usb-creator doesn't create EFI-bootable USB sticks

Bug #702283 reported by Alan Pope 🍺🐧🐱 πŸ¦„ on 2011-01-13
This bug affects 18 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
usb-creator (Ubuntu)
Ubuntu Foundations Team

Bug Description

Binary package hint: usb-creator

USB startup disk creator seems to create USB disks which can boot on traditional BIOS based PC's but not EFI based computers such as Apple Mac laptops, Jogglers, Google CR-48. This reduces the number of people who can test Ubuntu on machines that could significantly benefit from the testing.

summary: - usb-creator doesn't create mac-bootable USB sticks
+ usb-creator doesn't create EFI-bootable USB sticks
Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
tags: added: iso-testing
exactt (giesbert) wrote :

I am creating the bootable USB stick in Ubuntu 10.10 and can successfully (U)EFI-boot 11.04 beta from the stick...
I have to mention I am not on a Mac but an Intel Board with Q67 chipset and UEFI BIOS support...

Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

It would be great if some could test this with either the Alpha 2 image of Oneiric or a daily build. Thanks in advance!

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Chad A. Davis (chadadavis) wrote :

The issue remains with the oneiric daily ISOs from 2011-07-19 (post-alpha 2)

I am trying to boot a MacBookPro 6,2

In each case I used usb-creator-gtk 0.2.30 on a host system (amd64) also running Oneiric dev branch (up-to-date as of 2011-07-20)

I tried

In the last case case, the system boots, but because it's the wrong hardware (amd64 image on amd64+mac hardware), the display ultimately freezes (the desktop login sound is played, but the boot splash never disappears). The boot process appears to work up to that point. It seems to simply not able to switch the video mode.

I also tried creating the USB stick from the MacBookPro itself (also running Oneiric dev branch and up-to-date). There was no difference.

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
tags: added: oneiric
Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Foundations Team (ubuntu-foundations-team)
Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

We discussed this the other day in the foundations team meeting:

[15:38] <ubottu> Launchpad bug 702283 in usb-creator (Ubuntu) "usb-creator doesn't create EFI-bootable USB sticks" [Medium,Confirmed]
[15:40] <bdmurray> ev: do you have any thoughts about that one?
[15:40] <slangasek> do we have full-on hybrid ISOs these days? Does the amd64+mac image work as a hybrid?
[15:41] <ev> unless we went with something like mjg59's super hybrid beast, that wouldn't buy us EFI, no?
[15:41] <cjwatson> I think we *need* to go with something like mjg59's super hybrid beast
[15:41] <cjwatson> but he's doing the work in isohybrid and we'll need it in xorriso
[15:41] <cjwatson> amd64+mac ought to work as hybrid but that's EFI-less
[15:42] <cjwatson> mjg59's work should let us get rid of amd64+mac, I believe
[15:42] <cjwatson> ... "as long as you're willing to put up with three partition tables and an x86 boot sector that doubles as an APM header"
[15:42] * slangasek grins
[15:42] <ev> heh and a billion boot options to choose from on recent Mac hardware
[15:42] <stgraber> can't see anything wrong with that ;)
[15:42] <cjwatson> haven't got round to talking with xorriso upstream yet though
[15:43] <bdmurray> so it sounds like there is a lot of work needed there
[15:44] <slangasek> yep
[15:44] <cjwatson> it's certainly not trivial, though there is also a lot of reason to do the wowrk
[15:44] <cjwatson> *work

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
importance: Medium → Wishlist
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Scott Kitterman (kitterman) wrote :

I think being unable create USB images of official Ubuntu ISOs is an actual deficiency and not just a wish.

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
importance: Wishlist → Medium
Evan Broder (broder) wrote :

If I understood mjg59's posts on EFI correctly, you don't actually need the hybrid monstrosity to support EFI. Several of the more insidious features of the mjg59's hybrid were only needed to support the scenario where you directly dd an ISO onto a USB drive.

In fact, based on some quick experimentation with my UEFI-enabled laptop (a ThinkPad T420), the Ubuntu ISOs we're generating now support 64-bit UEFI firmwares, even after being run through usb-creator. Specifically:

 - The build process generates a FAT32 filesystem image at boot/grub/efi.img which contains a efi/boot/bootx64.efi file, and points a secondary El Torito record at that image with PlatformId 0xEF. This enables UEFI-bootable CDs

 - The build process also generates a efi/boot/bootx64.efi, which usb-creator will copy onto the FAT32 filesystem it creates on USB drives, which is sufficient to make a removable USB drive UEFI-bootable

Remaining issues:

 - The FAT32 partition created by usb-creator won't have a partition type of 0xEF, so some firmwares may not identify it as a UEFI system partition and may not look for the bootloader there. My UEFI laptop doesn't have this problem, but I have a sample size of 1 to work off of.

 - Some (64-bit) Apple machines have a 32-bit EFI firmware. Since the Ubuntu CDs don't include an efi/boot/bootia32.efi (either directly or in the El Torito image), these machines won't recognize them. It would be easy to add the 32-bit image, but we'd need to find an extra megabyte of space or so, since the image contains 2 copies of the firmware.

 - Some *really* old Macs don't use El Torito for CDs at all, and instead look for an Apple partition map. This is the point you have to start pulling in some of mjg59's monstrosity to create CD images that boot on those machines. Personally, I'm not convinced the effort to reward payout is there, since we're talking about fairly old machines at this point, but I tend to be more conservative on that sort of thing.

The original report also mentioned the CR-48. These, too, are a special case, because they will only ever boot off of external media signed by Google, so nothing we can do will make USB sticks that will boot on those.

The latter bit isn't true; current Chrome OS developer firmware will allow
you to boot any developer-signed USB stick.

But it is true that these have to be laid out so that the Chrome OS firmware
understands them, which means EFI, the particular GPT layout, etc. not as a
standard El Torito image or similar. So creating a hybrid image is going to
be very very hard indeed.


Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

I intentionally don't want to attempt to support Macs using EFI. There
are too many problems, and for the time being it's generally still
better to use BIOS.

Nyan Cat (nyancat) wrote :

Hi :)
I can made USB with just dd and Ubuntu 11.10 Beta ISO. It works. It boots and install properly in EFI mode on my Mac! After install there is EFI GRUB2 displayed after reboot :)
Pendrive made like that boots on EFI 1.x, old BIOS, and I think it will boot on UEFI 2.x too :)

I can confirm Oneiric images made with usb-creator boot on iMac9,2 and MacbookAir3,2, which have EFI 1.4 and 2.0, respectively.

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Invalid
Brad Figg (brad-figg) on 2011-09-02
tags: added: rls-mgr-o-tracking
Rohan Garg (rohangarg) wrote :

I still can't make Kubuntu Oneiric images with usb creator and images dd'ed onto a pendrive aren't detected and hence cannot be booted. I have a Macbook Pro 8,2

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Duplicates of this bug

Other bug subscribers