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My new ultrabook (an Asus UX32VD) requires UEFI in order to boot from the internal harddisk. I use an LVM partition which contains my root fs and dual-boot Windows 8. I somehow managed to get this working on Sabayon Linux, however the overall process was pretty painful, and system upgrades keep breaking my configuration because everything depends on a hand-configured kernel and a hand-crafted GRUB2 configuration.

This causes a lot of hassle and distractions for me, so I am considering to switch to a different distribution. However, I cannot find any concrete resources that precisely document the state of UEFI support in the popular distributions.

As an example, the length of the Ubuntu wiki page on UEFI suggests that installing on UEFI systems is a non-trivial process, and this AskUbuntu thread on encrypted LVM on UEFI systems suggests that LVM might also be a problem.

I know that this question seems somewhat open-ended, so I'll formulate concrete questions:

  1. Are there any Linux distributions with an installer that supports installing to an LVM root in a UEFI boot setting where Windows 8 is dual-booted?
  2. Which distributions support UEFI without having to jump through hoops in order to bootstrap into a UEFI-booted system or requiring manual configuration of the boot manager?
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4 Answers 4

Fedora 18 best matches your specified criteria; however, the new version of Anaconda was pushed out before it was ready. It's probably OK for a fairly typical installation, but if you want to do anything unusual with your partitions, it will be a big hassle. (Note that Fedora uses LVM by default, so your desire for LVM may not qualify as "unusual.") Fedora 17 is an option if you're willing to disable Secure Boot, at least for the installation. (You can add Secure Boot support after installing, but this requires jumping through extra hoops.)

Ubuntu supports EFI, too, but not as well as Fedora does, and most Ubuntu versions don't support LVM out of the box, so getting it set up will be a hassle. You'd need version 12.10 to get Secure Boot support, except by disabling it for the installation and then enabling it afterwards, as with Fedora 17.

OpenSUSE also supports EFI, but not yet Secure Boot, AFAIK (again, except for enabling it after the fact). I'm a little foggier on the OpenSUSE EFI support details, but my impression is that it's a little less robust than Fedora's level of support.

Another option is to stick with what you've got. You may be able to improve the kernel upgrade hassles by switching from GRUB 2 to my rEFInd boot manager, which requires little or no ongoing maintenance, even to pick up new kernels. For best results, you'll need a 3.3.0 or later kernel configured with the built-in EFI stub loader. See the rEFInd documentation page on booting Linux for details. Note that the documentation is thorough; it's actually much simpler than you might think just by looking at the length of the text.

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Thanks for the extensive background information and especially the pointer to rEFInd. I think I'll give this one a shot first (and maybe rescope this question as "how do I make UEFI booting linux not suck"). I have SecureBoot disabled anyway - the machine even came with it disabled despite being pre-installed with Windows 8. I don't intend to enable it either - booting only signed OSs is not going to make my box safer if I'm using this to boot into Windows some of the time... –  Jannik Jochem Jan 30 '13 at 16:48

Fedora uses LVM by default, and supports UEFI as of version 18.

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Do you know about any others? Seems like this distro is not getting a lot of love from users. –  Jannik Jochem Jan 28 '13 at 7:54
    
Two issues affected me during installation to a clean disk -- Anaconda no longer asks for the hostname, so you'll have to set that later. It also labels the volume "fedora" which may not be a problem for most users. I stopped using Gnome when v3 was released, so I can't speak for that. It does take longer to boot than F17, but that's not a real issue. –  Matthew Lundberg Jan 28 '13 at 14:49

As of July 2013 still very poor support for UEFI in all Linux distro's more than 12 months after it came to market in PC's.

This month I tried a brand new custom built PC with Ubuntu & all of its derivatives with no success to install except Kubuntu but it was extremely unstable to the point of uselessness (probably a fluke it installed at all).

Tried Fedora 19 & all of its derivatives with no success to install even.

Tried Arch & all of its derivatives (including Manjaro 0.8.6) with no success to install.

In desperation I tried Sabayon 13.04 which installed & worked pretty nicely but was prone to segfaults during critical system maintenance. On a hunch I tried a daily ISO of Sabayon 13.07 and hey presto fully installed & working beautifully.

My advice is stick to Sabayon for now if you must use Linux.

Chris

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I actually dumped Sabayon for Kubuntu (dropping the LVM) last month. Sabayon was inexplicably no longer bootable. I still have not figured out what caused this - all my kernels (even the known-good ones) would panic almost immediately. Installing Kubuntu 13.04 failed, however, since there seems to be a problem with efivars in recent (newer than 12 months) kernels. I ended up installing 12.04 and distupgrading my way to 13.04. So yes, UEFI support is still awful and there is really no perfect distribution for UEFI systems at this point. –  Jannik Jochem Jul 12 '13 at 10:13

Try Sabayon. I installed the KDE and Gnome flavors in two different laptops (HP & Toshiba) already having Win8 pre-installed, meaning that I happily ended with dual booting. Only one USB writing software worked well to create the pen drive, rufus_v1.4.3.exe I used. Rufus has the ability to format the pen drive as EFI if asked to do so; so I did and there was no need to fine tune? the boot loader. Cheers Lewis

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