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Re: The problem with mbr...

Tom Rothamel <tom-mutt-1@onegeek.org> writes:

> Tha biggest problem with the mbr boot loader is its
> invisibility. Lilo prints out a prompt at boot time, making it fairly
> simple for one to know that it's running. All the times I've come
> across mbr, I just had a cryptic prompt that came up instead of the
> lilo prompt that I expected.

MBR must fit entirely in the MBR.  This means something like 400
bytes, TOTAL, for the entire program.  There's not a lot of room for
help text.

> It's the invisibility, coupled with the fact that, AFAIK, no other
> linux distro uses mbr, that makes it hard to find out about. However,

I believe that most of them use it actually.

> mbr seems to be useful to recover from a bad lilo install. (At least,
> some seem to think this... I've never really had a truly bad lilo
> install, so I can't comment.) 


> I think that the solution to this is to make mbr display a prompt with
> its name at boot time. This would make people aware that it's on the
> system, which could help them find the READMEs. (It's somewhat
> suprising and disconcerting to find something running in the boot
> sequence without announcing its presence.)

I'm not sure that there is space technically for this.  Dunno, this is
a guess, but I suspect that with all the features in it, they are
REALLY pushing the limit already.

John Goerzen   Linux, Unix consulting & programming   jgoerzen@complete.org |
Developer, Debian GNU/Linux (Free powerful OS upgrade)       www.debian.org |
The 4,744,217th prime number is 81,359,419.

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