Manjaro usb with ia32 efi support

Hi,

I am trying to install Manjaro in a netbook with an Atom CPU. So far, quite painful, with no success after 3-4 hours, and I am near to give up.

Trying to boot from the Uefi shell I discovered the incompatibility of ia32 efi. The CPU is x86_64, but the UEFI only 32bits.

I read some posts online, and the only thing I tried was to download the bootia32.efi and copy it to the EFI partition of the live usb. Then, using the uefi shell, executing it, allowing me to use a grub2 shell.

I don’t know how to use properly the grub, but so far I achieve to start booting but with many errors, and finally, freezed (no GUI at all).

I did configfile (hd0)\loader\entries\manjaro-x86_64.conf, altough the title and options were not recognized. I also wrote those options after the linux line.

Oof… I have dealt with these types of systems before… I will try to write up a guide soon. Just hang tight. It took me a few days to figure out how to install any type of Linux on these mixed systems… I was successful in the end!

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The Manjaro x32 ISO is compatible with UEFI32. That should work well enough to see if you like Manjaro on your device. I’ve installed it on my Asus T100CHI (Atom baytrail). There aren’t many distros that are compatible out of the box with UEFI32.

Most distros require hacking the ISO to add a boot strap (bootia32.efi) and the 32bit efi grub modules (/boot/grub/i386-efi/). See if this post from another forum helps you find those pieces for your liveUSB. Grub doesn’t care if the distro is 32 or 64 bit, but grub’s modules need to match the bit size of the device’s UEFI.

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I would appreciate if you can just give some files/list of steps to modify the manjaro iso, in case it can help you to avoid writing a guide now.

Would be interesting to know which steps are necessary to modify/add/remove in a guide like this https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php?title=Manjaro-tools#buildiso to be able to boot in a x86 EFI.

I have tried previously Manjaro, and I like it (I use it in other PCs). But I wouldn’t move to Linux in a netbook if I have to use x86 in a x86_64 CPU. It degrades considerably the performance in many tasks.

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Like I said, my method is a hack. The main challenge is modifying Manjaro's ISO image on the liveUSB. Etcher creates an ISO9660 format USB, which fills the liveUSB (no space left for adding files.) I start by making the liveUSB (FAT32 formatted) with Unetbootin. The bootia32.efi from the Manjaro x32 will only read ISO9660 formatted liveUSB, so I took /EFI/BOOT/bootia32.efi from a debian based distro that does support UEFI32 OOTB. I also copied the /boot/grub/i386-efi/ folder from the same debian distro liveUSB. (The MX-Linux 18.1 ISO (64 bit) has the necessary UEFI32 files. Edit: Sparky Linux might be a better source) Once you boot the modified Manjaro liveUSB, check that efibootmgr is installed efibootmgr -v. Install it if it is missing. efibootmgr is necessary for installing grub.

Updated Steps: (Edited 2019/10/9: remove references to MX-Linux)
Download Manjaro 64 bit ISO of your choice and Manjaro32
Burn Manjaro 64bit ISO to USB stick with Unetbootin
copy bootia32.efi* to /efi/boot/
copy folder /boot/grub/i386-efi (from Manjaro32) to liveUSB /boot/grub/
Edit: Make sure that the liveUSB stick LABEL matches (e.g. M1810rc5, or MJRO1804...)
... what is expected by grub in /boot/grub/kernel.cfg
boot liveUSB
[optional internet USB dongle]
check for efibootmgr
install
---make sure Calamares is pointing to the EFI drive before installing. It might default to an SD card instead of the on-board storage.

*Note: the bootia32.efi is from the old Google+ group for running Ubuntu on the Asus T100 2-in-1 baytrail laptop. Directions to roll your own can be found here, though these are not Arch instructions...

The proper way to fix this would be to spin an ISO. That involves learning curves I haven't mastered.

A number of these Atom devices lack full hardware support OOTB. A wifi or ethernet USB dongle can be very helpful.

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Great, this is another procedure I could try.
Thanks.

Upstream arch (for as much as, yes, I know, we aren’t using the same boot chain anymore) is waiting on syslinux.

As for manjaro: https://github.com/calamares/calamares/issues/1039

Ok. The guide is ready. If something does not work, feel free to leave a comment.

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If you want to try it out, the tutorial I just posted should get you to 64 bit.

You would have to probably add the core repository from manjaro32, then build the ISO with the 32bit grub. I’m not sure whether this would cause issues as i’ve not tried this. What Manjaro needs to do if it wants to support this, is it needs to package the i386-efi folder in it’s 64 bit grub package…

The difference between our methods is where to get the extra files and how to assemble the liveUSB. If the UEFI32 device can find /efi/boot/bootia32.efi and grub can find /boot/grub/i386-efi/ (it’s 32 bit modules), the liveUSB will boot.

You are correct; the i386-efi folder is all that is necessary for the 64 bit ISO’s to install grub for a UEFI32 system. I’ve done the transplant and Calamares succeeded installing grub for Manjaro 64 bit, as long as efibootmgr was installed before installing Manjaro.

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Since this seems to be used a lot in netbooks, I would not be surprised if such a config is heard of again in an upcoming device…

I’ve suggested supporting UEFI32 in various threads for quite a long time. Jonathon indulged me for Manjaro32 and I am grateful! Philm would need to be persuaded for 64 bit ISO’s.

My guess is that the newly enabled devices would cause some additional support issues. Many Atom devices are not fully supported by the kernel. Some additional configuration and sometimes drivers are needed to get wifi or bluetooth working … But I always point out that lot of these win32 devices were made by Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc.

He is amazing. Taking on the whole Manjaro32 project, while being super active on the forum is dedication! Anyway, the guide is up… Feel free to make your own using your method, and link it to mine if you like, or suggesting edits to mine.

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