Lenovo Ideapad 5 Install Woes

So update/new information with this systemd-nspawn. I got my laptop on Friday and I have yet to get a successful Fedora boot ūüôĀ There are 2 hurdles that I’ve imposed upon¬†myself that I think are making it worse.

1) I want to use XBOOTLDR so that means the .iso installer is not gonna work
2) I want to have most of my partitions on an LVM filesystem

The XBOOTLDR¬†is having a minor issue that when I click the power button and just let the laptop boot, it will only see entries on the esp. But if I spam F12 and select the “Linux Boot Manager” It works just fine. I am suspecting it is some sort of fast boot mechanism¬†that only reads the esp on bootup, but I have found no setting that lets me disable this fast boot in my bios or the crazy lenovo tool. I am interested in writing a github issue and see what kind of answers I could get, but I fear it’s more hardware specific.

I can’t get the system to boot because of LVM. When I boot Fedora it actually seems to work fine initiating the kernel and starting things up, but it hangs on mounting the root filesystem. Any time I use systemd-nspawn -bD /fedora I cannot see the LVM volumes. If i just use chroot /fedora it works fine but I think that’s¬†because it’s simply¬†changing the root and my USB can read the LVM fine, not booting a whole containerized¬†environment. If I do some funny bind mounts it works, but that seems like cheating and only fixes it for that usb instance.

I think the issue is the initramfs. It’s only goal is to mount the root filesystem. The kernel and initramfs are loaded into memory by the boot loader and the kernel uses initramfs to mount the file systemd and run the program /init. So with this knowledge it makes sense why nothing is working, my initramfs is not reading the LVM volume thus never mounting /root. So I’ve been spending time reading about the different ways this little¬†compressed file is created. Red Hat and SUSE use a program called dracut, Arch, the only other one I’m really¬†familiar with, is actually just a shell script from the Arch community. I’ve tried running the basic google commands for dracut but realised I have to point to a kernel to actually¬†make it work, after stopping my last attempt >.>

I just think this is all quite fun to think about. I think about how Linus Torvalds once said he doesn’t use debian because he found it hard to install. Or how Richard Stallmen doesn’t¬†typically install his operating systems because that’s not his expertise. He will just go to a local users group meeting and have someone install it for him there. I think it’s quite a good skill to be able¬†to masterfully install a linux box. Linux is all about choice, so it’s funny that we are all ok with these automated installers doing things you may not want to do on your system.

It’s really blurring¬†the lines of what a distro is to me, It’s just a social construct of what packages you get and from where. I’m coming to love the idea of Fedora. It’s basically 99% free software, with the 1% being proprietary¬†blobs. It’s based on what the enterprise uses, not to mention it’s what Linus and Poettering use. It’s also very bleeding edge even though it¬†uses a 6 month version release.

Here’s hoping I can actually start using Linux on this machine soon. It’s kinda half the reason I bought the damn thing.

Linux Multi Boot with Systemd-boot

I’ve been working on a new project with my newfound systemd knowledge.I want to have as many distro’s installed at once while using systemd boot.Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora use grub by default but it’s linux right? It’s all about choice.

So I have a EFI enabled Hyper-V to play with and it’s¬†a 64 HDD cut up like this:

sda1 100M EFI
sda2 1G Linux Extended Boot
sda3 4G Linux Swap
sda4 15G Linux root(x86-64)
sda5 15G Linux File System
sda6 15G Linux File System
sda7 13.9G Linux Home

I install arch linux with systemd-boot per usual and get a booting system off sda4
I then mount /dev/sda5 to /var/lib/machines/ubuntuand install:

pacman -S debootstrap ubuntu-keyring

this lets me run:

debootstrap --include=systemd-container --components=main,multiverse,universe focal /var/lib/machines/ubuntu http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu

Which will install a base Ubuntu 20.04 filesystem to the other partition. I can actually run a whole container instance with systemd and this partition.

systemd-nspawn -b -D /var/lib/machines/ubuntu

Systemd has a whole management suite with machinectl

machinectl status ubuntu

The problem I’ve run into is when I make a container like this I cannot mount the file system. Or at least not as easily. What I¬†end up doing is copying any files from /dev/sda5 to the other partition¬†while the container is not running.

But! when I am in the ubuntu container I can run:

apt install linux-image grub-pc-

That will give me the ubuntu kernel and initramfs without installing grub.
I copy the kernel related files to the systemd XBOOTLDR partition and write a boot config file and BOOM it actually lets me boot both arch and ubuntu from the bootloader and it will use the right HDD partition.

I have more to do to actually get it working nice, and fedora will probably be its own undertaking but I’m really excited about it! Learning a lot about how linux actually boots, it’s no longer really “Black Magic” anymore. Basically any package manager has an “install root” function so it’s really knowing how to use each of them.

XBOOTLDR systemd-boot 242

The following is a copy/paste of a Reddit post I made to r/archlinux a month ago. I was doing an install of arch and upon reviewing of the systemd-boot wiki page I saw that it stated that it was out of date. I was doing a bunch of reading on the topic and decided to try and reach out to the community to see what input they had.

Replies were next to none (except the 1 guy that said the wiki was correct as if he didn’t even read my post/look at the page for himself) but I had found the solution to my problem.

So below is an even shorter version of the Reddit thread that gives the step by step notes I would use to install arch with XBOOTLDR.

More reading about this can be found on Systemd’s website

**Using XBOOTLDR:**

create a separate partition of at least 250Mib labeled "Linux extended boot" (guid of bc13c2ff-59e6-4262-a352-b275fd6f7172) now referred to as $BOOT

Format $BOOT to fat32:
mkfs.vfat -F 32 $BOOT

mount the ESP to /mnt/efi and the $BOOT to /mnt/boot

install with pacstrap per usual

in chroot use the command: (not sure it is needed as bootctl looks for this by default but good to specify)

bootctl --esp-path=/efi --boot-path=/boot install

edit /efi/loader/loader.conf to say:

"default arch
timeout 3"

edit /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf to:

"title Arch_Linux_extendedboot
linux /vmlinuz-linux
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
initrd /initramfs-linux-fallback.img
options root=/dev/sdX"

reboot and enjoy

See the next page for the original Reddit post:

Are You Afraid of the Danger Boys?

I’ve known about the danger boys for a while now. I saw them open for Father on the private show tour. I remember being slightly off put by them, I chuckled to myself hearing them sing “You don’t fuckin’ know me, but you my fuckin homie” and they would would always say “REALITY!” between songs. I had never heard of them before I had went to this concert.

I only really had one of their songs “Wassup Phonies” in my rotation. With more of their songs occasionally coming up in Spotify recommendations. I’d listen to “Diamonds” just to relive seeing them in concert .

It wasn’t until I closely listened to “Forever” that I realized just how good the danger boys were. The song is all about sexual frustration, it opens with Louie Duffelbags talking about a girl he’s been in love with since the 7th grade. He goes on to talk about his fantasy of wanting to fuck this girl, but it’s never been reciprocated by her. He ends his verse in a rage of “I’M GONNA FUCK YOU LIKE I DID IN MY DREAM”. It’s a simple concept that I have never really seen explored in the “Sadboi” music scene. Most talk about the down falls being with a girl or the fall out of a relationship they once had.

Maybe it’s not fair to call Louie a “nice guy” but this song is essentially how a “nice guy” would view a woman that he has been lusting over for ages. Notice that he never really talks about wanting to create a life with this girl or how they will live happily ever after. It’s more from a sexual context that all he really wants is to fuck this girl, She is an “object” of lust. He really just wants to fuck and use her for his own pleasure without regard to her wants. He even talks about ending his own life with the thought of her being coked up on a dairy queen bathroom floor.

Once I was hooked, I had to listen to the rest of the album, and I must say the whole project is equally as good. The production alone on this keep everything linked together sonically. It sounds like you’re in a dark,empty graveyard and the danger boys are lurking in the shadows speaking about the things they have seen. The whole project goes together so well and every song leads right into the next that the short run time of 21 minutes could not have ended any quicker.

If you are fan of the “Sadboi” music scene and have not given a listen to this album I would highly recommend you do. From start to finish you’ll be along for a ride.

Favorite songs:

Give a listen to the album here

The Internet is Like Space

Think about space: huge, ever expanding, and we don’t really know what’s out there. That’s what the internet is like.

Sure there are parts of space we know a lot about

But there are a lot of parts we just don’t know about

An ever expanding and of huge magnitude of data is the internet, just like space

So who’s to say I can’t just post what ever I want to on this site.

You chose to come to this web page, I’m not exactly marketing it

What ever I say on this page will just forever be shouted into the void

And if someone hears it, it’s because they either happened upon it or actively perused going to it.

Either way, could I have stopped them?

An Evening with Brando

TLDR: I Invited a Twitter rapper over to my house to film a music video, He proceeded to trash my entire basement, get to cross-faded to want to drive home, all while we got bad iPhone footage and watched the chaos unfold.

It was a normal Monday, I was Scrolling though my twitter feed and I saw a rapper named Brando tweet:

“Looking for someone to shoot a music video short notice, DM me”

My roommate and I have been looking for a creative outlet for some time and Rob has expressed interest in shooting a music video. I thought the two of us working together on this could be a slam dunk.

I DM Brando saying I’m willing to do a video shoot if he wants. I have worked with Brando in the past actually. We had both gone to the LiL Tracy concert and met two girls from Ohio who really wanted to come back to Michigan to see us again. It was a good time, we did a photoshoot and got some killer shots. Brando made a song with one girl while I handled the photoshoot for the night. Everyone had a good time, it was a night to remember. Now I have not exactly been talking with Brando since that night, but we both had known of each others existence for a while as we both went to the same high school. I thought he was an alright dude.

It’s 7pm and Brando comes over. I was already in the basement preparing the workspace and thinking of what kind of shots I wanted to get. I explained to him the best lighting scenarios we could get in the basement and was trying to find what he wanted to make his “stage”. He wanted to do a sad and grungy kind of vibe. He wanted all of the lights off and to embrace the shitty basement aesthetic. At first I could see what he was going for, we had a futon and some folding chairs and he said he wanted to do a “tv show interview” kind of deal.

He wanted to have the place in complete and utter shambles. He threw cans and trash all over, ripping out alphabetized vinyls and scattering them all over the floor. I stood back in amazement in the chaos that was happening before me. He was definitely getting the aesthetic he was looking for.

I was trying to capture the entire thing on my trusty DSLR but the shear chaos made it a disaster to try and capture it without constantly having to adjust the camera settings. Brando was getting annoyed, he was looking to get a steam of conciseness. “Just film everything, forget the tripod and just follow me.” Brando would not stay in one space. He wanted to pace back and forth though out the basement all while I follow and film. I can barely get a shot in focus. He is constantly going from light to darkness. Standing right in front of the light even when I tell him not to stand there. I can barely keep up. He asks me to stop filming with the DSLR and take out my iPhone. I was so annoyed with trying to get anything to look good that an excuse to think even less about what the camera was doing and more about what I was filming was a plus, so I obliged.

Rob comes home to see the shear chaos unfolding. The look on my face tells him exactly what is going on. I hand him the DSLR on auto and tell him to just take shots while I film on the iPhone. We proceed to follow Brando around getting content while he paces around the basement continuing to trash the place. We film him walking over to the speaker system, change songs, and just stand there. He would go to what was the best “set” occasionally and not even acknowledge the camera. Turning his back and not staying in the dedicated zone for filming. He would smoke cigarettes and put them out on the floor and stomp them with his bare feet. He at one point even ate a cigarette butt and we filmed the aftermath of him wanting to puke it up after. Washing it all down with more Hennessy out of a mcdonalds coffee cup.

At this point Rob and I are just going along with it trying to make the best of the situation. Trying to coach him back into the lit section of the basement. It wasn’t until he started FaceTiming his buddies that we knew it was all over. Brando was telling them ” Yea guys come over to Zach’s house it’s crazy! You can come and smoke and party it up.” Rob looked at me and we knew we had to do something and now. We stop the shoot and tell Brando we need to go have a business meeting.

We go upstairs to find our third room mate Aaron laughing at us in the kitchen. We basically all agreed that this had gotten way to out of hand and that we needed to get him out immediately. We agree to do three more “songs” and then it’s time for him to get out. Brando is standing downstairs, half apologetically looking at us. Telling us how he was planning to help us clean and he was sorry if he was being a bother to us. We explain we are only gonna get a few more shots as he should have more then enough footage to work from. He says he wants to play his new ep for the final set of songs and then we were done.

Brando didn’t even preform any of his new ep. He proceeded to do the same thing he was doing all night of pacing, not looking at the camera, and getting the same shitty shots we were getting all night. In the final shot he gets 2 feet with in the camera and looks at it screaming “FUCK YOU GUYS!” Rob and I took it as a jab at us and stopped the shoot.

I go upstairs to start dumping all of the footage while Rob start trying to put the basement back in order, with Brando “supervising”. I begin to put everything onto a flash drive as I just wanted to get him the hell out of our house as soon as possible. Brando and Rob make their way upstairs and I hand Brando the flash drive saying this is everything from the DSLR and I would upload everything from my phone to Google drive.

We all go sit down in the living room and Brando says he’s too messed up to drive. We don’t want Brando here any longer and we basically tell him he better call an Uber then. He wanted to have his friends pick him up and he would come by tomorrow morning to pick up the car. We were not really cool with this but if he says he’s to messed up to drive it’s probably best to just let him do whatever to get out of the house.

Rob and I sit and look at each other is disbelief, as we witness who we can only imagine is Brando’s mom calling him. “No I’m just tired, I’m out with my friends I’m not sure when I’m going to be home” he gets off the phone and wonders when his friends are gonna be here. He calls them up and they say “We don’t get off work for about another half hour” and from the look on Brando’s face he knew he wasn’t gonna be able to stay for another half hour. He says he is just gonna walk around the neighborhood and FaceTime someone in an attempt to sober up. I just look at him knowing we are in a not so great neighborhood just north of 8 mile that if he doesn’t know what he’s doing he’s going to get in some trouble. We told him he was better off just sitting in his car on the street if he wanted to do that.

Brando finally gets up and heads out the door. He could not walk out soon enough so I could lock the door and scream “what the fuck just happened!” Rob was in shock as to what just happened. How could a person just come over to someone’s house and just completely trash place with out so much of as a warning as to what he wanted to do.

The best conspiracy we could come up with was that he had some sort of grunge against us over the last time we saw each other. He made references to it though out the night. Pointing out the cowboy hats that we wore to the concert, and even flatly asking me how much I remember that night. I never felt any animosity from him since that night.

Moral of the story: Do not invite Soundcloud rappers over to your house if you don’t have so much as an idea as to what kind of video they actually want to shoot.