[arch-general] [arch-dev-public] Mkinitcpio replacement with Dracut

Jonas Witschel diabonas at gmx.de
Wed May 22 17:17:35 UTC 2019

On 2019-05-22 18:41, Eli Schwartz via arch-general wrote:
> True, but on the other hand bootctl sucks and you can implement a 2MB
> efi partition that works everywhere and supports a single unified
> kernel/microcode/initramfs setup stored on an ext4/btrfs/whatever /boot
> subdirectory inside your rootfs, full disk encryption optional and
> supported, no worries about your booted kernel image getting into a
> mismatch with your /lib/modules directory because you have multiple
> copies of your kernel flying around and most of them are just staged
> data that is never used, and so on.

systemd-boot was just one example where such a setup might be helpful,
of course you don't have to use it: something like

dracut --uefi $ESP/EFI/Arch/arch-linux.efi
efibootmgr --create --disk ... --label "Arch Linux" --loader
"EFI\Arch\arch-linux.efi" --verbose

works equally well.

> I would rather avoid such bundles at all costs, it sounds like someone
> saw a problem named bootctl and decided to create even more problems in
> the name of a solution.

IMHO such bundles are more or less the only way to go if you want to
have an encrypted system in combination with Secure Boot: you can bundle
everything in a single application, sign it with your keys and put it on
the EFI system partition. Currently I use sbupdate-git for this purpose,
if we switch to dracut anyway, I could remove sbupdate and replace it by
a simple hook that signs the EFI executable generated by dracut.

The only alternative I am aware of for such a configuration is using
GRUB for its encrypted /boot support, but that has some drawbacks as
well (is LUKS2 supported by now?) and is much harder to customise: for
example, I store the disk encryption key in a Trusted Platform Module
(TPM). Retrieving it from the TPM is easy using a custom script run as a
mkinitcpio hook/dracut module, writing a GRUB module is much less fun...


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