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Re: Re. CD writer

On Thu, Oct 16, 2003 at 01:48:01PM -0700, Sidney Brooks wrote:
> Actually the instructions that I followed to build the
> kernel came from "Custom Kernel Compiling in Debian
> 2.2" by Jeepsta. I am reasonably sure that I did this
> correctly because when I do dpkg -l, I find
> kernel-image-2 Custom.2, my second build.
> When you speak of updating the block image in the
> kernel, I assume that you mean changing lilo.conf
> followed by the command lilo. I have done this.
> If I understand you correctly, you have no further
> suggestions that involve working with lilo. Instead
> you recommend switching to grub, a program that I have
> not used, but am willing to try.
> What concerns me is that in the past, I have had
> trouble getting rid of lilo in the MBR. 

This is not a good statement of the situation. To get
'rid of lilo in the MBR', you install some other data
in the MBR. If the new data happens to be executable
code that behaves as a boot system, you get at boot-up
whatever OS that new code is set up to load. Otherwise
you don't boot from that disk at all. 

                                            I was able to
> get rid of it when it was installed by older versions
> of Mandrake by using the Windows recovery console.
> However this did not work with the version of lilo
> installed by Mandrake 8.0.It also caused troubles with
> other partitions. Ultimately, I found a program that
> wiped by computer clean and went through the laborious
> and lengthy process of restoring my computer. Although
> I had backed up most things, I could not back up
> programs that insisted on residing on the C drive (I
> have separate data and program drives for Windows to
> protect myself from the inevitable Windows crashes.)
> >From that time on, I refuse to have anything to do
> with Mandrake, which insists on installing its version
> of lilo.It does not allow the usual skip lilo followed
> by creation of a boot floppy.
> All this leads to the question, will lilo -q

lilo -q does not write to disk, anywhere. So it cannot
clear out lilo. It reads /boot/map, which is a binary
format file and displays in human readable form what
it finds. What it finds is what it, lilo, put there
the last time it rewrote the MBR.

> completely clean out the MBR and allow me to try grub
> without risking my past troubles? The grub package is
> not now installed on my computer, but if it is on the
> installation disks I know how to install it.
> Am I correct that /boot/grub/menu.1st plays the same
> role as lilo.conf? 

Grub loads its own special code into the MBR. Its code
runs a 'smarter' boot system than does lilo. The smarter
code, knows how to find /boot/grub/menu.1st on the
disk (simply stated lilo knows only about drives, 
cylinders and sectors, not about root, directories and
files), but both must have their own version of an MBR.
To change which kernel gets loaded under Grub, you
edit the menu.1st file, and you need not change what
is recorded in the MBR (if you were using Grub, before
you installed the new kernel that you now want to use).

Read a better, longer discussion at the Grub web site.

  And that there is a command
> equivalent to lilo, maybe grub? Can grub be erased
> easily if things go wrong? 

The info that grub uses from the menu.1st file, can
instead be entered on the command line at boot time,
if you remember it correctly. 

Again, you can't erase the grub version of MBR except
by replacing it with some other bit pattern. You really
want that other bit pattern to be some functional boot
code. Setting the MBR to all zero bits will not somehow
expose a default boot system hidden somewhere else.

I haven't been following this carefully, but I really
doubt that lilo can be causing trouble with cd writer.
If you have not edited lilo.conf, and run lilo (the 
program) after each change in your kernel, you have
not been seeing the effects of any of your new kernels.
Maybe you have done what was needed to fix cd writing,
but not seen the results because you forgot to run lilo.

Read the grub web page carefully. It will be clear from
that, that whatever the benefits of grub over lilo, fixing
cd writing is not one of them.


Paul E Condon           

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