installing system on nonlibreboot computer such that it works on libreboot computer

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Joined: 09/08/2014

If you want to install a gnulinux system on a hdd utilizing a
nonlibreboot computer such that the gnulinux system will run on
both libreboot computers and nonlibreboot computers, it is
required to select legacy option on the nonlibreboot computer utilized
for installation? Thanks.

Joined: 11/01/2021

It can work, in my experience, but you need to be farily good at disk cloning, which btw, you may want to test on a computer you don't use very often, before you do it for real, otherwise you probably will have headaches.

Also, you cannot FDE with /boot, encrypting boot will make it nearly impossible if you trying to disk clone from libreboot to stock bios or even coreboot probably.

I am not brave enough to try this at this time, you are free to try, but please don't try on your main computer, accidents will happen.

Also, if you ignore these warnings, at least backup anything important before you attempt this.

Supposedly, qemu has some wiki on how to do it from .img or raw to hdd or ssd.

Scroll down to copying an image to a physical disk.

This might be your best option, but try with a decent usb drive first, preferably, a solid state flash drive capable of at least 300mb per second and only if your comp has usb 3.0 support. ;)

Best wishes on your successful attempt, but keep all I said in mind if you do any of this.

Joined: 04/03/2017


Libreboot (and osboot) currently offer the choice of GRUB or SeaBIOS, on x86 hardware; they are inserted into the boot flash. This version of GRUB is built using --with-platform=coreboot, so it's bare metal and does not rely on BIOS/UEFI services. Whatever your distro is doing will also not affect the version of GRUB in boot flash, which means you can freely reinstall distros if you'd like.

The automation in Libreboot/osboot's GRUB is fairly sophisticated, and I've been making improvements for the next releases aswell.

The Linux kernel runs on bare metal too, even in BIOS/UEFI setups, on x86, or at least it can.

Any existing distribution that you've installed should boot just fine in Libreboot, with a properly configured GRUB configuration which Libreboot/osboot's version of GRUB will try to detect.


Those links apply to GRUB, but a SeaBIOS payload will work similarly to a typical BIOS system, since SeaBIOS is implement an x86 PC BIOS.

If you're using Libreboot/osboot's version of GRUB, it will ignore any bootloader you've installed on your HDD and simply boot your kernel directly. Video works because coreboot implements either its own framebuffer (which linux has a driver for), text mode (ditto), and when your actual video chipset driver loads up, it will typically take over from coreboot and set up its own framebuffer (if you have Kernel Mode Setting enabled and supported in your distro, which most people do); it's also possible to boot your linux kernel in text mode, if you wish.

Hope this helps!

The same guides also exist on osboot, and they are largely identical.

VESA framebuffers will not work, but those aren't required. For example, on an X200 you'd using corebootfb/textmode and later the i915 video driver (for the Intel graphics chipset) sets up its own framebuffer to replace whatever coreboot did.

However, one consequence is that you should not attempt to use legacy VGA modes when running Libreboot or coreboot, on hardware that Libreboot supports (I assume you'll probably use a thinkpad x200/t400)

Joined: 09/08/2014

Maybe what I wrote was unclear. To clarify. There is a
libreboot thinkpad t400 computer. It has a dvd burner in the
ultrabay. A new hdd and a gnulinux iso on a dvd for installation.

For the libreboot thinkpad t400 computer there is also
another hdd which already has a gnulinux system installed. What
I wanted to do is the following.
Put the hdd with the gnulinux system into the libreboot thinkpad
t400 computer. Then use the computer to burn another gnulinux system
onto the dvd, another iso downloaded from the internet. Then
put the new hdd into the computer. And use the dvd to install
a new gnulinux system onto the new hdd. Burning the iso onto the
dvd did not work. Because brasero did not find the dvd module in the
ultrabay. Maybe because libreboot does not support an ultrabay
dvd module?
Instead I plan to utilize a non libreboot x86 computer to burn
the iso onto a dvd. Then put the new hdd into the non libreboot
x86 computer. Then install the gnulinux system from the iso
dvd. In the non libreboot x86 computer's bios there are 2 settings.
One is uefi. The other is legacy. Which setting do you recommend if
I want to be able to move the new gnulinux system hdd between
the libreboot thinkpad t400 computer and the non libreboot x86
computer? Can I select the uefi option during installation of the gnulinux
system onto the new hdd and the gnulinux system will still work
on the libreboot thinkpad t400 computer?
system on the new hdd will still work on the

Joined: 11/01/2021

if it has libreboot on it, then uefi is not even on the system, Leah can clarify, but I think that part is true, if nothing else...

I was going to write a more thorough guide on disk cloning, but I think I know what you mean now,

you want to take a hard drive out of a non-libreboot computer, one that possibly uses uefi and put it in libreboot and have it run.

I somehow doubt that will work, especially with libreboot. osboot, might... but I have no idea at this time, even if you had the beta version Leah deleted.

Also, I don't know if your hard drive is ssd, or hdd, I assume hdd?

Either way, I think that would be a flat no...

But yeah...

also, Leah, feel free to jump in at any time.

Joined: 04/03/2017

uefi is bloat

but i want to do something with it in the future. i'm not happy with any of the currently available implementations (intel's reference implementation, named tianocore, is a bloated mess. technically free software, but the code is so hugely unreadable that i'd almost call it a binary blob. yabits is abandoned and maybe could be revived)


yabits is a very nice, lightweight uefi payload for coreboot systems

there's actually no reason why you couldn't still use yabits. just know that it has been unmaintained for years, and someone needs to revive the project (i'm not interested or motivated to do it, but yabits is where i'd start, if i did)

osboot currently integrates tianocore in its build system, but in a very hacky way, and i dropped it in libreboot; i've already dropped it in my local branch of osboot, and it will not be in the next osboot release


I am a member!

Joined: 06/19/2015

No more Tianocore?! It's as close to a normal firmware as we can get!

Im tired of using hacky systems. I want something nice. GNOME is great.
Caleb Herbert

Sent from my GrapheneOS device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

Joined: 04/03/2017

It's a liability. Go audit edk2 and tell me if you think this is a sane

It's proprietary Intel shit. The software is nominally free, under a
permissive license, but the code is such magnificent spaghetti that it
is basically a giant binary blob masquerading as source code.

Joined: 04/01/2021

> such magnificent spaghetti that it is basically a giant binary blob

I think some people worship that deity.

Joined: 03/19/2020

Is it just very bad programming or can we justifiably suspect Intel has deliberately hidden the real source code?

Joined: 11/01/2021

So another words tianocore is basically obfuscated?

Aye... that somehow does not surprise me.

Joined: 12/10/2013

That could be tricky.

I have a laptop that with a broken screen, that had a broken Fedora installation, as well as a Windows installation that may or may not have been broken. I wanted to wipe the disk and install GNU/Linux so I could at least use it with an external monitor, but I couldn't change the UEFI settings to boot from USB, since it doesn't output to an external monitor. I tried installing Debian on the hard disk after putting it in a functioning laptop, but I couldn't get the resulting installation to boot on the original laptop. Eventually I gave up.

I might try again, but perhaps just by figuring out how to boot from USB. I recall that I could see some faint images on the laptop screen, although the backlight didn't turn on, so maybe I could read the UEFI settings.