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« Surface Pro 3 - For anyone who asks | Main | Get your Karma back with NVM »

Ubuntu on EFI-based Surface Pro 3 - My thoughts...

Let me first start with the blog equivalent of a huge curse storm:



I gave up on dual-boot. Mostly it was because I had nowhere safe to turn. I could boot Windows 10, a preview release, which doesn't work well with the Surface Pro 3, or I could TRY to boot Linux, which doesn't boot. Fail.

So, I decided to load Windows 8.1 back up again. But I couldn't easily. Why? Because I still had an existing Windows partition, and because of that, it would always load back Windows 10 with my downloaded restore image. I thought I was hosed, and found lots of people complaining about it. But it turns out I had to use diskpart.exe from my boot drive and clean the boot disk completely. This made it re-partition, and then I could install Windows 8.1. PHEW. It's VMWare for me for any Ubuntu-foolery.

Back to the story...

ok, with that out of my system....

EFI - Eww, For[insert-your-diety]sake, I [don't understand who architected this]

Ok, I'm a geezer. The kind of guy whose teenage sons think "what a fat old slob."  But in that slobbiness is a geek who doesn't give up lightly on his projects. 

I'm about to give up on my project.

But somewhere along the line, Microsoft decided to screw us up. Royally. It seems that the screwup is the EFI bios.

EFI is a new, lockable booting system. You can disable boot security, and then you should be able to load your favorite OS or dual boot.  But, when Microsoft comes along with a firmware update, they decide to kill your boot sector. Screw you, Microsoft. What the hell are you thinking?

So, you can have a nice, working Linux instance, until your Windows updates come along and trash it. WTF. Who the hell thinks up this stuff, mad scientists?

I had such a nice system set up:

1. Boot into Windows 10, read my kindle, play music, work on Photoshop

2. Boot into Ubuntu native with Grub2, get all dirty with tech, yo.

3. Run VMWare Workstation on my Windows 10 instance, attach to the SD card and run my software almost as fast as native (yeah, but not completely as we've only got 8GB of ram on this thing)

So, somewhere after I reached #3 nirvana, a Firmware update went and trashed Grub, and now I'm back to no-matter-what-I'll-ignore-you-while-you-try-to-recover-your-grub-config-world. I've even tried re-installing Ubuntu completely on the partition, and now I can't figure out where the hell to put the Grub boot loader - is it /dev/sda, /dev/sda2 (the EFI partition), /dev/sda4 (the Windows partition), what?

Seriously, someone should take the person who decided to overwrite the boot sector out and [scene missing].

Making the tablet safe for democracy, one boot at a time

#$@^@#$%#$% (again I start cursing).

So, what gives Microsoft the feeling that they can just come along and lock us down? I've been a mac user for a decade, but only because it has a) better apps, b) UNIX, and c) better hardware. The surface is an awesome piece of kit physically, but what a waste it is if you can't use it as "god" intended - and since I'm agnostic, "god" is the developer. Me. The guy who purchased it.

Make it stop, please!

Hey, software companies. Stop your 'let's control the horizontal and the vertical' crap. It's really not necessary. Or at least give us a switch that turns off the stupid training wheels.

Why is EFI so damn hard to work with? Why can't we have the option to hack on our own machines? Somebody better start thinking about innovation before we all just have to sheeple ourselves into Windum 11, which will use a big crayon and give you a free binkie. Because I'm just not having this "trash your other crap" party anymore.


And boot-repair doesn't help

So, you use Boot Repair. It runs all the way through, then fails miserably. It even warns you about EFI - like telling you that you just passed the gates of hell and are headed to the abyss. Anything you check there? Ignored.

I've turned off the malware checks on startup, I've turned off secure boot, I've tried sprays and powders. Nothing works. Sigh. Yay me.

If I find the answer, I'll post it. Up top. And do a mea culpa.

Happy hunting, folks.

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