Stephen Powell recently reminded the kernel team that LILO is not automatically updated on installation of a new kernel version in lenny. In fact there is a general problem that there are several different ways a boot loader may be updated automatically and currently no guarantee that this does happen whenever it should. There are two major cases where a boot loader should be updated automatically: 1. Where the boot loader relies on block lists rather than reading the filesystem, these block lists need to be updated whenever a kernel image or an initramfs is updated or removed. 2. Where the boot loader allows selection between arbitrarily many installed versions, the configuration should be updated whenever a kernel package is newly installed or removed. There are several ways such updates may be triggered: A. Packages built with older versions of kernel-package, including the official kernel packages in etch, run a platform-specific default boot loader if it is installed and if it falls into case 1 above. B. The maintainer scripts of kernel packages invoke hook scripts installed in appropriate subdirectories under /etc/kernel/. C. The maintainer scripts of kernel packages invoke hook commands specified in /etc/kernel-img.conf. D. "update-initramfs -u" will run certain boot loader update programs if installed. In lenny, route A was effectively disabled in official kernel packages. However, no boot loader uses route B and debian-installer enables route C only for GRUB (as far as I know). Disabling route A in lenny was clearly premature and I intend to restore it in a stable update. However, given that route B is present in both lenny and squeeze (and even in etch, I think) there is no good reason for packages not to rely on it now. (Well, except lack of documentation.) All boot loader packages that fall into case 1 or 2 should be installing hook scripts, but currently only extlinux does. I intend to remove the vestigial code for route A, and file bugs on all boot loaders in case 1 or 2 that do not use route B. In case 1, the boot loader should also be called by update-initramfs when it is called outside of kernel package installation and removal. This is normally covered by route D, but this seems a little fragile. I would prefer to replace this with a hook system (as already exists for building the initramfs itself), but I'm not that involved in initramfs-tools development. Ben. -- Ben Hutchings Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.
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