Updated EFI GRUB2 tarball, including 64bit

I’ve updated the EFI GRUB tarball that I created for my how to install Linux on an Apple Xserve EFI only machine instructions.

The new 89MB file includes both 32bit and 64bit installers (sha1sum). For systems with a 64bit CPU, but not a 64bit EFI, installs of 64bit Linux are possible via the 32bit loader (bootia32.efi). Just boot it and select the relevant 64bit option from the GRUB menu.

It does also include a native 64bit EFI (bootx64.efi) loader which I have not been able to test because the Mac Pro I use does not have a 64bit EFI.

This version drops both Jaunty and Leonidas, but includes a newer Karmic kernel and support for Fedora 12 (Constantine). Thanks to sufehmi, there is also a sample GRUB and X.Org config file included for Debian/Ubuntu.

This is covered in my original post, but it essentially consists of the following:

Grab a suitably sized USB memory stick and let’s prepare it. Please know what device it is you’re partitioning!! I’ll use sdz just for example purposes only.
Unmount it
su -c 'umount /dev/sdz1'

Partition and format it
su -c 'parted -s /dev/sdz mklabel gpt mkpartfs EFI fat32 0% 100% toggle 1 boot'

It should now automatically mount. If not, unplug it and plug it in again, or mount it manually.

Next you can extract my tarball onto the device, ensuring that it maintains the efi/boot/ directory structure on it and not create an extra directories because of the archiver. If it’s not right, then re-arrange things and eject the device.

You should now be able to plug it into your Mac and turn it on.

Hold down the Option key (Alt key on non-Apple keyboards) until you see the boot option. It should show “EFI” on the USB stick. Boot this and you should see the GRUB menu load. Choose the distro you want to install and away you go!


13 thoughts on “Updated EFI GRUB2 tarball, including 64bit

  1. Hello there.

    I am trying to install the latest Ubuntu 10.10, and was wondering if it is possible to use this instruction, modified somewhat, and use it install using 10.10 CD?

    I’d really appreciate it if you could update the instruction for 10.10 install or the reference to where I can find more info..

  2. Hi Chris,

    I unpacked your tarball onto a FAT32 USB stick, just to get a preliminary boot, and I was able to select it from Option-boot.

    However, I just get a command prompt after I boot into it.

    I’m trying to follow your instructions to install Ubuntu Server 14.04.3 (amd64) on an XServe1,1 that has a 32-bit EFI

    However, there doesn’t seem to be a network installer for it. I’d like to use the CD or perhaps put the image into the USB drive. Any ideas?

  3. Hey Chris,

    Attempting to throw ubuntu on my Mac Pro 1,1. Can’t get the link to the tarball to work, so I’ve been trying to follow your instructions to modify Grub for EFI via a VM on my MBP. Realizing I know less and less as I get further into it, so I was hoping you still have that tarball file around somewhere to save me the hassle. If not, I can try and power through and learn something new!


  4. Thank you chris- for some reason I couldn’t get this link working but the one you just posted is running fine- must’ve been an issue with the firewall on my desktop. Laptop downloaded it just fine.


  5. Hi there,

    I’m wondering if someone could use a recent Linux OS on a 32 bits EFI Apple computer.
    I found a very nice tool to install a new Linux on my old MacPro 1,1 (2 xeon 5365 and 32 GB of Ram – a beast 😉 ) which is www dot plop dot at – but soon I reach kernel 5.10 on it, it become laggy, and could very bad performances on multi-core operations (tested with geekbench5)

    Many thanks for your reading and help if you can.

  6. Hi Paul, sorry I don’t have access to any of this hardware any more… also not many distros are 32bit either.. Good luck though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *