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I'm having trouble with my current bootloader GRUB on Ubuntu 12.04. Sometimes it takes forever too boot, other times it wont find the kernel image. My system uses UEFI to boot, is there a UEFI alternative to GRUB?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've written a set of Web pages on this topic:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/efi-bootloaders/

Briefly, boot loader options are:

  • GRUB 2
  • Fedora's patched GRUB Legacy
  • ELILO
  • The kernel's built-in EFI stub loader

Any of these programs can load a kernel into memory and execute it. In addition, there are separate boot managers available, which present menus of boot options:

  • gummiboot
  • rEFIt
  • rEFInd

These are usually paired with the EFI stub loader, which lacks a menu of its own. (GRUB 2, GRUB Legacy, and ELILO all have their own built-in boot menus, although ELILO's can only select between Linux kernels, not between kernels and other OSes.) If you like, though, you could use a boot manager with GRUB or ELILO, and use the boot manager just to select between Linux and another OS.

As a general rule, people who switch away from GRUB tend to gravitate toward the EFI stub loader, usually in conjunction with rEFInd, or occasionally gummiboot. The EFI stub loader is included in 3.3.0 and later kernels, so you don't need to do anything special to install it. Assuming you can boot into Linux, installing rEFInd should be easy -- just install the Debian package on its download page. gummiboot is harder because the developers don't make a Debian package (or any sort of binary) available. rEFIt is no longer being maintained (rEFInd is a fork of rEFIt, though). In practice, EFI bugs can sometimes complicate matters, no matter what software you select.

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I confirm that rEFInd is one of the most usables. –  user170534 Jun 28 '13 at 3:09
    
@rod-smith Thanks. I'll try the efi stub with rEFInd. How do I update the kernel image to 3.3+? I recently ran a boot-repair and I reverted back to a 3.2 kernel, the default one that comes with the live cd. is it in a repository? –  Victor Alejandro Martinez Jun 28 '13 at 5:58
    
The Boot Repair utility should not have deleted any kernels, although it might have removed them from the GRUB menu. rEFInd auto-detects kernels on each boot, so if you had a 3.3.0+ kernel before, rEFInd should detect it. You could try looking for the kernel files in /boot to see what's there -- kernel files normally begin with the string vmlinuz. If you don't have a more recent kernel, check here for some pointers on updating. –  Rod Smith Jun 28 '13 at 16:56
    
rEFInd is the easiest to get up and running, most straightforward, and easiest to manage, by far! –  Hugo Sep 22 '13 at 23:08
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This wiki page describes your various options for EFIBootLoaders in Ubuntu. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EFIBootLoaders

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I'M curious, when it says "...loads kernel + initrd using EFI, hence only supports VFAT or, via EFI drivers, ext2, ext3, ReiserFS, HFS+, or ISO-9660" is it talking about the EFI partition or the root partition? Because my root partition is ext4. –  Victor Alejandro Martinez Jun 28 '13 at 6:01
    
If I remember correctly it is just the EFI partition. ext4 on your root partition should be fine. –  David Jun 28 '13 at 16:18
    
For ELILO, the kernel must reside on a filesystem that the EFI supports. That's FAT or (on Macs) HFS+; however, separate EFI filesystem drivers are available for ext2/3fs, ext4fs, ReiserFS, Btrfs, HFS+, and ISO-9660, so you can use any of these with ELILO. Similar comments apply to rEFInd and gummiboot, but only when they load kernels directly (as is common with both); these programs can both chainload to GRUB or some other boot loader that can read other filesystems, provided that the chainloaded boot loader is on a supported filesystem. –  Rod Smith Sep 23 '13 at 18:09
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