Right so I received my Dell XPS 13 (my goodness, it's beautiful) and have proceeded to spend the whole of yesterday and today so far trying to install 18.04 on it (it comes with 16.04).

It would install, reboot, & throw me in the Grub command line. Tried with FDE & without. Same.

Can now manually get it to boot from grub with:

> set root=(hd0,2)
> linux /vmlinuz
> initrd /initrd.img
> boot

It boots but it's back to grub next reboot.

Tried sudo update-grub && sudo grub-install

Any ideas?

* Typo, the second line should read:

> linux /vmlinuz root=/dev/nvme0n1p2

(If you forget the root bit, it doesn't boot anyway.)

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The issue and solution:

That only took two days! :)

Many thanks to @ciaby for helping me :)

Now: do I try installing Pop!_OS again (initially it didn’t even boot the live disk on stock 16.04 on the XPS) or leave well enough alone for now? :)

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@dataKnightmare Had to send it back as there were multiple issues (I think I got a lemon and they were very nice about it). At the same time Barton managed to get Dell Ireland to solve the pricing issue and shaved a grand off the price of the XPS so I got that instead.

@aral hmmm. I was almost ready to by mine... think I'll shop around some more

The XPS is really nice, but comes with an i5, & I had a feeling for the quad-core i7 on the tuxedo...

Uhm, it's probably not finding the grub.cfg on the filesystem...
How is the partitioning done? What happens when you try to run grub-install? Are you booting from MBR or EFI?

@ciaby Yeah, that's what I'm thinking but how do I tell it “look here!?” :)

Partitioning was different based on wether I installed with FDE or not. In both, boot is on (hd0,2) and boot from grub command line works. update-grub and grub-install both succeed.

Everything succeeds… except, you know, actually booting from disk! 😱

@ciaby PS. In case it helps, the tree of /boot/efi/ … shouldn’t the ubuntu directory have more files in it?

@ciaby This is the one in boot/efi/EFI/grub/grub.cfg.

There’s also a much longer one at /boot/grub/grub.cfg

@ciaby (Needless to say, I don't see any of those options defined in the menuentry statements during my boot.)

Ok, one thing you could try is to run the commands from the first grub.cfg (the one from efi) inside the grub shell, and see if it actually chain loads the second one. If it doesn't, there must be something wrong with the uuid lookup, and you could fix it by hardcoding the value of root

@ciaby Yep, it chain loaded the second – I got the menu and it booted correctly from it.

*starts to sob silently* :)

Well, that's a good thing _and_ a bad thing at the same time 😁
Let me google around a bit...
TIL: the location of the first grub.cfg is embedded into BOOTX64.EFI
Maybe your BOOTX64.EFI doesn't have the correct location?
To recap: manually booting the second file from the command line works, so the problem is on how to load the first file. Go and have a look with hexdump :)

@ciaby You know, something told me my first experience with my first Linux laptop would be like this… ;)

(Thanks again, hexdump it is!)

On the bright side, I'm learning a metric shit-tonne about firmware, boot loaders, and grub :)

@aral @ciaby

A factor to consider is that Canonical probably isn't putting so much effort into the desktop since the Unity/Phone blowout where a bunch of developers got fired.
Well, my experience with Linux laptops was similar... In the late 90's / early 2000, using LILO 😂 I Haven't had a problem with booting Linux in quite a long time. Anyway, found the string? Is it correct?
Have a look in /etc/default/grub, there are a few variables there that you can tweak and then run grub-install.

@ciaby 🎉 Got it working! 🎉


I was right about the /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu directory looking a bit anemic ;)

PS. Thank you so much for your help. It helped a lot to know I wasn’t missing anything :)

@ciaby I’m wondering if the issue is at the firmware level.

@ciaby (Ah, I see that one loads the other. The drive uuid is correct.)

@aral Why no Librem? Just interested in this product.

@aral #Manjaro worked out of the box on my dell xps 15, including bumblebee

@aral @ciaby are you going to replace your Mac's or is it just testing system? Pop!_OS looks pretty, but so does PureOS...

@aral Good to hear! I would stick to Ubuntu, at least for now ;)

@aral so what did Ubuntu change between 16 and 18 that would defeat basic booting?

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