My experiments with installing Ubuntu 13.04 (pre-release) with UEFI Boot

My experiments with installing Ubuntu 13.04 (pre-release) with UEFI Boot

Summary: The Live image is Secure Boot compatible, but the installed system is not?


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  • (Image: Screenshot by JA Watson/ZDNet)

    User information

    Finally, the last input screen. Here you enter the usual stuff — your full name and login name, the computer nodename, and your password. You can also choose automatic login on boot if security is not a concern for you.

  • (Image: Screenshot by JA Watson/ZDNet)

    Installatoin progress

    While you have been giving input in the last few screens, ubiquity has been chugging along with the installation. After you finish the last screen, you will join the installation in progress. The status bar at the bottom of the window will show how far along it is, and you will get a slide show of Ubuntu features while it finishes.

  • (Image: Screenshot by JA Watson/ZDNet)

    Installation complete, reboot

    When the installation is complete, I am prompted to reboot (or continue working with the Live system). 

    On both of my UEFI systems, I got the same surprise with Ubuntu that I had already gotten with openSuSE and Fedora — reboot didn't bring up Ubuntu, it still brought up whatever was booted before I did any of this (in most cases, this will be Windows 8). 

    Now, there may be other systems, from other manufacturers that do in fact get UEFI boot parameters set, stored and stable properly so that they boot Ubuntu, but that hasn't been my experience. Oh, and there is another even bigger problem...

    If you still have Secure Boot enabled, which was the purpose of this exercise, then when you finally do try to boot Ubuntu (probably by pressing Boot Select), you are going to be very surprised to find that it doesn't boot. 


    At least, it didn't for me, on either one of my systems. What the heck is that about? 

    The Live image on a USB stick worked just fine with Secure Boot enabled, but the installed system won't?  Really? I must be wrong about this. I must be confused. I must be doing something wrong. But I can't figure out what, and I have installed Ubuntu 13.04 quite a few times now over the past six weeks or so. 

    I keep thinking this is some kind of pre-release problem, and they will get it sorted out before the final release, but time is running out.

    Anyway, although I hope that they get this working, if they don't then you will have to disable Secure Boot for Ubuntu. Note that this means only secure boot, it works just fine with UEFI Boot then, you don't have to go all the way back to Legacy Boot.

    Oh, and one last note for others who might have a system with the same Ralink 3290 wi-fi adapter my HP has. Although it doesn't work with Ubuntu 13.04 out of the box (at this stage), it actually has the correct kernal and drivers, all that is missing is the firmware file. I was able to "cheat" and copy the file /lib/firmware/rt3290.bin from either openSuSE 12.3 or Fedora 18, and then after rebooting, it works just fine. If you don't have one of those distributions, I believe that you can pick up the firmware file from the Rallink web page.


Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Ubuntu

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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  • Is it stable?

    Ram U
  • Clarify

    I'm not clear on the question - is what stable, the Ubuntu pre-release itself, or the UEFI installation?
  • is 13.04 full of bugs on the pre released version?

    is 13.04 ubuntu stable enough as a pre release os right now-is it buggy or should i wait till later updates? I'm currently running 12.10 ubuntu right now. i know april 25th is the release date but just wondering.

    • Not qualified to answer

      Sorry, I am not qualified to answer this question, I don't use Ubuntu any more, and I have only used this 13.04 pre-release long enough to get it installed and see how it booted.

  • Why do you think you did something wrong?

    "I must be wrong about this. I must be confused. I must be doing something wrong. But I can't figure out what, and I have installed Ubuntu 13.04 quite a few times now over the past six weeks or so."

    Maybe Ubuntu has serious bugs in it and isn't ready for release? Why do you automatically assume you did something wrong? Since this works with the Live desktop and it works with SuSE, this clearly isn't an issue with Secure Boot, it is an issue with Ubuntu.

    Don't give Ubuntu a pass on this one. There is clearly a very serious bug in the installer. You aren't to blame for this one.

    Kudos on an otherwise fantastic blog post, again. You are up in Ed Bott and MJF territory with your posts and that is much appreciated. ZDNet needs more bloggers like you.
    • Others say it works

      I assume that I was doing something wrong because I believe that several others have posted saying that "it just works". As I have said, I am not a fan of Ubuntu, nor even a regular user of it any more, so I don't follow the posts about it that closely and I can't put my fingers on one right now. I really think that the most likely scenario is that I am doing something wrong, or I am failing to do something at the end which would solve this, and that whatever this missing thing is, it will be taken care of before the final release next week. But I could be wrong...

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • What you did wrong...

        ...was the "select boot DEVICE" option which has nothing to do with the /boot/efi partition (which, although you also failed to specify that when you specified the / partition, Ubuntu and most distros are smart enough to figure out that the partition flagged as "boot" is the /boot/efi mount point and the partition formatted as "LinuxSwap" is the swap point).

        Had you selected the correct boot device (sda, sdb, etc), after rebooting, you should have gotten the Grub2 menu with the option to boot Windows or Ubuntu (or any of the other Linux distros you loaded but found that only Win8 booted).

        Grub needs to know which device is the first boot device your firmware tries to boot or from which device you will tell your firmware to boot when you want to run Ubuntu. You selected sda10 and not sda (or sdb, etc). When you boot from your thumb drive, you are selecting the correct boot device (as the thumb drive installer automatically selects itself as the boot device) and so that works.

        Your paranoia over deleting your entire HDD (or SSD) was your undoing.

        This does not address the "secure boot" issue (or maybe it does). it addresses the "it still only boot Windows" issue. There are some secure boot issues with certain MB firmware but the ubuntu support page has those issues and solutions (where applicable) listed so no bug report need be filed. They are not ubuntu/Linux bugs. They are firmware bugs.

        The fact that your secure boot works with Windows does not mean that there is no bug in your firmware. As for me, my UEFI firmware does not have secure boot as an option (AFAICT) so I cannot have secure boot on my ubuntu. Sorry. I do however know some people who do but they only have ubuntu loaded so I do not know how well it works in a dual-boot scenario.

        As for the blank screen on language choice, it is not blank on the final release.

        As for submitting a bug report in launchpad, I have submitted two (for 12.04) and got very timely and helpful responses. I have no idea why I here these anecdotes but I suppose for every good anecdote there is a bad one. Statistics are poor proofs; anecdotes even worse.
        • Thanks for this information

          Thanks very much for posting this information. I have to say honestly, I am skeptical that simply choosing sda as the boot installation target would solve the problem, but I will certainly give that a try the next time I have occasion to install Ubuntu. This could and should be a lot more clear if ubiquity would be a lot more informative (or at all informative, for that matter) about the fact that it has seen the EFI boot setup, and it is going to conform to that.

          Also, on the subject of "most other distributions recognize and use the EFI boot and swap partitions", my experience on this has been mixed. openSuSE recognizes and uses both of those, and informs the users reasonably well about that. Fedora 18 uses the swap, but it will create its own EFI boot partition unless you override it and make it use an existing one. Debian recognizes the EFI boot partition and uses it, but although it recognizes an existing swap partition it reformats it before using it - that's not a big deal, but in a multi-boot linux installation, other distributions which mount the swap partition by UUID end up confused (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, PCLinuxOS).

          Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Have you submitted a bug report to Launchpad?

    If not, here is where to start:

    In addition, I didn't find a related bug described for Ubuntu 13.04 here:
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Here is how that plays out

    Jamie submits a bug report on Launchpad. That gets ignored for some length of time that is measured in weeks or months. Finally, someone says that I must "check this with the latest upstream kernel". This request is completely unrelated to whether the bug report has anything to do with the kernel or not. That is the end of the bug reporting / "repair" process.

    So no, thanks, I have not submitted a bug report. If I am right about this, then there are thousands of other people having the same problem, including plenty at Canonical, and they don't need me to add to the chorus. If I am wrong, then all is well with the world, I will never use Ubuntu anyway, and the world is a wonderful place.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Why is does the release contain mainly blank screens? Simple:

    “The first screen in the installer has the language select, and a whole lot of empty space. I find this a bit baffling, why not fill that space with something, even if it is only Ubuntu propaganda?  Seems like a waste to me, but perhaps there is a reason for it.”

    There IS a reason for it: Shuttleworth has run out of time, people who believe in him, and people WHO BELIEVE HIM. He has few developers, no partners, no one to do the heavy lifting, and the press is turning against him; he has for too long found it more fun to generate promises of FUTURE product than real product (“...our VISION is clear...").
    Shuttleworth doesn’t have the resources to finalise a major Ubuntu release; then again, one is hard-pressed to remember a release after 9.04 which was ready for prime time.

    The answer is obvious: the screen is not filled up because of a lack of commitment and dedication on Shuttleworth’s part. Oh, and complete and total disdain of his users hasn’t hurt his rush to self-destruction, either.


    You continue to amaze the REAL Linux community with your hard work and clear, concise writing. Your ability simplify and explain is among the best. Thank you from all of us.

    Warmest regards...
  • Ubuntu review from an experienced Windows gamer...

    Want to get a feel for the quality of Canonical’s offerings these days, and how they are perceived by credible people? The following are excerpts from two articles by a PC-literate gamer/writer, giving his experience trying to familiarise himself with Linux, written approximately two months ago. Please note this person's opening comments. He is obviously NOT biased against Linux; he obviously would like very much to have an alternative to what he's been using. And he chose Ubuntu as his introduction to Linux...

    "Last week Valve released Steam for Linux, the open-source, free-range operating system and liberating alternative to the increasingly walled-gardens of Windows and Macintosh. Hooray for that! To celebrate the launch, Valve are offering a free Team Fortress 2 penguin to anybody who follows them into Linux-town by installing the free OS...

    ...So here, in just seven easy steps, is how to easily install UBUNTU in order to win a TF2 penguin and then get back out again as quickly as possible...

    ...STEP THREE: Everything crashes all the time and nothing works
    The borders around this error window [screenshot here] will disappear and, if you've followed the steps correctly, something called 'Compiz' will stop working. You can send an error report to help fix the problem. Alternatively you can shout an error report out of your bedroom window with much the same effect...

    ...MISTAKE TWO: I used the latest release of Ubuntu...

    ...MISTAKE THREE: I even used Ubuntu in the first place...”.

    No comment. None needed.

    Warmest regards...
  • Boot-repair to enable dual-booting

    Did you try boot-repair after the Ubuntu install?
    • Tried that...

      Yes, I tried that, it didn't help. That is no surprise, as the purpose of the boot-repair utility is to fix problems with GRUB itself and with the grub configuration files. The problem that I am having is with Secure Boot. I know that boot-repair has some information and instructions concerning secure boot, but they don't seem to help in this case. I have also searched again for help and/or instructions on this, and the only things I find are people who ran into exactly this problem and eventually "solved" it by turning off Secure Boot.

      Again, if there is anyone who can say with authority "I installed Ubuntu 13.04 with UEFI Secure Boot ENABLED", please speak up, and hopefully share how you did it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Agree

        I agree with watson. even i tried to do it but cant do when "secure mode is enabled".
        only i was able to boot both windows and ubuntu when "secure mode was disabled".
        Here is a link which shows how to do this stepwise.
        Manuj Singh