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Limine bootloader

July 25, 2022 — BarryK

Those who have installed Linux on a computer will know of GRUB, GRand Unified Bootloader, of which there are two versions, the predecessor that we now know as GRUB-Legacy and the current version, that we know as GRUB2.

GRUB-Legacy, and a variant, Grub4dos, are for BIOS-firmware x86 32-bit and 64-bit computers, whereas GRUB2 handles BIOS-firmware and UEFI-firmware computers. The latter are most x86 desktop computers and laptops manufactured since 2012.

There are other less-known bootloaders. One notable is rEFInd, which is for UEFI computers only. There are others, such as Syslinux and Clover. Some of these, such as Syslinux, have been around for a very long time.

There is a newcomer, first release in April 2020, named Limine, that, like GRUB2, supports BIOS and UEFI computers, 32-bit and 64-bit. Limine is very small, and arguably contrary to GRUB2, easy to install and use.

Limine has been adopted as the official bootloader for EasyOS, and is included in every release from 4.2.8 onwards.

EasyOS also includes a GUI frontend for Limine, named "Limine Installer", found in the "Setup" category of the menu.

If you want to install EasyOS to an internal drive in a computer, you will need a ext4 partition, to which you copy the three files 'vmlinuz', 'initrd' and 'easy.sfs', and that will become the "working partition". Also, a boot-partition is required, to install a bootloader -- and that can be GRUB2, rEFInd, Limine, or whatever.

Exactly how the previous paragraph is implemented, depends on various factors, but if you would like to get a quick appreciation, using Limine, see this tutorial:

https://easyos.org/install/how-to-install-easyos-on-a-new-ssd.html

...in that case study, the EasyOS image file already has the Limine bootloader.

However, there are other situations, such as a computer that has Windows and one (or more) of the mainstream Linux distributions installed, dual-booting. In that case, most likely the GRUB2 bootloader was installed.

Or, the computer may only have Windows. In that case, you either install another drive, as in the above case-study, or you have to create a ext4 partition in the existing drive, and maybe a second vfat boot partition.

The intention of this page is to be a jumping-off point, to pages that show how Limine can be installed and used in these different hardware and installed-OS situations.

Limine project

Firstly, here is the Limine project page:

https://github.com/limine-bootloader/limine/tree/v3.0-branch 

now for some usage scenarios...

BIOS computer with Grub4dos

This link shows Limine Installer being used to install Limine to a BIOS computer, that already has Grub4dos bootloader and various Linux installations:

https://bkhome.org/news/202207/limine-installer-version-10.html

...Limine has replaced Grub4dos. But note, it is possible to revert back to Grub4dos.

UEFI computer with Windows 10

This link shows Limine being installed to a UEFI computer that has Windows 10 and EasyOS installed, already with the rEFInd bootloader:

https://bkhome.org/news/202207/testing-limine-installer-on-a-uefi-computer.html

...Limine has replaced rEFInd. Again, it can be reverted.

UEFI computer with mainstream Linux distros

Originally, it had Windows, that I removed, and currently has two frugal installations, EasyOS and VanillaDpup, and three mainstream-Linux installations, Debian, Mint and Manjaro. The mainstream distros all installed GRUB2. Link showing Limine being installed on this computer:

https://bkhome.org/news/202207/install-limine-to-pc-with-mainline-linux-distros.html

...as stated in that post, Limine was installed to /EFI/limine/BOOTX64.EFI, and the UEFI-Setup set to make that the default boot choice. Also easy to revert, by removing that .EFI file.


more tutorials to come!


Support

Limine and the Limine Installer are not restricted to be used on EasyOS. Both will work on any 32-bit or 64-bit Linux OS. Packages and discussion are at the Puppy Forum:

https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=6406

    

Tags: install