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Re: [RFC] New object format for grub2

From: Robert Millan
Subject: Re: [RFC] New object format for grub2
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 19:27:27 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Wed, Jul 08, 2009 at 04:27:08PM +0200, Marco Gerards wrote:
> Hi,
> Bean <address@hidden> writes:
> > Why another format ? Here are some reason:
> >
> > The current object format is ELF. Most unix based os use ELF as native
> > object format, but there are minor difference, and gcc may add extra
> > segment which is of no use for grub. Mingw/cygwin uses PE, and we need
> > to convert it to ELF. Platform like OSX also requires special
> > treatment. All these make the build system complicated, so we might
> > just use an unified format specific to grub.
> >
> > The ELF format is designed to be compatible with many system, it's
> > neither compact nor easy to parse. If we invent a new format, we
> > should make it simple.
> There is another problem with this: the maintainance burden.  People
> know ELF, we have ELF and people will know ELF in the future.
> Furthermore, as far as I am concerned, GNU/Linux is our main
> platform.  I do not mind supporting windows or so and we can support
> it in a sane way, but changing our binary formats for it is one step
> too far for me...


Even if changing our binary format were deemed a good idea, I think this
is very bad timing for changing GRUB's core in such significant ways.

Remember that the majority of GRUB users are still running GRUB Legacy,
and we've just got started in migrating them.  Ubuntu has committed to
GRUB 2, and IMO we should try to give them a stable codebase for their

This sort of changes tends to cause regressions.  Notice the hiddenmenu
one, introduced with the script engine split, which is still unsolved.
Hiddenmenu is what Ubuntu is currently using with GRUB Legacy.  It's
important that we can provide them with something equivalent.

Robert Millan

  The DRM opt-in fallacy: "Your data belongs to us. We will decide when (and
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