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The The Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe, previously known as The Water Cooler, is a place to post stuff that has absolutely nothing at all to do with computers, broadband, Scot's Newsletter, or anything that's "supposed" to be here.
Since I probably can't recite the entire long-story, here's the short-story version:
Preface - it was suggested that my brand new SSD could be failing out-of-the-box, although admittedly unlikely. In effort to save a lot of time, ran smartmontool scan of drive. Couldn't understand most of the output, but was pretty sure the line "no errors logged" was a good thing, so proceeded under assumption SSD was fine.
Problem #1 - I didn't have the package grub-efi available on my livemedia. Apparently, 2 packages are required....grub-efi and grub-efi-ia32 or amd64. I had the amd64 but not the grub-efi. No problem, reboot the livemedia and install grub-efi, so that package can be copied over (rsync) from the livemedia RefractaInstaller snapshot.
Problem #2 - at the installer section to install a bootloader, my choices are 4 buttons "Install, Abort, Chroot, Continue". Previous experience indicated that "Install" failed me, and I wanted to see what was going on under the hood, so chose Chroot. Learned that Chroot does NOT mean "drop to shell and setup chroot", it means "drop to shell where chroot is already setup". That simplified things a LOT, but the manual CLI command "dpkg -i /grub-efi*.deb" indicated no such file or directory existed, despite my installation before running installer. I can only GUESS that the refracta2usb tool places the required files there, but since i created the livemedia with dd, they couldn't be found. No problem, still in chroot, i type "grub-install" at the prompt and things start happening. As an abundance of caution, I have a printout of alternative solution from another fella who experienced same errors with UEFI install of Debian. His solution was to mount efivarfs in the chroot:
# mount -t efivarfs efivarfs /target/sys/firmware/efi/efivars
then "# chroot /target/". From there I could type "grub-install" in terminal and watch the installation of grub happen. In building of grub menu, noticed several warnings about "not initialized in udev database". Back to the wormhole, where Arch forum indicates the solution has to do with a bug in lvm and/or udev, but fix is:
grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id=grub_uefi --recheck
With no further errors noticed, I continue with post-installation script in RefractaInstaller and get the message to reboot the system without livemedia. From prior experience, I look into the /boot directory and see all kinds of folders and files, several layers deep. This is new! So I reboot, and there's the Debian Grub Menu!!!! It's fixed!!!
Problem #3 - not so fast... I didn't install a splash screen so I could watch the messages in Debian startup. Despite a lot of green "ok" indicators, I get to a black screen where the system hangs. NO....NOW WHAT?!!!! Then I remember that SDDM has a quirk where the sddm.conf file does not get copied over. Don't know why...maybe it's SDDM, maybe it's RefractaInstaller, maybe it's something I did. I could replace SDDM with good old LightDM, which I've never had an issue with. But LXQt recommends SDDM as the display manager; and I'm trying to stick with the "Debian recommends...." as much as possible; and I REALLY like the sddm theme I located. So I start looking for a tty terminal and sure enough, the terminal is waiting for a user to login. I login with username & password, then type "startx" in terminal and....TADA....there is my DebianQT desktop!!!!
I know from past experience on my prior Legacy/MBR installations that I can fix the SDDM issue by generating a sample configuration, then changing the theme= line to the theme I prefer.
I''ve got my Firefox Sync and Google Chrome browsers syncing my bookmarks, and now I'm posting to BATL from within my brand new DebianQT OS! 😎 Now I just need to automount my DataDrive HDD at every boot, link my Thunderbird profile on DataDrive to my /home SSD, create symlinks to all my Documents, Downloads, Music, Photos, Videos, etc..., and setup my LuckyBackups to a new & larger 4TB BackupDrive! Guess what I'll be doing for the rest of the day?!
Knock on wood....I think I got the switchover completed on my main production work machine, with no downtime during the work week. (knock, knock,knock). Looking forward to 5+/- years of LTS stability, but it's projects like this that make me yearn for a rolling release! LOL