -S wpa_supplicant wireless-tools jre8-openjdk jdk8-openjdk
# export LANG=C

nVIDIA or Nouveau

Still the same old story -- nVIDIA won't release the code (2016). If using nVIDIA drivers, some have to blacklist the i915 driver. To blacklist, create any file with a ".conf" extension in /etc/modprobe.d/, eg /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf, then
# nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
blacklist i915
To review all drivers prior to selection...
# pacman-Ss xf86-video |less
# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau mesa-vdpau libva-mesa-driver
I took the vdpau since the card's an nVidia. Also, I ultimately went with the nouveau drivers so we'll see. I dunno. Now for 50MB of xorg
# pacman -S xorg-server xorg-server-utils xorg-xinit xorg-xrandr
Went entirely without the nVidia and so chose the mesa-libgl when the choice appears. We'll see. I can check it with, say
# pacman -Qqs nvidia
... to see if I put nVidia in by mistake. The other thing is I have a simple mouse and keyboard input, so I went with xf86-input-evdev instead of the more cutting edge xf86-input-libinput. We'll see, again. Note that no /etc/X11/xorg.conf is automatically created these days (2016) but users can create one. Example: a specific display problem requires it, viz to specify a BusID, etc.

I like IceWM. Hearkens back to the old days with its use of only a couple classic text config files: .xinitrc and Xresources. Those two X files are read at start-up and then there are a couple of text files internal to icewm also read during startx: ~/.icewm.preferences and ~/.icewm/startup. Preferences is like 1300 lines, with about 500 options. Love it.
# pacman -S icewm
$ cp /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc .xinitrc
$ nano .xinitrc
exec dbus-launch icewm-session
$ startx
45MB of thunar and its dependencies. For USB drives and so forth, I don't like gvfs at all, since to me it's a kludge, it includes PAM, I don't need a trash bin, and on. So udiskie (116 MB) is a good substitute.
# pacman -S thunar thunar-media-tags-plugin thunar-volman udiskie dosfstools ntfs-3g parted
Let's do 2MB of xterm, 45MB of geany, 78MB of vlc (caveat: vlc is Qt1, so not gnome (gtk) friendly, and if you go with Qt, you eventually end up with PyQt, dunno why but it's true. All told ~ 400MB more for PyQt and Qt), 380MB of openshot (used ttf-bitstream-vera note:smbclient is part of the openshot install - yuck), 112MB of evince, and 150K of recordmydesktop.

ffmpeg or libav

What to do here? Michael Niedermeyer resigned from ffmpeg August 5, 2015. I still am most used to it and I know it typically has more features, if perhaps unstable. Ffmpeg, currently.

GRUB2 note

GRUB2 is one of the few linux boot managers that works with UEFI, but it is a horrible bootloader:
  1. will not locate kernels
  2. numbers disks differently than linux, eg, "hd" There is no intuive correlation between them. If I have only two hard drives, mounted as three partitions, sda1, sdb1, and sdb2, these may show as hd0, hd5, hd6. That would work, but GRUB wants the partition number as well, and there are only 2 physical drives. You will have to map this by trial and error.
  3. requires as much or more configuration than the underlying OS installation
  4. continuing on the configuration point, one cannot directly edit GRUB's configuration file, /boot/grub/grub.cfg
1Nokia sold Qt trademark to Digia in 2012

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