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Re: my thoughts about grub 2

From: Lennart Sorensen
Subject: Re: my thoughts about grub 2
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:57:26 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 03:18:53AM +0930, Brendan Trotter wrote:
> Um, what?

Well at least update-grub reads from /etc to generate the final config
(which is still /boot/grub/grub.cfg, so it does go in /boot, but since
it is generated (at least on my debian system), I don't consider it
config anymore).

> Imagine you've got 3 OSs: Hiaku, FreeDOS and ReactOS. Given that none
> of these OSs normally have an "/etc" directory, which "/etc" should be
> used to store GRUB's configuration?

Well whichever one is responsible for generating the grub.cfg could
store the files wherever is normal on that OS.

> Perhaps you're saying that GRUB should be useless for anything that
> isn't a Unix clone. In that case, imagine you've got 3 Unix clones. Of
> course all of them want to automatically update their boot loader's
> configuration when their kernel is updated, and they can't all share
> the same "/etc". Does the user nominate one Unix clone as "working"
> and let the other 2 OSs fail?

I honestly don't personally care at all about any OS that isn't a unix
clone anymore.  Fortunately, I am only a grub user and not one of the
developers.  They seem to care.

> Using a separate partition for "/boot" that contains GRUB's
> configuration for all OSs worked (at least in theory) because all OSs
> that are installed could mount that partition without conflicts (as
> long as you use a file system that all OSs understand).

grub2 certainly has no issue with that.  The default is to use grub.cfg
in the /boot/grub directory.

> I was talking about boot managers, not boot loaders.

Why should there be a difference?

> Conceptually you have a boot manager (to select which OS to boot) that
> doesn't really need to care about any of the details for any
> particular OS; plus a boot loader for each OS which is designed
> specifically for that OS (and doesn't really need to care about other
> file systems, etc). The difference between them often gets blurred
> because feature creep is tempting (for example, a lot of the boot
> managers I looked at earlier had features for creating/removing
> partitions, even though this is normally done using separate utilities
> designed for the purpose, like fdisk, parted, etc; and a lot of boot
> loaders are probably able to chainload).
> GRUB is different in that it's intended to be a boot manager and a
> boot loader for many OSs (and isn't primarily intended for a single
> role); and I'd guess that is the reason it has to be too complex to be
> "user friendly" for any specific role.

Almost every x86 boot loader for linux has also been a boot manager
(through chainloading if nothing else).  Even the ntldr can do that.  It
seems to me that a boot manager is a stripped down boot loader that
doens't do very much.  Seems like a completely useless piece of software
to me.  I don't get it.

Len Sorensen

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