[arch-general] Install Archlinux on HP Elitebook

Eli Schwartz eschwartz at archlinux.org
Fri Dec 22 18:14:04 UTC 2017

On 12/20/2017 09:45 AM, David Rosenstrauch wrote:
> More of a workaround than a solution, but I stopped using grub
> altogether once they upgraded to grub2.  (The complexity of the grub2
> config file as compared to the simplicity of the grub-legacy menu.lst
> file is what eventually turned me away.)  I've started using syslinux in
> recent years, and have been quite happy with it.

Kind of offtopic for this thread, but "the grub2 config file is too
complex" is not actually a valid reason to stop using grub... because it
isn't even true in the first place.

I blame grub-mkconfig for this, as an automated tool for generating
grub.cfg without any user interaction at all, it is rather grotty. But
to make a fair comparison with syslinux, refind, systemd-boot and
others, you'd need to compare the quality of the grub-mkconfig
autogenerated output to the quality of the
(refind|syslinux|systemd-boot)-mkconfig autogenerated output.

Oh, wait. None of those have any such tool, and you are *required* to
write your own handwritten config. :p

And in fact, you can do the same exact thing with grub2 as well!
Consider my grub.cfg reproduced below, or Earnestly's example grub.cfg
at https://ptpb.pw/mk7y (courtesy of #archlinux on freenode):

set color_normal=light-gray/dark-gray
set color_highlight=dark-gray/light-gray
set menu_color_normal=light-gray/dark-gray
set menu_color_highlight=light-blue/dark-gray

set timeout=1
set default=0
set btrfsroot=53731b6e-8cce-467c-bf07-be1b04207846

# Use UEFI's Graphics Output Protocol.
insmod efi_gop

menuentry "Arch Linux" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux.img

menuentry "Arch Linux Fallback" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux-fallback.img

menuentry "Arch Linux ck kernel" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux-ck root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux-ck.img

menuentry "Arch Linux ck kernel Fallback" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux-ck root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux-ck-fallback.img

menuentry "Arch Linux LTS kernel" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux-lts root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux-lts.img

menuentry "Arch Linux LTS kernel Fallback" {
    linux  /boot/vmlinuz-linux-lts root=UUID=$btrfsroot rw
    initrd /boot/intel-ucode.img /boot/initramfs-linux-linux-fallback.img

Consider the simplicity of this grub.cfg. A couple simple variable flags
for setting colors and timeout, then the dead-simple menuentry for
booting, replicated a couple times for each kernel/initramfs I have.

If you want, you can split out each menuentry into separate conf files
and `source` them.

And if you *really* want to get fancy, sure, grub has an *optional*
shell language you can use for weird fancy stuff. It's hardly mandatory,
though, just because the familiar Debian-style autogenerator produces
obtuse content like all autogenerators.

I hate when people spread this misinformed FUD about grub, but I suppose
it is largely grub's fault for encouraging the use of beginner tools and
making it seem intimidating to even learn how it works. :(


Hmm, I think I will invest the time in updating the Wiki page. This
travesty cannot continue, I must make sure people are well-informed.

(Also people really should use grub. It's quite nice to have a
bootloader which supports encrypted boot and loading kernels from
basically any filesystem without having to mount the ESP as /boot. I
also get to use a small 2MB partition for the ESP, which is possible if
you format it as fat12 which technically isn't supported by the standard
but chances are it will work anyway because of recycling filesystem code
that supports both on a generic level.)

Eli Schwartz

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