Kernel with EFI vars

All of my computers, desktops and laptops, have traditional BIOSes, but for a few days now I have had in my possession a laptop with Windows 8.1 and UEFI boot firmware.

As all computers with Windows 8.x have UEFI firmware, and given that I have one of these in my possession, I suppose that I should investigate how to get Quirky to boot on them.

I am a bit nervous about changing the partitions, as I bought this laptop for someone, and will be giving it to them soon.
However, I will at least attempt to get Quirky to boot off a USB stick.

This page was a good starting point, to modify things from a running Windows:

UEFI firmware
In the Control Panel -> System and Security -> Power Options -> Choose what the power buttons do,
I clicked "Change settings that are currently unavailable"
Then in "Shutdown settings" I disabled "Turn on fast startup"
Then clicked "Save changes" button.

I then rebooted, and pressed the F2 key to bring up the boot firmware setup (UI is like the old BIOS setup). Note, some computers might require the DEL key to do this.
Note also, the prior step in the Control Panel is required to be able to use the F2 key to bring up the firmware setup.

In the firmware menu, "Security" section, there is "Secure Boot [enabled]", and I pressed the "-" key to disable, then saved.

The firmware also has a "Boot order" section, however my Quirky Unicorn USB stick is for the old BIOS computers. I do need to choose the USB stick as first in the boot order, however, it is necessary to build a UEFI-capable Quirky Unicorn USB stick.

UEFI-capable Linux
I am starting from scratch here, haven't got a clue. This is a great beginner's guide:

To get things rolling, it seems that I need to make some changes in the kernel. I have recompiled the 3.16.6 Linux kernel with these changes:

Processor type and features 

[*] EFI runtime service support
[ ] EFI stub support

Firmware drivers
EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) support
<m> EFI variable support via sysfs

...they are two different sections, you have to enable the first, before the second one becomes available. The second one provides a module named "efivars".

The new .config file:

The new PET (27MB):

I am planning to install QU on a USB stick, using Syslinux 6.x, as the 6.x series supports UEFI booting.
There is a utility needed as part of the setup process, "efibootmgr", that requires the kernel "efivars" module.
Posted on 29 Oct 2014, 7:33 - Categories: Quirky

QU: Service Pack 6.2.1

If you have Quirky Unicorn 6.2 installed, an upgrade to version 6.2.1 is now available.

Version upgrades are available as Service Pack PET packages.

You can check for availability of a version upgrade at any time, by going to the menu:
Filesystem --> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager

Alternatively, the Quirky Package Manager will automatically check if an upgrade is available, whenever you start the Package Manager (assuming there is an Internet connection).

Or, you can just download the Service Pack, and just click on it to install it. Here it is (10.1MB): is a bit big because Ubuntu updated some DEBs in the last day or so before the final release of 14.10, and my Quirky Unicorn 6.2 was created just before that.

If you have the "devx" 6.2 PET installed, there is also a Service Pack for that (273KB):

Or, if no "devx" PET already installed, you can install the full 6.2.1 PET (after upgrading to 6.2.1 of course) (121.5MB):
Posted on 28 Oct 2014, 5:34 - Categories: Quirky

Quirky Tahr to Unicorn upgrade

If there is anyone out there with Quirky Tahr 6.0.5 installed, you are welcome to give this PET a go. It is a Service Pack to upgrade to Unicorn 6.2. It is a massive upgrade, hence the size.

Upgrade PET (267.6MB):

There is also a readme:

If, and only if, you have the Tahr "devx" PET installed, that should also be upgraded ():

I had not actually considered Service Packs to upgrade between a "series", such as from Tahr to Unicorn, but I have now modified the 5create-service-packs and 5create-devx-service-packs scripts in the Quirky build system to be able to do this.
Posted on 27 Oct 2014, 8:28 - Categories: Quirky

Quirky build system uploaded

The Quirky build system used to be Woof, from the days when I developed Puppy. Then I forked Quirky, and redesigned/stripped-down Woof, now just call it the Quirky build system.

It isn't on any online version control system, just on my laptop, and I upload a tarball sometimes.

So, here is the latest, as at 2014-10-25, used to build Quirky Unicorn 6.2.

Download from here (18.8MB):

There is also a brief readme: should also be added to that readme, that the tarball be expanded in a Linux partition, with sufficient free space (10GB should be enough).
Posted on 25 Oct 2014, 18:58 - Categories: Quirky

Quirky Unicorn 6.2 released

Yeah, why not, seems to be working OK for me! This is the first of the "Unicorn series" of Quirky 6.x.

The full announcement and release notes are here: will also find download links there.

Though, the folder on ibiblio that has relevant files is here:

And mirrored here:

If you want to see the full list of packages in QU 6.2:

The source, patches and scripts used to compile the kernel:
(user: p#up#py password: l#in#ux)

Forum thread for feedback:
Posted on 25 Oct 2014, 10:05 - Categories: Quirky

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