Bootloaders

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By default Alpine uses Syslinux as bootloader. This page shows the basic steps you need to perform, if you for any reason want to switch bootloaders or apply some manual configuration.


Installing Syslinux

If you want to switch from another bootloader back to Syslinux, or if you for some reason want to install Syslinux manually, the following steps are required.

Install the syslinux package:

apk add syslinux

If you're using GPT partitions, install the GPT MBR onto the drive you want to install the bootloader on (in this case /dev/sda):

dd bs=440 count=1 conv=notrunc if=/usr/share/syslinux/gptmbr.bin of=/dev/sda

Or if you're using DOS partitions, install the DOS MBR instead:

dd bs=440 count=1 conv=notrunc if=/usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda


Next install the required Syslinux binaries. Despite being called extlinux, Syslinux supports booting from FAT12/16/32, NTFS, ext2/3/4, Btrfs, XFS, and UFS/FFS filesystems.

extlinux --install /boot

The configuration file is located in /boot/extlinux.conf. Alpine ships with a script called update-extlinux which automatically (re)generates this file, for example on updates to Syslinux. The settings for this script can be found in /etc/update-extlinux.conf, including the option to disable automatic overwriting of /boot/extlinux.conf. You can also place additional menu entries in the /etc/update-extlinux.d/ directory, e.g. for dual booting.


EFI

Underconstruction clock icon gray.svg
Todo: Work in progress. This should at least get you started.


Assuming /mnt is a FAT32 partition of type EF00 and /boot belongs to the rootfs created after running setup-disk:

mkdir -p /mnt/EFI/syslinux
cp /usr/share/syslinux/efi64/* /mnt/EFI/syslinux/
cp /boot/extlinux.conf /mnt/EFI/syslinux/syslinux.cfg
cp /boot/vmlinuz* /mnt/
cp /boot/initramfs* /mnt/

You may need to modify /mnt/EFI/syslinux/syslinux.cfg to change the paths to absolute paths (just add a / in front of the vmlinuz/initramfs entries), or copy the files to /mnt/EFI/syslinux instead (XXX: untested).

Installing GRUB

To install GRUB in BIOS mode, (optionally) remove the Syslinux package and install the required GRUB packages:

apk del syslinux
apk add grub grub-bios

For EFI, install Grub's EFI package instead. Note that /boot has to be an EFI compatible filesystem like FAT32.

apk add grub-efi

Next install the MBR and GRUB binaries to disk for BIOS mode:

grub-install /dev/vda

For EFI mode:

grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot

GRUB ships with an automatic config generator, including some automatic detection of other operating systems installed on the device:

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

This script can be configured via the /etc/default/grub file. See [1] for a list of available options.