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Re: chained grub2 derivative bootauto system

From: Philip Rhoades
Subject: Re: chained grub2 derivative bootauto system
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 09:19:43 +1000
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/0.8-rc


Interesting idea - I particularly like the idea of booting from arbitrary isos.



On 2012-08-31 07:20, ivo welch wrote:
dear grub2 developers:

I have wrestled often with the problems of setting up grub2 on new
systems.   I know booting is a low-level science in itself, so I dont
dare to pretend that I know anything.  but I wanted to put up a small
starting bounty of $500 for a grub2 derivative  type of boot loader,
to be made available GPL, of course, in the main linux distributions
(such as ubuntu) if one knowledgeable developer finds this

from the user perspective, this booting system should work as follows:

if the user holds any key during the boot process, the new "B" loader
(call it bootauto.bin) would scan all available partitions for
bootable systems (such as Windows, linux, freebsd, etc.) and all root
partitions for *.iso files, and present the user with a list of what
it found where, and put the default selection line on the OS that was
most recently booted.  the user should be able to select one of these,
and then proceed booting from them.  the user presumably could also
enter command line options at this stage, choose a common option (such
as "rescue", "single user", or "single user read-only"), or possibly
see all kernels, including older ones.  bootauto.bin obviously needs a
whole lot more intelligence at boot time than what grub2 has.

if the user does not hold down a key, then bootauto.bin would boot
whatever it booted last, without delay.

the setup is similar to an OSX boot, where holding down an "ALT" key
presents all bootable OSs that are found.

there would be no more grub configuration files, grub-install
commands, etc.  bootauto.bin would do it all.  bootauto.bin would
presumably always reside in a fixed spot, such as /bootauto.bin, and
all that the boot sector would have to do would be to find it and pass
control to it.

from a user perspective, creating live USB flash sticks with multiple
OSs, or booting from another hard disk now becomes much simpler.  end
users only need to connect the bootable device or connect USB stick
with a couple of ISOs on them, and it just works.

the system-wide first-time installation of the bootloader would
consist of one command that copies the bootauto.bin file to a
designated partition and writes the bootsector.  "bootauto-install
/dev/sda /mnt/sda1" would install the boot sector on /dev/sda that
chain loads the B loader bootauto.bin on mnt/sda1/bootauto.bin
(whatever file system /mnt/sda1/ uses; could be ntfs, ext4, etc).  the
only error should be that /mnt/sda1 cannot be written.  no mysterious
chroots, no --binds, no uuids, no grub configuration file
consultation.  no problems if disks get rearranged on the next boot.

it doesnt have to work on legacy systems more than 5 years old,
either.  this is to move forward. /bootauto.bin can be big.

if interested, send me a personal email, please.  I will pay upon
completion (or put it into an escrow account at the FSF or another
reasonable place).  maybe some others will supplement the funding---I
know that $500 wont pay for it all.  I just wanted to start the ball
rolling, and put my money where my mouth is.


Ivo Welch (address@hidden)

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Philip Rhoades

GPO Box 3411
Sydney NSW      2001
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