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#1 2023-08-15 17:48:01

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

I just tried to install devuan_daedalus_5.0.0_amd64_netinstall.iso, and it failed installing the boot loader.  As I find this is a common problem, I continued past this to the and installed a grub.cfg from a separate partition.  On reboot I get an error because Devuan defaults to UEFI, requiring the stupid FAT partition, which is not there as all my computers use ordinary BIOS.

I cannot tell why the original attempt to install the bootloader failed:  presumably, it would have asked me if using UEFI or not.  How do I recover from this, or should I give up?

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#2 2023-08-15 17:55:50

andyp67
Member
Registered: 2022-10-30
Posts: 228  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

grub is the greatest colossal joke, an unprecedented security catastrophe, and fundamentally a supremely pure definition of a piece of shit.
continue without bootloader, boot with refindflashdrive dot zip, or grub4dos, and install refind if you fancy.
If you're not EFI, use Limine, and check wizard Barry Kauler at easyos for intel.

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#3 2023-08-15 18:00:46

andyp67
Member
Registered: 2022-10-30
Posts: 228  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Personally, I wouldn't even think about installing an OS on a storage device that is not blank.
Use fdisk & delete.
cat /sys/block/hdX|sdX/size
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/whatever bs=whatcatsaid
dd if=/dev/zero /of=/dev/whatever bs=whatcatsaid
When you install perhaps you will be offered gpt

Last edited by andyp67 (2023-08-15 18:02:11)

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#4 2023-08-15 18:42:12

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Thanks @andyp67.  The drive has several partitions with different distributions [antix, void] that I do not want to distrurb.  If the Devuan installer hadn't failed, I would have declined the offer to scribble over my hand-crafted 8-line grub.cfg file.  Surely, I cannot be the only person using MBR BIOS computers?  The only faint memory was that trying to install the grub bootloader again sometime worked.

I don't even know where the "uses UEFI" flag is in a failed install, so that I could repair things.   I can't see how zeroing the start of the partition would avoid the installer crashing.

Last edited by jacksprat (2023-08-15 18:45:09)

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#5 2023-08-15 19:32:11

delgado
Member
Registered: 2022-07-14
Posts: 156  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

jacksprat wrote:

The drive has several partitions with different distributions [antix, void] that I do not want to distrurb.

There can be only ONE grub in the MBR.
Booting the respective installation and doing update-grub (or aquivalent command) should find the new installed devuan and make a boot-entry for it.

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#6 2023-08-15 20:16:33

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Thanks @delgado:  my MBR contains 3 primary, 1 extended an several partitions beyond that.  I have bootable partitions 2 and beyond, one containing Void linux from which I can run "grub-install /dev/sda" to process my grub.cfg.  I have been booting Linux like this for a decade or more on many computers.

The problem is that the Devuan installer failed in the boot loader step, which would have allowed me to tell it that I have an MBR-based system.  As a result, trying to boot /dev/sda1 [where I installed Devuan] stops during the init process, strangely BEFORE it can mount anything.  It thinks I have an UEFI system, and simply gives up [just like I am likely to do].

Devuan is not the first distribution which cannot live when MBR is encountered.  Same thing with Void Linux, where I had to edit the installer script, which was easily "hacked".

Last edited by jacksprat (2023-08-15 20:22:00)

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#7 2023-08-15 20:59:47

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,421  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

The isos will boot on uefi or bios systems depending on what the motherboard is set to do. When you boot some removable media, bring up the boot device menu and make sure you select a legacy boot option, not the uefi option. Just setting the board to boot usb or DVD first in the bios settings might not be enough to get it to boot the way you want.

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#8 2023-08-15 21:33:12

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

@fsmithred:  I have no problem booting the USB-based netinst installer, but it fails trying to install the bootloader.  It fails before I can select UEFI or MBR.  If I continue to the end, the system is left thinking that it is UEFI, and presumably looks for a FAT partition, which is not there [will never be there].

If only there was a shell script to install Devuan, then I could remove the UEFI part.  Without much investment of time, I cannot debug the Devuan installer.

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#9 2023-08-15 23:15:08

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,421  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

it fails trying to install the bootloader.  It fails before I can select UEFI or MBR.

The bootloader section of the installer does not give you a choice of uefi or bios. That choice is made when you boot the system. You can check this by booting the installer media and when you get to the first screen asking about locale, press alt-F2 to open a shell and run ls /sys/firmware/efi and if that directory exists, you booted in uefi mode.

If the boot device menu doesn't exist or doesn't give you a choice between legacy or uefi for the usb, then check your motherboard settings for the boot order or possibly whether to use legacy or uefi first on removable media.

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#10 2023-08-16 08:11:12

Camtaf
Member
Registered: 2019-11-19
Posts: 408  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Connected to the internet, or not, if not it may not install grub, I found this on one Devuan based distro that I was using - (might be worth trying).

(Probably not related but, if using GPT partitioning, I found out that you need a small (4MB) partition for the bios/boot.)

Just a couple of my thoughts. smile

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#11 2023-08-16 11:01:25

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

@fsmithred:  if I interupt Devuan installer as you indicate, then /sys/firmware/efi is indeed present.  The same when I run the Void Linux installer [live image], yet I was, as if by magic, able to go on with the installation on /dev/sda1 to create a full Void Linux system;  I just refused to let it scribble over my boot loader, which I grub-install from the safety of /dev/sda7.

So, my question remains:  why does the Devuan installer crash when /dev/sda1 is the target and is not a FAT filesystem?  No polite message saying "We would prefer if you would comply with the UEFI rules, and create a FAT partition at the start of the drive".

When I first setup this laptop, many years ago, I must have changed the BIOS settings to use MBR.  I have installed many distributions on /dev/sda1 over the years, and never had this problem.

Thanks for your patience.

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#12 2023-08-16 11:11:02

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Thanks @Camtaf:  the computer has been an MBR system from the early days.  My only recourse may be to try a Devuan-derived distribution that uses a different installer.

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#13 2023-08-16 12:08:58

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,421  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Choose 'Expert install' from the boot menu of the installer isos and you will get more questions, including one that allows you to proceed without installing a bootloader.

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#14 2023-08-16 13:03:23

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

Thanks @fsmithred, I tried that but missed the option to skip the bootloader option;  I will give it another go.

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#15 2023-08-16 15:04:15

jacksprat
Member
Registered: 2017-11-10
Posts: 50  

Re: Devuan 5.0 netinstall failed [loading boot loader]

@fsmithred:  I just re-installed with mixed success.  I was able to skip bootloader, and it completed without crashing. However, on reboot, it failed with a familiar error:  it was expecting a FAT filesystem [ie it thinks it is UEFI], but after ctrl-D it continues on to a login prompt.  I have been here before, perhaps when I tried to install Devuan earlier in the year [or a Devuan-derived distribution].

I just got a libreboot laptop, which was delivered with Debian-proper and [I think] UEFI;  what horrors await once I have installed "something" to replace Debian?

minor update:  my libreboot seems to be MBR-based, since using fdisk I was forced to create the 4th partition as "extended" so that 5th etc were logical partitions.  Beyond confused about the role of UEFI.

Last edited by jacksprat (2023-08-16 16:47:48)

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