Installing Linux Mint 16 on a UEFI system with Ubuntu

Installing Linux Mint 16 on a UEFI system with Ubuntu

Summary: My attempt at installing Mint 16 on a UEFI system with Ubuntu has had some - at best - mixed results.

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The latest release of Linux Mint - 16, named Petra - was released on Saturday. 

Unfortunately, I have been preoccupied with the series about Btrfs, and I had not tried installing it until now.

The delay was also in part due to the fact that I thought/feared that it might not work on my UEFI systems, because there was a problem installing the RC version on those systems.

Well, the news is mixed. The good news is that the Linux Mint 16 (Petra) release does install successfully on UEFI systems - at least on the first one I have tried, which is my Acer Aspire One 725. 

The very bad news is that apparently in the process of fixing the previous UEFI installation problem, they have reverted to installing with an EFI boot directory name of ubuntu

Now, this is only a problem if you install it on a system where you already have Ubuntu installed - but in that situation, it is a big problem because it will overwrite the Ubuntu boot files, rendering your Ubuntu installation unbootable.

The release notes specifically state that the EFI boot directory will be called /boot/efi/EFI/linuxmint, and this was indeed the case with Linux Mint 15, which leads me to the aforementioned assumption that this has happened as part of fixing the UEFI boot problems.

If you don't have Ubuntu installed, and you don't plan to install Ubuntu on the same system after installing Mint, then I believe Mint will install and work without problem.  I will take a more complete look at it soon, as time permits.

Further reading

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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33 comments
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  • Thanks for the head's up

    Sounds like they forgot to change the default Ubuntu EFI boot directory to /boot/efi/EFI/linuxmint
    WhoRUKiddin
    • Yes, that's my assumption

      That's pretty much what I think happened. In the original release of Mint 15 (Cinnamon/MATE), UEFI installation worked, and the EFI directory name was linuxmint. By the time the KDE version was released, it was somehow broken. That broken version remained through the development of Mint 16, and a number of people (including me) pointed it out when the Mint 16 RC came out. I'm guessing under the time pressure of fixing the RC for final release, they dropped the UEFI install from Ubuntu back in, which works, but they forgot or overlooked the necessity of the EFI directory name change. In any case, this is not unheard of, for example Korora on UEFI installs to a directory named fedora, but given that this was NOT the case previously with Mint, I thought it important to get out a "heads up" as quickly as possible.

      My sincere thanks to ZDNet for cooperating in getting this posted so quickly, with no warning.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      jw
      j.a.watson@...
      • on UEFI, dual boot Win 8 and Linux

        has dual booting been improved?

        (I recall one OS install interfering with dual boot capability)
        garybean
  • UEFI

    UEFI is just Microsoft's way to make sure you cannot put Linux on a computer. It's a typical Bill Gates move just like Slverlight. Microsoft and the proprietary BS must go.
    jaws222
    • Microsoft didn't make UEFI...

      Intel did, and I wouldn't call it proprietary.

      If new standards come, then let them come.

      Ubuntu installs fine on my machine, why should I be worried?

      The FOSS community will always find solutions and/or workarounds, so don't fret too much.
      ForeverCookie
      • Microsoft imposed a LIMITED implementation.

        A full implementation would have made it possible for the owner of the system to add/remove personal keys to the UEFI.

        Instead, they required "not modifiable". So the only key that can be used is the Microsoft key. So they have the ability to brick your system by refusing to sign boot loaders, or making it too expensive to sign boot loaders.

        Right now, whoever creates the boot loader has to give $$ to Microsoft to get it signed... and nothing says Microsoft will do so. Even the current working boot loaders can't be patched when bugs are identified. They have to be resigned - for additional $$.

        And the ones they sign don't necessarily have to work after they signed it. Granted, this last problem may have been due to bugs in the procedure Microsoft used, and may be fixed now.
        jessepollard
        • What a load of uninformed drivel, accusations and innuendo

          Where in the world have you come up with the idea that "Microsoft imposed a LIMITED implementation". That's a stupid and ignorant misinterpretation, at best.

          NOWHERE in the Microsoft guidelines does it say anything like what you claim. The *closest* it that they keys must not be modifiable FROM THE OS environment.

          Which means that to have a Windows 8 certified unit, malware MUST NOT be able to modify keys in the firmware. Microsoft actually DEMANDS that keys only be modifiable from *firmware* exactly to protect against attacks staged from a compromised OS.

          Microsoft DEMANDS that you be able to switch off secure boot, that at distribution time the MS key has been pre-registered, and they SPECIFICALLY notes that the OEM can install any number of ADDITIONAL keys.

          Either you lie, are grossly incompetent - or you are just shouting from within the bubble of the Linux zealot reality distortion field.
          honeymonster
          • It isn't a complete implementation.

            Nobody has a "firmware" way to update the keys. Thus a "LIMITED" implementation.

            Microsoft only "demands" that on an Intel motherboard. But that doesn't mean that it is easy to find.

            And either you are ignoring the reality of Microsofts ability to strongarm vendors, or you are just being a paid shill.
            jessepollard
          • What attacks from a compromised OS ???

            UEFI only locks the boot loader not the installation of malware. No installation can possibly change OSes. That's impossible unless it is a virtualized OS. UEFI only does one thing, it prevents Linux from being loaded onto a machine. When is the last time you woke up and found a different OS on your system. That can not happen. You speak falsehoods.
            Tim Jordan
        • You could be forgiven for being mis-informed if this were two years ago...

          ..but given how many times and at what length this whole issue has been covered in the last couple of years, your attempt at FUD is just pathetic, jessepollard.

          "Microsoft imposed a LIMITED implementation.
          A full implementation would have made it possible for the owner of the system to add/remove personal keys to the UEFI."

          First off, as others have mentioned, UEFI is not a Microsoft invention, and in fact Unix-type OS's have been booting off of EFI-type systems for at least a decade before Windows. What you're referring to is Secure Boot which is Microsoft's response to the wider attack area that UEFI presents over BIOS for root kits and other malware.

          honeymonster already did a good job of explaining to you the sheer level of fail in your comment, but I will add a couple more notes that you Linux-heads seem to miss: the only place that this is even a remote concern is with OEM-built PCs certified for Windows 8 where that OEM has chosen not to include keys for any other OS.

          There are plenty of solutions available to Linux users here that don't involve Microsoft at all:

          1) An OEM can include keys for other operating systems (read, other Linux, BSD, Android, Chrome, DOS, CP/M, AmigaOS, BeOS, OS/2, VMS, or whatever) if they choose, and still remain Windows 8 certified. All it takes is a critical mass of you users to convince the OEM that it is in their best interest to do so. Given the number of OEMs that support Linux today (Dell, HP, Lenovo), and how many more are supporting Android (Samsung, Asus), this shouldn't be a tall order. What is a tall order, though, is getting the major Linux distros to agree to some standard bootloader configuration that could be signed and used by the larger Linux installed-base. They'd all have to stop the in-fighting and start actually working together for once.

          2) Don't use Windows-certified hardware at all. Build a machine out of your choice of hardware (I do this for my Windows machines already anyway). Off the shelf motherboards with UEFI generally have no keys installed and no Secure Boot getting in the way anyway, so you wouldn't have anything to worry about, except driver support (which is no different than if you used an OEM PC anyway).

          3) Turn off Secure Boot. Yes, you can do this on any Windows 8 certified PC. It is right there in the UEFI, close to the place that you adjust your boot priority so that you can boot off of the USB key with your favorite Linux installation. Don't know how to do this? Well, good luck installing any alternative OS then.
          daftkey
          • two problems.

            1. An OEM wants MONEY to add a key.

            I want to add MY key. Not allowed.

            2. Makes landfill for all Microsoft based systems doesn't it.

            Even after sale, machines DO get repurposed. Even if I get the system 3 years from now, I STILL want to be able to replace the key.

            Not allowed. Makes the thing hazardous material junk.
            jessepollard
          • That's entirely up to Linux developers to solve...

            ..your ranting about how unfair Microsoft is because they only care about their own customers isn't going to change those..

            "1. An OEM wants MONEY to add a key."

            Okay fair enough - so pay the OEM the money needed to add the key. Or, offer a business case for doing so for free (think of all the customers who will buy your product, because of all those customers who care about other OSs).

            The only possible reason that the requirement of money precludes Linux keys from being included on OEM hardware is that Linux is a Mickey-Mouse system written by Mickey-Mouse developers and there is no business case for OEMs to support Linux. I've heard time and time again that this isn't the case.

            "I want to add MY key. Not allowed."

            Well, you are allowed, regardless of how many times you say you're not, that simply isn't the case. Having said that, signing your own OS and loading the key into UEFI is designed to be done within the firmware - not exactly the easiest thing in the world regardless of whatever OS you want to load. Allowing a program to do this would pretty much negate the whole reason behind securing the boot loader in the first place, since it would mean that a trojan could be written to install the key.

            2. "Makes landfill for all Microsoft based systems doesn't it."

            Well, only for those who would prefer to re-purpose a machine with an OS that it wasn't designed for, I guess so. For the most part, people who do so are in the minority, and that isn't likely to change any time soon.

            " Even after sale, machines DO get repurposed. Even if I get the system 3 years from now, I STILL want to be able to replace the key."

            You will have to make replacing the key more easily a priority of whatever OEM you are planning to repurpose computers from before you buy them for their original purpose I guess. Don't really know what else to tell you - crying about what Secure Boot is or isn't about isn't doing anything to contribute to your ability to replace the key more easily or to make Linux important enough to OEMs to have them include keys for Linux distros.

            Now, the other alternative is just to completely forget about Secure Boot, which many Linux advocates say is either ineffective at providing security, and is unnecessary when your primary OS is as inherently secure as Linux is anyway. In that case, you can just do what I suggested in point #3 (which you conveniently decided to ignore). Do that, and all you have is exactly what you're asking for - a PC without Secure Boot getting in the way.

            Also known as the "status quo".

            Also known as "exactly what you had before Secure Boot was invented".
            daftkey
          • Really????

            "Mickey-Mouse system written by Mickey-Mouse developers and there is no business case for OEMs to support Linux."

            Let's hope we never need those defense missiles then:

            http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20051128005133/en/Lockheed-Martin-Selects-Concurrents-RedHawk-Linux-THAAD
            WhoRUKiddin
          • Well who knew...?

            "Let's hope we never need those defense missiles then:

            http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20051128005133/en/Lockheed-Martin-Selects-Concurrents-RedHawk-Linux-THAAD"

            Well butter my biscuit! You mean they can make Linux work on a whole missile system without having Secure Boot get in the way?! Well surely that means that it must be a non-issue for desktop Linux as well then, huh?

            Thanks though - always nice when Linux-heads inadvertently prove my point for me.
            daftkey
          • Pick one of the two.

            "OEM hardware is that Linux is a Mickey-Mouse system written by Mickey-Mouse"
            So you are either a troll or technically challenged. I bet on both.
            kirovs@...
          • Believe whatever you want about me...

            ...whatever helps you sleep at night.
            daftkey
        • What an idiot

          Keep spreading your FUD or in this case, blatant outright lies.

          Is it any wonder why Linux is not for regular consumers? This kind of "well mint has the same boot directory as ubuntu", is the reason why Linux has NEVER gained any traction in the consumer or corporate workstation world. So much for the old many eyes on the code fallacy.
          hoppmang
          • Re: Is it any wonder why Linux is not for regular consumers?

            Be careful what you ask for.

            ASUS 1015E-DS03 10.1-Inch Laptop ( Black ) Ubuntu OS at amazon for $199.00 and the vast majority of reviews give it 4 to 5 stars.

            ubuntu.com

            Ubuntu might just be the one that gets the gold ring in 2014.
            WhoRUKiddin
          • Interesting...

            ..both in the number of reviews (75, vs. 120 for the Windows version) and the nature of some of the reviews (one describing how to install Windows on the Ubuntu version of the netbook, and another complaining about Microsoft's Secure Boot blocking him from installing BSD on the thing.. ironic since it isn't a Windows device to begin with).

            Interesting what some of you consider a "win".
            daftkey
      • Microsoft didn't make UEFI...

        "The FOSS community will always find solutions and/or workarounds, so don't fret too much."

        I rely on that! :)
        jaws222