Linux – Which linux distributions offer seamless support for UEFI and an LVM root out of the box


My new ultrabook (an Asus UX32VD) requires UEFI in order to boot from the internal harddisk. I use an LVM partition which contains my root fs and dual-boot Windows 8. I somehow managed to get this working on Sabayon Linux, however the overall process was pretty painful, and system upgrades keep breaking my configuration because everything depends on a hand-configured kernel and a hand-crafted GRUB2 configuration.

This causes a lot of hassle and distractions for me, so I am considering to switch to a different distribution. However, I cannot find any concrete resources that precisely document the state of UEFI support in the popular distributions.

As an example, the length of the Ubuntu wiki page on UEFI suggests that installing on UEFI systems is a non-trivial process, and this AskUbuntu thread on encrypted LVM on UEFI systems suggests that LVM might also be a problem.

I know that this question seems somewhat open-ended, so I'll formulate concrete questions:

  1. Are there any Linux distributions with an installer that supports installing to an LVM root in a UEFI boot setting where Windows 8 is dual-booted?
  2. Which distributions support UEFI without having to jump through hoops in order to bootstrap into a UEFI-booted system or requiring manual configuration of the boot manager?

Best Answer

  • Fedora 18 best matches your specified criteria; however, the new version of Anaconda was pushed out before it was ready. It's probably OK for a fairly typical installation, but if you want to do anything unusual with your partitions, it will be a big hassle. (Note that Fedora uses LVM by default, so your desire for LVM may not qualify as "unusual.") Fedora 17 is an option if you're willing to disable Secure Boot, at least for the installation. (You can add Secure Boot support after installing, but this requires jumping through extra hoops.)

    Ubuntu supports EFI, too, but not as well as Fedora does, and most Ubuntu versions don't support LVM out of the box, so getting it set up will be a hassle. You'd need version 12.10 to get Secure Boot support, except by disabling it for the installation and then enabling it afterwards, as with Fedora 17.

    OpenSUSE also supports EFI, but not yet Secure Boot, AFAIK (again, except for enabling it after the fact). I'm a little foggier on the OpenSUSE EFI support details, but my impression is that it's a little less robust than Fedora's level of support.

    Another option is to stick with what you've got. You may be able to improve the kernel upgrade hassles by switching from GRUB 2 to my rEFInd boot manager, which requires little or no ongoing maintenance, even to pick up new kernels. For best results, you'll need a 3.3.0 or later kernel configured with the built-in EFI stub loader. See the rEFInd documentation page on booting Linux for details. Note that the documentation is thorough; it's actually much simpler than you might think just by looking at the length of the text.