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rEFind UEFI boot manager

October 08, 2017 — BarryK

Easy OS is provided as a image file, that can be written to a USB-stick and then booted. It's contents can also be installed to an internal hard drive.

The image file has the Syslinux boot manager, and will boot on older computers with BIOS firmware, as well as newer computers with UEFI-BIOS firmware.

The problem I have with Syslinux though, is that development is hardly happening anymore. It is very good for BIOS-firmware, but barely-passable for UEFI-firmware. For UEFI, it cannot be used to dual-boot Linux and Windows -- which is a shame, and has made me increasingly desperate to find something else.

In the Easy image file, the BIOS-booting part of Syslinux is in the root of the boot-partition, and the UEFI-booting part is in path /EFI/BOOT. They are completely separate, hence I could replace the UEFI-part with some other boot manager.

That other boot manager could be rEFind. I have been testing it, very nice. First time that I ever played with it, most impressed. rEFind is maintained by Roderick Smith, and the home page is here:

WoofQ, my port of Woof the Puppy-builder, builds the Quirky-series of Linux, of which Easy OS is the latest incarnation. It has a skeleton-image file, with the aforementioned Syslinux already in it, and woofQ adds all the Quirky/Easy files, to create a bootable distro.

What I am thinking of doing, is modify that image file, to have rEFind in it, for the UEFI-booting, leave Syslinux for the BIOS-booting. rEFInd can automatically scan for other OSs, such as Windows, however, might leave that disabled initially, so the image file will just be for booting the drive that the image-file is written to.

Scanning and the boot-menu is controlled by a file named refind.conf, and I can explain how this can be modified to enable detection of other OSs. It is very simple to do.

This is great stuff, I am looking forward to bringing out Easy 0.6!

Tags: easy