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Re: Guidance on conflicts between GNU GRUB and proprietary software

From: Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko
Subject: Re: Guidance on conflicts between GNU GRUB and proprietary software
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2010 21:05:21 +0200
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On 09/28/2010 10:04 AM, Colin Watson wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 09:55:17PM -0700, Bogdan wrote:
>> Another potential solution that I have not seen proposed - GRUB could create 
>> its 
>> own partition in order to reserve space.
> We do this - well, we expect that the user or the OS installer does this
> - on GPT, as it's obviously the right and proper thing to do there.  On
> MBR, it's unfortunately mostly impractical for a couple of reasons (the
> first is the most important, though the second does come back to bite
> you):
>   * The BIOS can often only read from relatively near the start of the
>     disk, and core.img must be readable by the BIOS.  If some other
>     operating system is already installed - the common dual-boot case,
>     and the case where this problem is overwhelmingly most likely to
>     matter - it's likely to occupy a large stretch of partitioned space
>     right after the boot track.
>   * The MBR format has so many irritating restrictions on primary
>     partitions that the more partitions an operating system needs to
>     create by default, the more stress we put on partitioning
>     algorithms.  (Most people don't notice any of this until they try to
>     install on a machine whose OEM helpfully created three or four
>     primary partitions already.)
Using an embedding partition on msdos as an optional alternative (not as
replacement) to MBR gap is a clear possibility, good idea and was
proposed before but details are very unclear. Like:
- How to create such partition
- How does grub find it and ensures that it's an embedding partition?
Any false positive will result in data loss. Obviously no msdos type is
completely unused by now so it's not a way.

Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko

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