debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-08 18:03

installing debian-live-10.7.0-i386-kde+nonfree.iso

Attempting to build debian on an old x86 notebook, installation fails with an informative message,

bootloader-config failed, package grub-efi-amd64 is not available.

this looks like a goof related to the fact that this is a 32bit machine, but
whatever - what do I do about it?
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2021-01-08 20:20

Are you sure it's a 32-bit machine? Have you tried booting a 64-bit live ISO image?

Perhaps try the multi-arch netinstall image: https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unof ... ch/iso-cd/
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-08 21:30

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Are you sure it's a 32-bit machine? Have you tried booting a 64-bit live ISO image?

Perhaps try the multi-arch netinstall image: https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unof ... ch/iso-cd/


Yes, it's a 32 bit oldie
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-08 21:32

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Are you sure it's a 32-bit machine? Have you tried booting a 64-bit live ISO image?

Perhaps try the multi-arch netinstall image: https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unof ... ch/iso-cd/


One of the problems I'm dealing with is that the network needs "non free" firmware which is not installed. So I have to do this without network.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2021-01-08 21:46

The image to which I have linked already includes non-free firmware. Do you have a Broadcom card?

And please don't full quote unnecessarily, it degrades the readability of the thread.

EDIT: you can use the "edit" button instead of posting twice in succession.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-08 22:31

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:The image to which I have linked already includes non-free firmware. Do you have a Broadcom card?


Yea, it's a broadcom card, the message says it needs brcm/brcmxxxxx.bin and I can load it from removable media, but
I've so far failed to guess exactly how that can be done. I tried adding the requested file to the root of the iso image, but that
has no visible effect. Unplugging the memory stick I'm installing from and inserting a new stick also seems ineffective.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2021-01-08 22:49

The firmware files need to be placed under a /firmware/ directory on the removable medium: https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/ ... 04.en.html
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-11 20:00

They also apparently need to be packaged in a .deb wrapper, whatever that is. The raw .bin files
are just ignored.

The incantation I found that eventually worked is to install without network, then copy the .bin file
to /lib/firmware/brcm/
reboot and the network works!

My particular card also needed a text file with a lot of parameters, which I also found.

Now for the payload: the necessary files are
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 400864 Sep 23 01:11 brcmfmac43340-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1620 Jul 5 2020 brcmfmac43340-sdio.txt

which can be acquired at
https://github.com/wkennington/linux-fi ... 0-sdio.bin
https://gist.github.com/spacemeowx2/3fb ... f99e7554b5
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby p.H » 2021-01-11 21:41

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:The firmware files need to be placed under a /firmware/ directory on the removable medium

Or in the root directory, as mentioned by the same source.

ddyer wrote:They also apparently need to be packaged in a .deb wrapper, whatever that is. The raw .bin files are just ignored.

This is not correct. The Debian buster installer can use raw firmware files. But I observed that its search algorithm is flawed [1] and has more chances to find firmware packages than raw firmware files. A workaround is to manually mount the filesystem containing firmwares on /media.

[1] The search for firmware files stops at the first volume which can be mounted. The search for firmware packages stops at the first volume which can be mounted and contains *.{deb,udeb,ude} files in its root or /firmware directory. My experience is that success or failure depends on the enumeration order of the installer and firmware media.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-11 22:11

p.H wrote:[1] The search for firmware files stops at the first volume which can be mounted. The search for firmware packages stops at the first volume which can be mounted and contains *.{deb,udeb,ude} files in its root or /firmware directory. My experience is that success or failure depends on the enumeration order of the installer and firmware media.


Keep in mind that this interaction occurs in the middle of an raw install process, without internet access. While a file name is mentioned, no path or packaging
is mentioned. Plugging and replugging a different memory stick is going to disrupt the installation in progress. I tried a lot of combinations of putting the .bin
in various directories (/ /bfms /firmware /firmware/bfms ....) and never succeeded. I also never succeeded in ejecting and inserting media, then switching back
to the original install media.

It showed the file names it was looking for - that's indespensible, but it would help a lot if it also showed the paths it searched.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby p.H » 2021-01-12 09:27

ddyer wrote:Plugging and replugging a different memory stick is going to disrupt the installation in progress.

I did not suggest doing this. Of course you cannot unplug the installer stick, and unplugging and replugging the firmware stick is useless. For instance you can try to swap USB ports before booting the installer so that the firmware stick is enumerated first (as /dev/sdb and the installer as /dev/sdc for example, /dev/sda being the internal drive).

ddyer wrote:I tried a lot of combinations of putting the .bin
in various directories (/ /bfms /firmware /firmware/bfms ....) and never succeeded.

As already explained, the installer looks for firmware only in / and /firmware.

ddyer wrote:it would help a lot if it also showed the paths it searched.

The only path it could show would be the destination path, which is irrelevant. See above for the search path.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-12 20:39

While I'm complaining about installers, two more things

Why is installing the boot loaded the very last thing? until it is installed, the system is not bootable,
and if the installation fails in any way, you have to redo the entire installation.

The step of connecting to WIFI during install seems only to be able to join
an open network - wpa always fails. Also, once connected to an open network,
dhcp always fails and the network has to be configured manually.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby p.H » 2021-01-12 21:00

ddyer wrote:Why is installing the boot loaded the very last thing?

This question is flawed. The bootloader installation is not the last step.
It is a late step because it depends on earlier steps.

ddyer wrote:until it is installed, the system is not bootable

Wrong. The system can be booted with any other bootloader. For instance multiboot setups require only one boot loader, not one per system.

ddyer wrote:if the installation fails in any way, you have to redo the entire installation.

Wrong again. You can finish the installation, then you can repair the boot loader later.
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby ddyer » 2021-01-12 21:27

p.H wrote:
ddyer wrote:until it is installed, the system is not bootable

Wrong. The system can be booted with any other bootloader. For instance multiboot setups require only one boot loader, not one per system.

ddyer wrote:if the installation fails in any way, you have to redo the entire installation.

Wrong again. You can finish the installation, then you can repair the boot loader later.


I'm happy to hear about these options, but where can I find the necessary incantations. After
installing the bootloader fails (presumably due to some screwup related to it being an old x86
machine) I'm left with a system that won't boot. Something magic I can put on a stick?
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Re: debian x86 install failed - bootloader-config

Postby p.H » 2021-01-12 21:51

There are no incantations or magic. The installer has a rescue mode which allows to reinstall the boot loader (but that will presumably fail until the failure cause is removed) or chroot into the installed system and do whatever it takes to install the boot loader.
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