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Question Intermediate Latest update offered to install GRUB - why ?

arturasb

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May 3, 2019
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Hi.

Did anybody notice that the update from yesterday offered to install the GRUB ?
Looks like some accepted and got into problem (e.g., ). To me it looked suspicious, I did not let to install GRUB and my laptop is still booting normally.

Why the GRUB was offered ?

Regards
ArtūrasB.
 

derpOmattic

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That has always been the case, and is why I run sudo apt purge grub-common and sudo apt-mark hold grub-common after a version upgrade. The package is still part of the ISO, and the installer will fall back on it if UEFI isn't detected.
So not suspicious, but a tiny bit annoying. Just tab down to OK and not install it, then purge the package and hold it back from updates. Actually, it was mmstick in the live chat that suggested it could be purged if you have a UEFI installation. If you do that, it won't bother you again until version upgrade time. ;)
 

arturasb

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That has always been the case, and is why I run sudo apt purge grub-common and sudo apt-mark hold grub-common after a version upgrade. The package is still part of the ISO, and the installer will fall back on it if UEFI isn't detected.
So not suspicious, but a tiny bit annoying. Just tab down to OK and not install it, then purge the package and hold it back from updates. Actually, it was mmstick in the live chat that suggested it could be purged if you have a UEFI installation. If you do that, it won't bother you again until version upgrade time. ;)
Very good! I'll dump grub as soon as I get to my laptop.
Thanks @derpOmattic !
 
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arturasb

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BTW, is there any instruction on how to restore systemd-boot for those who installed grub by mistake into UEFI sysytem ?
 

derpOmattic

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Not sure what you're referring to, but to my knowledge you either install with UEFI or Grub, and if you want to change it basically means a reinstall.

To clarify, are you saying Grub installed itself as the boot loader in Pop's EFI on update when it was originally a UEFI installation?
 

arturasb

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Not sure what you're referring to, but to my knowledge you either install with UEFI or Grub, and if you want to change it basically means a reinstall.

To clarify, are you saying Grub installed itself as the boot loader in Pop's EFI on update when it was originally a UEFI installation?
Let's say I accepted GRUB installation on an UEFI system and systemd-boot got replaced by GRUB. How do I restore systemd-boot ?
 

derpOmattic

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There has to have been a major user interaction for that to happen and not possible via dist update. I welcome any developer, or more knowledgeable person, to correct me if I'm not correct or accurate.

Some things to consider;

The Pop!_OS ISO comes packaged with systemd-boot, kernel stub and Grub, so grub is installed in Pop regardless of your installation type.

The installer will always favor a UEFI installation, but will fall back to Grub if UEFI isn't detected. If a Grub installation happens, the installer makes a MBR partition. If a UEFI installation happens it's a GPT partition. So, in order for the bootloader to actually change, UEFI-to-Grub being the example, you would have to create a MBR partition, install and configure Grub in it, flag it as boot and then turn off the UEFI boot loader.

Now, I remember back around 17.04 to 17.10, actually clicking on that dialogue and installing Grub. It didn't do anything to revert my UEFI boot loader though. I was concerned and was told I could `purge grub-common` at the time.

The first step in checking what actually happened would be to list the partitions on the disk. If it was truly a UEFI installation to begin with, and Grub took over, you will now have a MBR partition. To answer the question a little more succinctly, it's completely possible for Grub to get installed, but completely impossible for it to magically 'take over', without a truck load of purposeful action.
 
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m4l490n

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... it's completely possible for Grub to get installed, but completely impossible for it to magically 'take over', without a truck load of purposeful action.
Well, I'm one of those dumbasses that provided the truckload of interaction. I thought this was necessary because it was an update so I clicked and confirmed until breaking my system.

Is there a way of restoring it? I mean, if it's possible to go from UEFI to GRUB, then it should be possible to go back. Isn't it?
 

derpOmattic

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It would be a matter of ensuring you have the necessary UEFI Pop partitions in GPT and the correct bootloader configuration in /boot/efi. Once confirmed, you can purge grub and everything to do with it.
First up, supply the output of lsblk -o NAME,FSTYPE,FSSIZE,MOUNTPOINT. We can check what you actually have as far as partitions go.
 
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pgmer6809

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The Grub - UEFI explanation is not totally correct. For Linux Mint, and Ubuntu 18.04 for example it is normal to have a UEFI installation with GRUB. Grub has a 'signed' shim (or whatever) that it can use to install and boot in UEFI mode. In fact until I got my recent System76 laptop with Pop!OS on it, I did not even realize there WAS a systemd-boot.
Also it is possible to have GPT partitions with non UEFI installs (at least in the Linux world. Not so for Windows installs). I have several computers running in 'compatibility' mode, with non UEFI mode installs, that boot with GRUB from a GPT disk. (GPT disks are SO much nicer even if they are less than 2TB and MBR/msdos partitioning would be an option).

You create a special (small) partition for the grub code so that it does not have to reside in the MBR and the grub bootloader uses that to boot. (Note there might be some minimal code in the first sector of the GPT that can find this special partition. I think that the GPT spec allows for that, so that a GPT disk (less than 2TB) can look like an MBR disk with one big partition to non-GPT aware BIOSes. )
The GRUB people have done a good job of trying to preserve the FLOSS functionality in a UEFI/GPT world.
pgmer6809
 

derpOmattic

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Fair enough, but that is some specialized user-initiated set up. If we're talking about normal actions of the Pop installer, the above holds true still. Having said, what you mentioned is interesting and closer to spec with systemd than the usual Linux OS grub installation. The Pop devs have specifically tried to adhere to the specifications given.
 

Gnuserland

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Grub works with UEFI as well, hence I would uninstall GRUB and reinstall systemd-boot. However I saw a lot of weird thing with the updates, like kernels that were updated and then downgraded... Kernel modules that are constantly rebuild, never seen anything like that in ten years of Debian (stable, testing and sid) either in Ubuntu...
 

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