First of all I went through the BIOS and did some basic securing by re-arranging the boot order1, disabling boot and wake from LAN, and password-protected the BIOS. If you have not done that on your laptop before and remotely concerned about security, I urge you to do it to prevent random people to boot from other devices.
I also list all the settings in the BIOS, if you are interested.
- System Time
- System Date
- Wake on LAN/WLAN – enable / disable
- Fn Lock for F1 to F12 – enable / disable
- Microphone – enable / disable
- Webcam – enable / disable
- Wifi – enable / disable
- Bluetooth – enable / disable
- S3 / Modern Standby Support
- Battery Protection Mode (to protect from high voltage)– high capacity / balanced / healthy
- Operating Mode (for the CPU and fan) – silent / performance
- Change Administrator Password
- Change User Password
- Password Login Control – setup / boot / both
- Secure Boot – enable / disable
- LAN Remote Boot – enable / disable
- Boot Option Priorities – a list of all devices
So I booted into the EndeavourOS LiveUSB and stared the installer … here goes nothing!
Packages & Boot manager¶
In the Desktop and Packages sections I chose KDE Plasma (with X.org for now), and also checked the printing package, as well as Zen Kernel. I hear for certain use cases Zen is a better Linux kernel than the mainline/vanilla one, so I will try both.
I chose Grub as the boot loader and manager, because the installer hinted that it would be the best choice for booting off Btrfs snapshots. And a quick internet search also confirmed that booting from a snapshot in SystemD-boot is a bit trickier.
After discussing with the gurus on #btrfs IRC channel, I learnt about rEFInd as a great boot manager option. It leverages EFI as the boot loader (so LUKS2 is not an issue), has auto-detection features and is themeable too boot! It is still in beta, so that may be of concern. I may switch to it eventually, but will sleep it a few times over.
When it comes to Partitioning, things have started to become a bit more exciting (and dangerous). I decided to keep it (relatively) simple and risk that I will need to re-install everything once the
At this stage I have only one SSD in the laptop, as the Slimbook team instructed me to not open up the machine for 15 days in (unlikely) case there is a malfunction and I would need to send it back for repairs.
My initial plan was to divide my 1 TB SSD into cca.:
- 1 GB – ESP
- 999 GB – LUKS, and within it:
- 990 GB – Btrfs – subvolumes to follow
- 9 GB – swap
Luckily, this is exactly what Calamares installer does by default when I selected Erase disk with the options Swap (no Hibernate) and btrfs; and clicked the Encrypt system checkbox
Again, I checked with the gurus on #btrfs IRC channel, and thumbed-up the idea as a sane one.
Create a space reserve tank
When you add a new device to Btrfs it is advisable to ensure you have enough space unallocated for
btrfs balance to operate.
The gurus on #btrfs IRC channel suggested to run the following command on each drive to make sure Btrfs always reserves 10 GB as unallocated:
btrfs filesystem resize -10G / (increase accordingly if you have more drives).
I also learnt about the Discoverable Partitions Specification, but will leave that for another day, in case the standard EndeavourOS install does not handle that by default already.
Username & Hostname¶
Finally, the most important bit – the naming, the baptism, the first word of the new machine.
Many people I know have a system how they name their computers, and so do I.
Since basically forever I name my machines by mythological people and creatures in alphabetical order.
Trip to BIOS again¶
At this stage I went back to BIOS and changed the boot order to only boot from the SSD.
(Interim) success & Plans¶
Well, at least for today …
Calamares even automatically created the following Btrfs subvolumes, so I do not have to:
- @ –
- @home –
- @cache –
- @log –
As well as a Tmpfs partition mounted to
All in all, a great start. I am surprised how easy this was with EndeavourOS – I expected much more manual work.
In the next few days I will finalise the installation and tweaking. Pretty soon I should dive into Btrfs snapshots.
After that, I will introduce the second SSD and turn them into a RAID-1.
hook out → day two with Slimbook, so far so good
Typically I disable all boot devices except one, and change that only if needed. ↩