Many moons ago, when I first started using archlinux with secure boot, I always dreamed of running it on my desktop, a machine with an Nvidia graphics card. While the desktop has been leagues faster than my laptop, secure boot never worked with it. Enabling secure boot would result in a black screen with no output forcing me every time to reset the CMOS.

For a while, I tried solving the problem, asking on Reddit and even reaching out to my motherboard and graphics card manufacturers, who pointed the blame at each other. But today, I made a breakthrough. I figured out why it happened and am happy to say I am running Archlinux with secure boot using EFISTUBS with an Nvidia graphics card.

To start with, we need to shame me a little. I misinterpreted some stuff hard and goofed up. So Nvidia being the annoying people they are, require your signature DB to contain Microsoft’s secure boot keys, (these can be grabed here & here). The arch wiki has a section on how to use them.

By keeping these around and adding your key, everything works. Some graphics cards allow one to modify the bios not to depend on Microsoft’s keys. I would not recommend this due to the dangers of BIOS modding. Overall it’s pretty much a bog-standard secure boot setup. In tandem with this, I use EFISTUBs which allows firmware to load the kernel like any other EFI stub. I use systemd instead of direct to the firmware since I prefer having the ability to choose Kernels without dropping them into the firmware.

The only difference when using EFISTUBS I have found is that a custom Pacman hook is required. I based my hook on one used to automatically sign kernels with MOKUTIL.

[Trigger]
Operation = Install
Operation = Upgrade
Type = Package
Target = linux
Target = linux-hardened

[Action]
Description = Signing kernel with Db Key for Secure Boot
When = PostTransaction
Exec = /usr/bin/find /boot/EFI/Linux -maxdepth 1 -name 'archlinux-*' -exec /usr/bin/sh -c 'if ! /usr/bin/sbverify --list {} 2>/dev/null | /usr/bin/grep -q "signature certificates"; then /usr/bin/sbsign --key /etc/secureboot/DB.key --cert /etc/secureboot/DB.crt --output {} {}; fi' ;
Depends = sbsigntools
Depends = findutils
Depends = grep

You can feel free to modify and use this hook to your needs. As for generating EFISTUBs. This blog post by Morten Linderud aka foxboron explains how to get started pretty well. I hope this post helps others in a similar situation to me.

— This is nullrquest signing off

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