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Re: lilo removal in squeeze (or, "please test grub2")

Ferenc Wagner wrote:
> Stephen Powell <zlinuxman@wowway.com> writes:
>> Both grub-legacy and grub-pc use sectors on the hard disk outside of
>> the master boot record and outside of a partition ...
> You may want to try extlinux, it works much like LILO in this respect.

Well, I tried extlinux last night, and I am hopeful that this is going
to be a solution, at least for me.  extlinux seems to combine the best
parts of grub-pc and lilo.  Like grub-pc, extlinux understands the file
system, and can read the configuration file, kernel, and the initial
RAM file system image from the file system without needing a list of
specific blocks to read.  Thus, the boot loader does not need to be re-run
every time a kernel is installed or updated or an initial RAM file system
image is installed or updated.  The number of file systems it supports
is limited, but that's OK.  A separate /boot partition of the file system
type supported by the boot loader is acceptable.

But like lilo it stays out of unallocated (and therefore not backed up)
sectors.  The boot block of extlinux is installed in the boot sector
of a partition, and the second stage loader occupies a file within the
partition.  It does not use the master boot record.  It relies on a
master boot record program to chain load it from the partition boot
sector.  (I use the mbr package for that.)  It *does* support the
specification of an initial text video mode (vga option), though this
is not specifically documented.

Speaking of documentation, that seems to be its main weakness.
Documentation is sketchy and spread out over a number of different files.
I would have had a hard time configuring it if it weren't for
correct guesses based on my knowledge of how lilo is configured, which
newer users won't have.  It installs hook scripts that I don't want
(and that have bugs).  But after manual configuration and tweaking,
it works just fine.  Now, if it passes the backup / low-level-format /
restore test, I'll be good to go.  Stay tuned ...

  .''`.     Stephen Powell    
 : :'  :
 `. `'`

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