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  #1  
Old 15th March 2012, 04:40 AM
srs5694 Offline
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linuxfirefox
New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

If you're using Linux on a Mac or a UEFI-capable PC, you may be interested in my latest programming project, which is a fork of the rEFIt boot manager. Unfortunately, rEFIt hasn't been updated for two years, its original author has stopped responding to queries, and the program has a number of bugs and limitations, especially on UEFI PCs. This combination of factors has motivated me to create a significantly modified version, which I've now released as rEFInd:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/
https://sourceforge.net/projects/refind/

Both rEFIt and rEFInd are EFI-based boot loaders, so they aren't (yet) of interest to people using BIOS-based PCs. (UEFI is becoming standard, though, so your next computer is likely to be UEFI-based.) These programs are boot managers, not boot loaders; that is, they give you a choice of booting via boot loaders provided by the target OS. Features of rEFInd that set it apart from ELILO, GRUB Legacy, and GRUB 2 on EFI include:
  • A graphical, icon-based selection of your boot OS
  • Automatic detection of all installed EFI boot loaders at run time, which simplifies boot loader configuration and maintenance
  • The ability to launch an EFI shell (which you must obtain separately)
  • A bootable CD image that you can use for recovery if a new OS installation or other problem prevents you from using your chosen boot loader

When booting Linux, rEFInd relies on another Linux-capable boot loader, such as ELILO or GRUB; however, developments in the 3.3 kernel series will enable the kernel to boot as an EFI application, which will eliminate this need. You can boot such a kernel directly with rEFInd, without relying on another boot loader. In my tests (on five systems), this combination has been more reliable than any other Linux EFI boot loader, although ELILO and GRUB Legacy both come close.

Anyhow, feel free to check it out and post back or e-mail me with your comments!
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  #2  
Old 16th March 2012, 03:42 AM
fpmurphy Offline
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windows_7firefox
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

Quote:
Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
Developments in the 3.3 kernel series will enable the kernel to boot as an EFI application, which will eliminate this need. !
and that will eliminate the need for GRUB2 for most people!
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  #3  
Old 16th March 2012, 04:49 AM
srs5694 Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmurphy View Post
and that will eliminate the need for GRUB2 for most people!
Correct -- at least, if you've got another boot manager that's good enough. rEFInd can do the job, and that's one of the reasons I forked it from rEFIt, which can't quite do it. In theory, such a boot manager could be built into the EFI itself, although the ones I've seen all fall far short of that mark. Without a flexible boot manager, the kernel's EFI stub loader is awkward to use, since it requires you to type the kernel's name, initrd name, root device filename, and other kernel options at an EFI shell.

BTW, I mis-spoke in this thread's title: rEFInd is not a boot loader; it's a boot manager. The distinction is important on EFI -- boot loaders control the handoff from the firmware to the kernel, whereas boot manager present a menu of boot choices to the user. LILO, GRUB Legacy, and GRUB 2 all handle both these functions, so the distinction isn't critical when discussing them. ELILO is mostly a boot loader, although it can do boot management duties in selecting between Linux kernels and option sets. rEFInd, by contrast, is a boot manager only, not a boot loader. The 3.3 kernel's EFI stub support is (in a sense) a boot loader, but not a boot manager. The EFI firmware should include a boot manager, but the details are implementation-specific, and as I said, the implementations are often pretty poor.
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  #4  
Old 19th March 2012, 04:08 PM
srs5694 Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

An update: I've released version 0.2.1, which adds new semi-automatic detection of Linux kernels that include the new EFI stub loader support. The upshot of this is that, once you've set up your kernel directory on the ESP with a configuration file, kernel upgrades become a snap: Just drop a new kernel and its matching initrd file into the directory, and rEFInd detects it on the next boot. Of course, Fedora's kernel packaging scripts reconfigure GRUB if you use that, so this is mainly of interest if you compile your own kernel or if those scripts don't work right on your system.
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  #5  
Old 23rd April 2012, 02:23 AM
srs5694 Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

Another update: I've released version 0.3.0, which moves the program from "alpha" to "beta" status.
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  #6  
Old 23rd April 2012, 04:29 AM
theskunk Offline
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macossafari
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

I'm trying to set up a triple boot (OSX Lion, Windows 7 64, and Fedora 64). I *think* i've got it mostly working, however after the windows installation, i'm somewhat back to square one. I had to run a gpt-sync from a live ISO of Refit in order to get the windows 7 installer to run, and now I cannot see my linux instance. When I reinstall grub, things come back, but then I lose my windows instance...

I've looked at the configuration file, and i'm not sure how to specify a hard disk to pass the boot process to. I have no problem with having windows statically set, but feel that having Fedora able to automatically update the boot loader (as opposed to having the initrd statically set in rEFInd) might be a better idea at this point.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks!
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  #7  
Old 23rd April 2012, 04:11 PM
srs5694 Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

It sounds like you might have partitioning problems. My recommendation is that you start a new thread that completely describes your problem, since this one's title isn't conducive to attracting the eyes of those who want to help you solve your problem. In your new thread, include the RESULTS.txt file that the Boot Info Script produces; that should give us a start. Also, please say precisely what you mean by "I cannot see my linux instance" and "I lose my windows instance;" it's unclear what you mean by that. (For instance, do you mean their icons disappear from rEFIt, their icons disappear from rEFInd, their entries disappear from GRUB, you can no longer see them in a partitioning tool, etc.?) Feel free to PM me with a pointer to your new thread.
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  #8  
Old 24th September 2012, 05:28 PM
MacWeb Offline
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macossafari
Re: New EFI boot loader available: rEFInd

Hi,

I am having issues with your rEFInd guide.

I have a thread in Ubuntu forum.

Would you please take a look and see if you can give me any solution ?

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2061326

Thanks in advance,

Anthony
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