Manjaro on old 32Bit UEFI / 64Bit CPU

Hello community,

I've been trying to boot Manjaro from a USB stick on an old Mac Mini 2,1 and I actually tried the steps from this post:

I'm still working a bit, because it didn't work right away. But I'm fine with doing these tweaks. The Mac Mini recognises the USB, but still doesn't boot. And it was able to boot other distros from the same USB.

The original post above was from Feb/2019, but at the last post on May/2019 it's stated that Manjaro now supports this natively, and links to an announcement post:

Where it's said:

Grub package got redesigned to support also 32bit UEFI installs.

However, the Mac Mini 32Bit EFI is not able to recognise either Mankaro 19, nor Manjaro 20, when I put them on a USB stick to boot.

Is this still true? Does recent versions support 32bit UEFI? One thing I noticed is that this Mac Mini (2,1) never recognises a bootable USB if there isn't a "Bootia32.efi" file in the '/efi/boot' directory. Which is the case on Manjaro 19 and 20 ISOs. So what am I missing here? What is this 32bit UEFI support?

Thanks a lot!

I will admit that my knowledge of 32-bit efi support may be lacking.

But what I think I know is

  • EFI was initially created for 64-bit systems - the future handling of interaction with hardware and operating system
  • 32-bit EFI was some kind of 'afterthought' - for the lack of a better term - a compromise - a compromise I can't see an logic to - other than - in any way - a monetary compromise

The latter - to my understanding - has created a blackhole - where intentions of supporting this has run into proprietary walls - this is entirely my perception and could be completely wrong.

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I should add that this afternoon I tried booting with manjaro-xfce-18.0.4-x32-stable-minimal-i686 iso. Created the bootable USB with Balena Etcher, and it was recognised and booted into the Mac Mini 2,1. So that iso implementation in fine for booting this 32bit UEFI machine.

But... that's a 32bit OS, and I really want to try a 64bit OS. So I need this mix: 32bit EFI boot + 64bit OS. Should I just copy boot files from one iso to the other?

You're probably damn right on that "monetary compromise". But still, after all those years, this Core2 Duo 1.6GHz is a fine machine for a lot of tasks. It runs nice with a light Linux distro.

I'm running Manjaro XFCE on an iMac -- late 2006, I forget the product number but know it's a core2duo -- and it took a LOT of doing. I was heavily intoxicated throughout the process, but at least some of it was (surely) down to it being a difficult-ish undertaking.

Search 32-bit and Matt Gadient, he has laid out fairly extensive documentation and images altered for these purposes. However, I MIGHT have wound up with my current setup -- which is most excellent; most excellent, indeed! -- by performing the install to the hard disk, outside the iMac entirely, with another PC.

I vaguely remembered that I figured out a command to install 32bit efi

If you create a bootable stick as described in the guide - then add the multiboot usb script - and copy you manjaro ISO to the stick /boot/iso/ - then you have a stick you boot using 32-bit efi and you can install Manjaro.

However - pay attention to the boot loader install - I don't think Calamares executes the i386 target installation.

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