How I installed Fedora 18 with UEFI Secure Boot

Here's my experience of installing Fedora 18 with UEFI Secure Boot - and why the much-maligned anaconda installer is not as bad as a lot of people think.
By J.A. Watson, Member blogger on
1 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

The Fedora Live Gnome 3 Desktop

Following up on my previous post showing openSuSE 12.3 installation with Secure Boot, this time I will walk through the same installation with Fedora 18.

What I hope to show here is that in my experience Fedora 18 installs and runs just fine with UEFI Secure Boot, and second that the much-maligned anaconda installer is not as bad as a lot of people have made it out to be.

I will skip the first couple of steps that were described and illustrated in the previous post, which use either the Windows Disk Management or one of the Linux disk/partition managers to free up sufficient space on the disk for the installation.

When booting the Fedora Live media, I am prompted to login as "Live User" (no password). 

I am then given a choice between going directly to the installation (anaconda), or going to the Live desktop, which you can use as a normal Linux system. 

One useful thing to do at the live desktop is to confirm that all the hardware is recognized and working correctly before actually installing Fedora. Also, if you have a non-U.S. keyboard layout it can be convenient to set that here, so that your keyboard will be read properly during installation.

The screen shot above shows the Fedora 18 Gnome Live desktop; to start the installation, I clicked the icon at the bottom of the favorites list.

2 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Anaconda Language Selection

The first anaconda screen lets you select the language for the installation. 

If you situation is "normal" and your keyboard is the default for whatever language you select, you can click that here and save a step later. Unfortunately for me, I install in English but usually use a Swiss German keyboard, so I can't take advantage of this. Oh well, I'll get a chance later to choose the correct keyboard layout.

3 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Network Definition / Selection, wired or wireless

In this screen you can choose if you want to use a wired or wireless network connection during installation. The network connection will be used to determine location, and possibly to fetch updates during installation. Of course it is possible to make the installation without a network connection, if you don't have wired and don't want to bother with wireless at this point.

4 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

The Installation "Dispatcher"

This is anaconda's central dispatcher. 

After getting through the two preliminary screens, the rest of the installation is a "star" or "hub and spoke" process, from this screen you go off to various other steps as necessary, always returning here until everything has been defined, anaconda is satisfied, and you are ready to click 'Begin Installation'. 

The screen shown above is from the Live ISO image; if you are installing from the DVD image, there will be more options in this screen, for example to select other software and desktops to install.

Note that the current values for each of the options is displayed (TZ America/New York and KB English), there is a warning both beside the Storage option and at the bottom of the window, indicating that the input is mandatory and has not yet been made, and the 'Begin Installation' button is not yet active.

5 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Here I have gone to Date & Time, where I can select the correct location or timezone, and manually set the system time and date, or turn on NTP for network time control.  You can select the location either by clicking on the map, or from the drop-down lists for region and city.  When this screen is finished, I clicked 'Done' to return to the hub.

6 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

keyboard layout selection

This is the keyboard selection.  The default layout is English/U.S. (of course).  Click the "+" to add another layout, and select an existing layout and click "-" to remove it.  You can leave multiple layouts selected, and change their order (precedence) with the arrow buttons. When the definition is correct, click 'Done' to return to the hub.

A comment about keyboards - I typically use a Swiss German, German, or US keyboard. 

Most people will know about the difference between "QWERTY" and "QWERTZ" keyboards.  But I have occasionally used French keyboards which have an "AZERTY" layout. I suspect that this is something the French are doing specifically to torment Americans, because it is guaranteed to have you pounding your head on the desk (or directly on the keyboard) within the first five minutes.  Whatever the case, you can select the specific keyboard or multiple keyboards in this screen.

7 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Target Disk Drive Selection

Now I am going into the most critical - and perhaps most controversial - area, the disk layout. 

The obvious part of this screen is the selection of the target physical disk.  The less obvious part is lurking under Full disk summary and options... at the bottom of the screen.  If you don't want to install a bootloader at all (unusual, but not unheard of), click this label to get the screen where you can disable grub installation. Also, if you want full data encryption click the check box for that. I click 'Continue' to proceed.

8 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

LVM Selection and Manual Partitioning

At this point I have entered enough information for anaconda to complete the disk partitioning. It will use LVM for disk/partition management; if you don't want LVM, click on Partition Scheme configuration and you can change it, as shown here, to Standard Partition.

It will also make the following assumptions about the disk layout:

  • A new EFI Boot partition will be created
  • A new swap partition will be created
  • A root partition will be created
  • A home partition will be created

If any of these assumptions are not to your likeing (almost none of them are to mine, as I want to use the existing EFI Boot partition that was originally created for Windows 8, the existing swap partition which I created for openSuSE, and I don't want a separate home partition on this system), then check the box for 'Let me customize...'  Either way, click 'Continue' to return to the hub, or proceed to the detailed partitioning screen.

9 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Disk Partitioning Overview

This is probably the anaconda screen which has gotten the most criticism. 

It is, to say the least, not entirely intuitive what is going on here, what it is showing you, what needs to be done, and how to do it.  Other than that, it is really good... 

What anaconda is trying to do here is show the disk layout grouped by logical function or usage, rather than just showing a linear list or diagram of disk partitions. 

This is probably a good thing (once you understand it) because it really does make more sense to look at it this way — but it is totally different from anything that has been done before, and that has generated a lot of backlash from users. 

Particularly confusing is the fact that some "shared" partitions, such as EFI Boot and linux-swap, can be listed in several of the logical groups. That makes sense when you think about how they are used, they really are part of several different logical installations, but it is very confusing if you are accustomed to thinking of a single linear view of the disk layout.

The first group in list will be the new Fedora installation. As yet nothing has been allocated to it; if I click on the 'Click here to create them automatically' label, it will create the partitions as I described in the previous screen (EFI, root, home and swap).  You could then accept that, or further customize it as you want. 

However, I am going to manually create the layout that I want, so the first thing I do is click on the "+" at the bottom of the window, to create a new partition for the root filesystem.

10 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Create A New Partition

To create a new partition, I specify where it is to be mounted (root) and the size (64GB).

11 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Pick Up the Existing EFI Boot Partition

Here I have clicked on the "Unknown Linux" group (this is actually the openSuSE installation which I did previously), and it opened to show me the contents. What I need to do is pick up the EFI Boot partition, so Fedora will use the same one as Windows 8 (and openSuSE), rather than creating a new EFI partition for its own use.

First I click on the EFI Boot partition, then in the Mount Point field I enter /boot/efi, then I click 'Apply Changes'.

Finally, I click on the 'New Fedora 18 Installation' group, to make sure that the EFI partition has been added to my new configuration.

12 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Fedora Partitioning is Complete

Zowie, there's some magic for you!  anaconda has noticed the existing swap partition and added it to our new installation automatically!  At this point, I am happy - I have a root, swap and EFI boot partition. If I would like to add a separate home partition, or anything else, I can do that in the same way that root was added, just click "+" and enter the mount point and size.

When I am happy with the partitioning, I click 'Finish Partitioning' to return to the hub.

13 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Configuration Complete, Ready to Install

Note: When returning from the Storage screens to the hub, it will not look like this at first.  It will still have the warning triangle on the Storage configuration, the yellow note across the bottom saying that you have to complete the marked items before continuing, and the installation button will not be active. 

It takes a short time for anaconda to confirm that you have created a valid disk layout, and then the screen will change to that shown above.

I click 'Begin Installation' to continue.

14 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

This is the screen once installation has started. 

I find the placement of the Root Password option in this screen to be rather curious - they have such a nice hub-and-spoke layout for most things in the previous step, why is setting the root password not included there? 

I know that Ubuntu's ubiquity installer has had a split of information required before starting the install, and information not needed until the end for configuration, the idea being that you can "save time" or "optimize the process" by starting the file copy as soon as enough information has been given, and then gather the rest of the information while the copying is done in the background. 

But at least two of the things in the preceding anaconda hub screen are not required for the basic file copy (timezone and keyboard), so if they want to "optimize" this way, why not shift them to this point?  Or why not move the root password input to that hub screen, rather than here?  This is not a big deal, I just find it incongruous.

Be that as it may, at this point the base system installation and configuration will take about 10-15 minutes.  During that time, you have to enter a root password.

15 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Enter and Confirm the Root Password

Here I have clicked on the Root Password option in the preceding screen.  The installation to disk is still running, but the interface has moved to this screen to enter and verify the root password.  Once a password has been entered and confirmed, I click 'Done' to return to the installation status screen.

16 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Installation Running, Password Defined

Back at the installation status screen, the Root Password entry is now satisfied, and there is nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee until the installation is complete.

17 of 17 J.A. Watson/ZDNet

Installation Complete, Ready to Reboot

Installation is complete, and it is ready to reboot from the installed system. anaconda will not initiate the reboot for me, though. Click 'Done' to exit the installer, and you will be returned to the desktop of the Live system. I can then reboot as normal.

Please remember, in my experience with UEFI systems when rebooting it will not boot into Grub, or directly to Fedora, or whatever you have become accustomed to happening on the first boot. 

It will most likely just boot to Windows 8, as it always did before. You have to press the boot-selection key (ESC, F9, F12 or some such) to get a list of boot targets, and then select Fedora from that list.  Avoiding this "problem" (I consider it either a bug or a missing feature) is beyond the scope of this installation overview, I will write about that later - but soon.

Related Galleries

Linux turns 30: The biggest events in its history so far

Related Galleries

Linux turns 30: The biggest events in its history so far

31 Photos
Linux gaming made easy: The fastest way to get up and running

Related Galleries

Linux gaming made easy: The fastest way to get up and running

24 Photos
10 Linux distros: From different to dangerous

Related Galleries

10 Linux distros: From different to dangerous

10 Photos
Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

Related Galleries

Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

22 Photos
5 best Chromebooks for school in 2018

Related Galleries

5 best Chromebooks for school in 2018

6 Photos
Top five 2016 Chromebooks for school and everywhere else

Related Galleries

Top five 2016 Chromebooks for school and everywhere else

6 Photos
Top five 2015 Chromebooks for students (and the rest of us)

Related Galleries

Top five 2015 Chromebooks for students (and the rest of us)

6 Photos