BOOT fails on UEFI with 100MB initrd.img [Dell XPS 9550]

Bug #1931024 reported by TJ
22
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
initramfs-tools (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

I've been working with a user for the last 2 days on a failure to even start the kernel when installing 20.04 or 21.04 (possibly other releases) with a UEFI boot.

System is Dell XPS 9550 amd64 with Ubuntu Budgie.

The symptom is that after GRUB successfully loads the kernel into RAM, it fails to return from loading the initrd into RAM. This was proved by adding guard 'echo' and 'sleep' around each stage n grub.cfg.

After much investigation since this seemed initially related to a LUKS install I noticed the initrd.img files generated with MODULES=most are 105MB. Most of that is unneeded firmware and other files so I changed to MODULES=dep. Resulting initrd.img's are around 55MB.

System then boots correctly.

This looks like a possible issue with the UEFI on these XPS models but as initrd.img sizes get ridiculously large this is likely to hit more systems and users.

For several years I carry optimisation patches to initramfs-tools that don't add most firmwares except those specifically required (certainly not adding AMD GPU firmware when system has only Intel or Nvidia GPUs - and visa versa)

My initrd.img's are a hybrid of MODULES=dep and result in less than 20MB.

My recommendation is to add optimisations to initramfs-tools or adopt MODULES=dep.

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in initramfs-tools (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Domizio Demichelis (domizio) wrote :

In my case it was random and appeared very recently. It would boot once every 5-10 times.

The MODULE=dep seems to work so far.

Ubuntu 21.04 on Dell Precision 5750

Revision history for this message
TJ (tj) wrote :

I'm currently working on getting my optimisation patches into the mainline kernel and to Debian's initramfs-tools. After that I'll investigate dracut.

Revision history for this message
Jakob Haufe (sur5r) wrote :

Can you point to a merge request or Debian BTS bug where this work is being done?

I have a report from a user where the systems is hardly able to be updated because of absurd initrd sizes of more that 100MB.

I would like to reproduce the issue and try out your optimizations.

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