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Re: chained grub2 derivative bootauto system

From: Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko
Subject: Re: chained grub2 derivative bootauto system
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 07:43:11 +0200
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On 30.08.2012 23:20, 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 don't
> 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 interesting.

You miss the fact that GRUB2 already has the abilities you describe with
corresponding config files (see e.g. isoscan.cfg).

> 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 OS's 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
> OS's, 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
> uuid's, no grub configuration file consultation.  no problems if disks
> get rearranged on the next boot. simple.
> it doesn't 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 won't pay for it all.  I just wanted to start the ball
> rolling, and put my money where my mouth is.
> sincerely,
> /iaw
> ----
> Ivo Welch (address@hidden <mailto:address@hidden>)
> _______________________________________________
> Grub-devel mailing list
> address@hidden

Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko

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