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Bug #16229

Boot Loader Menu documentation does not support 32-bit UEFI

Added by intrigeri 5 months ago. Updated 22 days ago.

Status:
Confirmed
Priority:
Normal
Assignee:
Category:
Hardware support
Target version:
-
Start date:
12/17/2018
Due date:
% Done:

0%

QA Check:
Feature Branch:
Type of work:
End-user documentation
Blueprint:
Starter:
Affected tool:

Description

https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/startup_options/#boot_menu assumes syslinux, which is correct on all platforms but 64-bit computers with a 32-bit UEFI firmware (that we started supporting a couple years ago; e.g. cheap netbooks, tablets and so on) where the user will instead see a GRUB menu. FTR, there one needs to press "e" instead of TAB, edit the correct line and finally press F10 or CTRL+x to boot.

FTR, I've just learned that some Thinkpad X200 + Libreboot also end up in the 32-bit GRUB UEFI bootloader menu.

I'll let you judge whether better supporting this (probably tiny) part of our user base is worth making this doc more complicated to follow for everybody else.


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #15806: Use GRUB for USB boot on EFI 64-bit Confirmed 08/18/2018
Blocks Tails - Feature #15941: Core work 2018Q4 → 2019Q2: Technical writing Confirmed 09/11/2018

History

#1 Updated by sajolida 5 months ago

I've also seen the GRUB menu on several regular laptops I think.

I ignored this so far because I thought that the difference was only aesthetic.

But indeed, if people have to press "e" and "Ctrl+X" it's important to document.

#2 Updated by sajolida 5 months ago

  • Blocks Feature #15941: Core work 2018Q4 → 2019Q2: Technical writing added

#3 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

  • Related to Feature #15806: Use GRUB for USB boot on EFI 64-bit added

#4 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

Note that with #15806 (needed for #6560), the GRUB UI will become the default for 64-bit EFI boot too, which is probably the most common kind of configuration Tails runs on these days; syslinux will remain for legacy BIOS and DVD boot though. So the work done here is a worthwhile investment.

Also, it would be awesome if you could take a quick look this month at the GRUB UI to add boot options and tell us, with your UX hat on, how much worse it is than the syslinux one: if it's too big a regression, we need to budget time on #15806 to improve the UX of our GRUB menu (which will require both UX + design work and coding work), which can significantly impact the total cost of the Secure Boot project.

#5 Updated by sajolida about 1 month ago

On my Mac I see a Boot Loader Menu on a plain gray background and without a Tails logo. Isn't this GRUB?

There I can do "Tab" and "Enter" like in syslinux so I'm confused.

@intriger: How can I test the GRUB menu?

#6 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

On my Mac I see a Boot Loader Menu on a plain gray background and without a Tails logo. Isn't this GRUB?

No, that's syslinux UEFI 64-bit.

intrigeri: How can I test the GRUB menu?

Given you have no UEFI 32-bit hardware handy I think you have two options:

  • Basically, any Debian system with GRUB (currently our GRUB menu is not more fancy than that: it has 2 entries just like our syslinux menu, and tells the user to press some keybinding to edit the currently selected boot option, after which one needs to press F10 or CTRL-x IIRC to boot the system).
  • A build from the wip/bugfix/12146-syslinux-fixes+uefi branch. I could have Jenkins build one for you if the previous option is not satisfying.

#7 Updated by sajolida 22 days ago

In the GRUB of my Debian, I see very nice inline help at the bottom of the screen: on the 1st screen to instruct me to press 'e' to edit and on the 2nd screen to instruct me to press Ctrl-x to boot.

Another thing that is more complicated than with syslinux is the fact that GRUB have many more lines. The line with the boot options is label 'linux' and you have to navigate to it.

But yeah, given how rarely these options should be used, the UX of GRUB is fine.

Next steps are to:

#8 Updated by intrigeri 22 days ago

But yeah, given how rarely these options should be used, the UX of GRUB is fine.

Thanks!

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