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NOTE: This guide pertains to x86 hosts, and does not cover supported CrOS/ARM chromebooks. For ARM targets, you should refer to u-boot documentation.

Regarding FSF-endorsed distros

These guides will often make reference to mainstream distros for the sake of completeness, especially to newcomers who will be familiar with them, but some users may prefer a GNU+Linux distro endorsed by the Free Software Foundation as per the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines. See: - just know that, these distros are entirely blob-free, including the kernel; they use a special kernel called linux-libre, which strips out all binary firmwares. What this means is that these distros may not work correctly with all hardware (think wifi adapters, modern graphics cards and so on). A lot of hardware needs binary blobs to function, so watch out!

The Free Software Foundation maintains this website:

The h-node website is a volunteer-run database of hardware known to work with deblobbed kernels like (and including) linux-libre.

If you want good wireless support and you want linux-libre, the following cards are known to work well: any Atheros/Qualcomm card using the ath5k, ath9k or ath9k_htc driver in the kernel. You can find these on the H-Node website.


This page is useful for those who wish to use the GRUB GRUB payload directly. If you’re using SeaBIOS, the boot process will work similarly to traditional BIOS systems; refer to the SeaBIOS documentation on

GNU+Linux is generally assumed, especially for Canoeboot development, but Canoeboot also works quite nicely with BSD systems.

Useful links

Refer to the following pages:


Canoeboot does not support switching VGA modes, when coreboot’s libgfxinit is used on Intel GPUs. Many distros will install GRUB, which Canoeboot then finds and executes, if running SeaBIOS payload; if using GRUB, just the distro’s grub.cfg file is loaded instead, by Canoeboot’s own GRUB in flash.

Canoeboot GRUB boots in text mode or uses the coreboot framebuffer. Anyway, set GRUB_TERMINAL=console in GRUB and you should be fine. This avoids GRUB, the one provided by your distro, switching video modes.

In Debian for example (steps largely the same on other distros):

Edit /etc/default/grub as root, and uncomment or add the line:


Then still as root, do these commands:

export PATH="$PATH:/sbin"

NOTE: update-grub is very much Debian-centric. Not all distros will have it. On Arch-based distros for instance, you might do:

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

The update-grub command is provided on Debian for user convenience, but on all distros, you may want to just use grub-mkconfig. Use what works for you.

Now your distro’s GRUB menu should work, when your distro’s GRUB bootloader is executed from Canoeboot’s SeaBIOS payload.

Encrypted /boot via LUKS2 with argon2

Full encryption for basic LUKS2 (with PBKDF or argon2 key derivation) is supported in Canoeboot. Legacy LUKS1 is also supported. On most other systems, /boot must be unencrypted, but Canoeboot supports use of the GRUB bootloader as a coreboot payload, directly in the boot flash.

GRUB has code in it that can be used to unlock LUKS1 and LUKS2 dm-crypt, using the cryptomount command. With this, you can boot with true full disk encryption, by encrypting /boot.

This is a boon for security, because it’s harder to tamper with, and you could potentially write-protect plus maybe provide a password in GRUB at boot time.

The easiest way to use it is like this: in Linux, set up your partitions like you would, but use LVM volume groups, with group name grubcrypt and either:

If your distro then installs GRUB, and provides a grub.cfg file under /boot/grub (within the distro, on your SSD/HDD file system), it should work. Canoeboot’s GRUB will automatically give you a passphrase prompt, where you type your passphrase and it unlocks the volume. Then it will find your LVMs and it’ll boot from that.

Otherwise, to manually unlock it, you drop to the GRUB shell with C and do:

cryptomount -a

Or on a specific device, e.g.

cryptomount (ahci0,1)

This is similar to cryptsetup luksOpen in Linux.

Canoeboot GRUB merges the PHC argon2 implementation, so it has full support for LUKS2 installations in addition to LUKS1. Canoeboot 20231026 and higher has argon2 support, but older releases only supported PBKDF2 which would make LUKS2 dysfunctional unless you swapped it to use PBKDF2 (not argon2) and/or downgraded to LUKS1.

With modern Canoeboot, you can just use LUKS2 as-is, on most/all GNU+Linux distros. At the time of the Canoeboot 20231026 release, the GRUB upstream (on did not have these argon2 patches in its source tree, but Canoeboot merges and maintains them out of tree.


You should specifically use argon2id. Please ensure this, because some older LUKS2 setups defaulted to the weaker argon2i. This post by Matthew Garret contains information about that:

NOTE: You should also read the instructions about about GRUB_TERMINAL.

Rebooting system in case of freeze

GNU+Linux kernel has a feature to do actions to the system any time, even with it freezes, this is called a Magic SysRq keys. You can do these actions with Alt + Sysrq + Command. These are the actions:

If some of them don’t work, you have to enable it in the kernel command line paramter. So append sysrq_always_enabled=1 to your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub

You can also run # sysctl kernel.sysrq=1 to enable them.

Fedora won’t boot?

This may also apply to CentOS or Redhat. Chroot guide can be found on fedora website

linux16 issue

Canoeboot’s default GRUB config sources fedora’s grub config grub.cfg (in /boot/grub2/grub.cfg), fedora by default makes use of the linux16 command, where it should be saying linux

Do this in fedora:

Open /etc/grub.d/10_linux

Set the sixteenbit variable to an empty string, then run:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

BLS issue

With newer versions of fedora, scripts from grub package default to generating BLS instead of grub.cfg. To change that behaviour add following line to /etc/default/grub (or modify existing one if it already exists):


Then generate grub.cfg with:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

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