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Re: Proposed release goal: Switch to GRUB2

On Wed, Apr 25, 2007 at 12:06:07PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Is anybody else using grub2 as a default bootloader today?

A while before the etch release, I migrated all my etch machines to it.  I went
back to grub legacy when we decided that grub2 wasn't going to be included in
etch, but it was perfectly usable for me at that point, and I certainly would
(and will) use it for testing/lenny systems when I setup/upgrade one.

I also know that Jordi Mallach installed it in his (powerpc) laptop, and popcon
speaks of another 71 people who at least have the package in their systems ;-)

> Has testing of grub2 explicitly included testing on older x86 systems, given
> that we've found that i486 was effectively not tested at all thoroughly
> before the etch release (the distro in general, not grub in particular)?

You mean real hardware, or just emulated i486 cpu ?

> Hrm.  What was wrong with the existing format? :/  Those are the kinds of
> upstream changes that are most aggravating for administrators (or at least
> for this administrator here :).

Consistency.  If you look at it, things make more sense now.  E.g. "root" is
not a command, but a variable.  And its scope is properly defined, much like
in C-style "root=foo; { root=bar; do_this };" etc.

> At least in the case of x86, I'm not sure how that's any different from what
> happens with any other upgrade of the bootloader.  I guess the grub1 boot
> sector is incompatible with grub2, and this is what has to be rewritten on
> upgrade?

>From this perspective, the only difference is menu.lst syntax.  If you just
upgrade the package, next time linux-image-2.6.xx invokes update-grub, it'll
generate /boot/grub/grub.cfg instead of menu.lst, making the change a no-op
untill grub is reloaded to MBR.

Fortunately, grub2 is a multiboot image so grub legacy can chainload to it.
We can make update-grub2 write a menu.lst whose default option runs:
  kernel (hdX,Y)/boot/grub/core.img
this makes grub2 operative without mangling the MBR.

> Again, if grub2 isn't stable enough to be called 'grub', then I really think
> it's not stable enough to be made the default in d-i either.

Agreed.  I think once the major known issues (update-grub2, gpt, etc) are
sorted out, we could send a call for testing, and take the decision after
observing the results.

Robert Millan

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