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#1 2018-06-10 02:50:24

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

Greetings.

Quite a while ago, fsmithred built an experimental image for my benefit.  I've no idea if this image was ever  updated.

A few weeks/months ago, I put together another Ryzen computer, and I've been working away at it for a few different reasons as time permits.

A friend, has a computer which is getting cranky, and so I wanted to make a bootable SATA SSD that I could send him.  At one point, I got things to the point where it would boot a Debian and a Devuan OS.  In the last few days, the Debian (2 different kernels) versions stall in the boot process.  But I have not investigated why.

So, I booted this DVD refracta image which had NVMe support.  On a different computer than I had successfully used this to start a Linux install.  And I kept getting displays that were 680x480.  I tried playing games with xrandr, and it kept complainging about gamma size.  I had run across a few threads on the Internet about similar problems, and I have not yet run across a thread which explains the gamma size message.  And I have seen one thread, where the OP rementioned this gamma size error, and there was no response.

So why put up an error message, that nobody has an answer to?

I ran across lots of hints about how to get out of this 640x480 efifb, and nothing worked.  I got to the UEFI shell, and it said that there were 4 modes that it would support, and I will guess that 640x480 was the lowest resolution frame buffer it would support.  But as I know nothing about UEFI shell, I seen no way to try and boot the system after setting the  UEFI system to a higher resolution mode.  If a person does change things in the UEFI shell, it does not appear to be sticky.

But, in terms of installing Refracta (Devuan) onto this new computer, the problem is that the display would pop up windows, and parts of the window were out of range.  There could be a button to click on which would do what I wanted, but as it was not displayed there was no way to get to the button.

I am hoping I found a way around this, but I am not finished yet.

But your work was a good place to start from.

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#2 2018-06-10 10:54:16

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 877  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

At the grub boot menu, press e to edit. Add a line before the linux line with the desired resolution. On my laptop, I have to use:

set gfxpayload=1366x768

Then ctrl-x to boot.

If you want it to be permanent, plug the live-usb into a running system and edit boot/grub/grub.cfg to add the resolution. You could use the above line in selected menuentries, or you could set it for all of them as I do in the example below. All the individual menuentries (not shown) have "set gfxpayload=keep".

if loadfont $prefix/font.pf2 ; then
  set gfxmode=1366x768
  insmod efi_gop
  insmod efi_uga
  insmod video_bochs
  insmod video_cirrus
  insmod gfxterm
  insmod jpeg
  insmod png
  terminal_output gfxterm
fi

background_image /boot/grub/splash.png
set menu_color_normal=light-gray/black
set menu_color_highlight=white/black
set timeout=15
<snip>

If you boot with the right resolution, and the graphical refractainstaller still has buttons off-screen, it may be a gtk2/gtk3 problem. Let me know if that's the case. (I've only seen that with refractasnapshot.) One way around that is to use the cli refractainstaller. The other way is to use yad compiled for gtk2 - http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/file … _packages/

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#3 2018-06-10 14:24:23

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

I had meant to use the cli installer, but that isn't what I ended up using.

I don't remember seeing your use of gfxpayload to change efifb size.  I suspect that at least on some hardware, that a person might find that some sizes are accessible and some are not.  I'll see if I can find the time to play with this some more.  It is now spring moving into summer, and I've got plants to take care of, deer to chase away, fences to build and tree to plant.

I had tried looking into making X scrollable, but that didn't work either for me.  Most of the threads on the Internet mentioning this gamma size problem with xrandr, at some point talk about rebooting.  From a LiveCD, that doesn't help much.  :-)  Some of what I tried involved writing a xorg.conf file, and then doing

killall Xorg

to get a new xserver.

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this.  Have a great day!

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#4 2018-06-10 20:23:08

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 877  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

init 1 then ctrl-d might take the place of a reboot.

If you have too many deer, you should invite some to dinner. (Assuming you have a big freezer.)

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#5 2018-06-11 00:16:30

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

I thought I had finished installing Devuan (Jessie/Ascii) to the NVMe (GPT partitioned).  But my BIOS/UEFI only seems to recognize it as a legacy device, not as a UEFI device.  I had installed rEFInd for a boot manager (largely to learn more about this other thing).  I suppose I could install grub-efi and see if that makes a difference.  How much analyzing does the UEFI do, to determine what boot devices are present?

I have a friend in SE Manitoba.  He keeps telling my to invite bambi to dinner.  I think you two went to the same school.  :-)

The last number I have (which is a few years old), is that there are 50 deer within a radius of about 1 mile.  I don't see them in the summer (to warm I think), but in the winter I have close to 10 moose in the vicinity.

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#6 2018-06-11 11:33:06

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 877  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

How much analyzing does the UEFI do, to determine what boot devices are present?

Ha! This question presumes some consistency from one uefi implementation to the next. On mine, F12 brings up a boot device menu with HDD, USB, Optical and Network. The USB line shows the thumb drives that are uefi-ready, but is empty when I try one that only boots with bios. This is a laptop, so there's only one internal drive.

Running efibootmgr shows all the bootloaders on the efi partition. There's one for each installed system (except for where I didn't let the installer add a bootloader) and those don't get deleted if I remove an installed system (by wiping a partition, for instance.) Whichever was installed last is first in the boot order.

Can you change the order of the hard drives if you go into the computer setup?
Have you previously booted any linux from this nvme drive on this computer?

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#7 2018-06-11 16:54:49

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

No, I haven't booted any Linux from the NVMe drive.  I can change the order drives are searched through, I had tried moving the NVMe up to first.  There is lots of storage on the LAN, so I could back up that device to a disk somewhere, and install a MBR based Linux.  I would hope that an image based backup of /dev/nvme0n1 would be sufficient.

Oh well, it's not raining and my coffeebreak is over.  Time to get back to work.

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#8 2018-06-11 22:53:15

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 877  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

Re-reading this thread...

But my BIOS/UEFI only seems to recognize it as a legacy device, not as a UEFI device.

If the motherboard is set to uefi, it will look for bootloaders on the efi partition, which must be fat32 with esp and boot flags. If you use the version of refractainstaller currently in ascii, it will complain if there's no proper efi partition, and if there's more than one, it will give you a choice of which one to use. (Which may or may not be the one your motherboard chooses to use.)

Are you using one of the isos I made with the ascii-backports kernel? (I think it was 4.12 or 4.13.) Ryzen needs newer kernels than the stock ascii kernel.

If it turns out that your hardware won't let you boot from the nvme disk, you could probably just move the /boot dir to its own partition on a sata drive. Or maybe it only wants the efi partition on a different drive. (Just making guesses here.)

And if you're using gpt partitioning with legacy boot, you need to make a special partition, >1MB unformatted, with bios_grub flag (in gparted) or ef02 (in gdisk), otherwise grub-install will fail.

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#9 2018-06-14 14:47:06

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

The cli installer notices is a UEFI environment, and directs me to refractainstaller-uefi.  The bigger screen resolution is noticable.  Running refractainstaller-uefi, appears not to be cli.

The disk is partitioned as
nvme0n1p1  EFI
nvme0n1p2 /boot
nvme0n1p3 /
nvme0n1p4 /usr
nvme0n1p5 /var
nvme0n1p6 /opt
There is swap space on a hard disk.  Eventually there will be /tmp, /var/log, /usr/local and /home on the hard disk.

So, I set or unset options to work with what I have already done.

The next step wants me to choose one of the two EFI partitions in the system.  I try to pick the nvme0n1p1, but both partitions seem to be chosen.

Next it wants me to choose a root partition (nvme0n1p3), but it never does display any partitions for me to choose from.

And that's where I have stopped for now.  I am going to guess that there is a bug in the code for choosing which EFI partition to use (eventually I will remove the SATA SSD which has the other EFI partition), and a bug for choosing which partition to use for the root partition.

The kernel for this installer DVD is 3.16.0.

I seen email from the Devuan project a day or so ago, informing me that ASCII (2.0) had been released.  I have a copy from bittorrent.  I tried looking to see if it had nvme and/or uefi support, and was not successful at tracking this down.  If that installer is better to try, I can do that.

At the moment, I think I will manually mount all the partitions at /mnt (or below /mnt), and mount another partition on the hard disk somewhere else and then make a tarball of what I have there on the hard disk.

I had done an install to a Ryzen 1600x with nvme SSD quite a while ago with this 3.16 based disk.  Or, I thought I had.  I don't think I have had 2 refracta disks, and somehow I picked the old one for this latest install?

I have the amd64 installer DVD being burned on another machine.

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#10 2018-06-14 15:09:49

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

I booted the ASCII DVD in a UEFI manner to graphical/rescue.  Console F1 has a message about fixing fbdev (xf86gamma).

The system asks me for the root partition, so I point at nvme0n1p3.  It asks about a boot partition, is I point at nvme0n1p2.  It asks about EFI partition, so I point at nvme0n1p1 (for /boot/efi).

It then asks about starting a shell in the root partition.  But so far no questions about /usr and /var partitions, so I am going to mount those manually from console F2 before answering the question.

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#11 2018-06-14 16:54:38

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

Click through the question, and get a message that I have to mount those things manually anyway.  :-)

Go to adjust partitioning of the hard disk with fdisk.  There were 2 partitions of about 30G each, on a 1TB disk (well, 931+GB).  Delete both of those.  Set a 32G(p), a 10G(p) and two 8G(1p, 1e) partitions up.  That should total 58G.  Go to set aside most of what is left for a /home, and fdisk tells me that all the space on the device has been allocated.

Probably me not remembering how to set up MBR with fdisk.  So, used parted and managed to get an unaligned partition the first time through.

The UEFI/BIOS still gives me no choice of a UEFI boot after having installed grub-efi-amd64.  But, with the hard disk partitioned, I can now save my tarball, and then try to make a bootable legacy Linux on the NVMe SSD.

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#12 2018-06-14 20:10:29

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

Okay, booted into the graphical install Devuan-Ascii DVD, blew away the gpt partitioning of the NVMe SSD, and partitioned a singl;e 20GB MBR partition, and installed Devuan into it.  I am almost finished, just grub to install.

It asks me, I've noticed that you have 2 other OS installed on this computer (on the SATA SSD which is /dev/sda).  Do you want me to write to the MBR of the _FIRST_ disk?

What pray tell, is the first disk?  /dev/nvme0n1p1 sorts before /dev/sda*.  The SATA SSD is partitioned with a gpt partition scheme, which includes a protective MBR (I believe).

It would be nicer, if the query we define what it thinks the first disk is.

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#13 2018-06-14 20:25:36

ghaverla
Member
From: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-19
Posts: 96  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

And then the install script bring up the next page, where it lets me choose where to install grub (to the flagged bootable single partition on the NVMe), which also happens to be the first one they list.

I take the install media out as instructed, reboot, the UEFI boot screen I choose to legacy boot the NVMe, and up comes Devuan Ascii.  Check what is mounted, and it is just what I installed.

Reboot, go into the UEFI/BIOS, and it still doesn't give me the option of UEFI booting the NVMe SSD.

So, I guess I boot some recovery thing, repartition the NVMe with GPT and set things up about the way they were before, and see what happens  then.

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#14 2018-06-15 15:01:37

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 877  

Re: fsmithred - observation on Refracta - EFI frame buffer

I'm surprised the live installer didn't display the nvme disk/partitions. That's been in there since 9.2.1. Support for uefi in the cli installer was added in 9.3-something. Currently, 9.4.2 is in ascii. If you use that version (graphical) and it doesn't show the nvme, please let me see the error log. (if you start it from terminal instead of from the apps menu, please add the -d option for a debug log.)

The efi partition selection window should work correctly in the latest versions. There's still the problem of knowing which disk is first. If the bios/uefi provides a boot device menu (F12 or other key may do it) you can see which disk the motherboard wants to use, and you probably have to use that one.

For uefi, you must use gpt partitioning.

Refracta Installer will let you have separate partitions for other directories. In the graphical installer, it's in the Options menu, and for the cli installer, there's an option in the config file. It's a bit of a hack - the system gets installed first, and then those directories get copied to the additional partitions, and the originals get deleted. If you're installing an encrypted system, don't use this feature. The additional partitions won't be encrypted.

3.16 kernel is in jessie. Ascii has 4.9. Which iso are you using?

Here's an updated iso with ascii-backports 4.16 kernel and new refractainstaller -
http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/file … 5_1409.iso

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