How to install Linux on a 32bit UEFI PC

Today's personal computers are basically 64-bit capable, so when installing a Linux distribution, use the amd64 (x86-64) image.

However, on some machines, UEFI is a 32-bit version, so you cannot install it using the image for amd64 as it is. In particular, 8-10 inch tablets equipped with Intel Atom (Bay Trail), which was released a few years ago, and notebook PCs using the same architecture have such problems.

In addition, the limited number of ISO images distributed by Linux distributions that support 32-bit UEFI makes installing Linux on that machine even more difficult.

In this article, I will briefly summarize how to deal with such difficulties based on my experience with actual machines.

Use 32-bit images from the latest Debian version (Buster)

At this point (at least if you just want to install Linux on the actual machine), this method seems easy. If you download the 32-bit ISO image from the official website or mirror site and burn it to a USB memory etc. using dd or various tools, the installer will start up without problems, and you can install the system and start it afterwards without problems. ..

However, there are the following problems

This method makes it relatively easy to install the latest version of Debian, but it has the following problems. --Due to Debian policy, proprietary drivers etc. are not included in the installation image --Software that only works on 64-bit versions does not (of course) work

Use Debian Buster multi-arch image

What I want to use is a multi-arch image. With this image, it is possible to install the amd64 architecture version of Debian while recognizing 32-bit UEFI.

How to use

It's basically the same as usual. However, the image to prepare is "debian-10.x.x-amd64-i386-netinst.iso". If you need a proprietary driver, such as when a wired LAN is not available, use "firmware-10.3.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso", which is an unofficial image.

If you burn the image to a USB memory etc. and boot it, you can install Debian according to the screen.

Advantages and disadvantages of introducing the 64-bit version

Software that is only available in the 64-bit version for Linux will be available. You can use Google Chrome (Chromium is also available for i386) and software using Electron (Atom and Visual Studio Code).

On the other hand, the issue is memory usage. Most machines with the Baytrail generation Atom have a limited amount of memory, such as 2GB. This amount of memory may not be enough to make full use of the editor using Electron. Take measures such as using a lightweight desktop environment.

At the end

Debian is one of the hardest Linux distributions, and although it may be harder to understand than Ubuntu, the installation itself can be done relatively easily with a GUI. In addition, because of the large number of users, it is relatively easy to obtain information when trying to obtain information.

Before giving up on a 32-bit UEFI machine that Linux isn't possible, why not consider installing Debian?

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