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Re: why can't i use grub with an ext3 /boot partition?

Robert P. J. Day wrote:
  possibly related to an earlier post that discussed grub but, when
installing lenny, if i choose to create a separate, primary partition
for /boot (a long-time habit), if i select ext3 for that partition, i
am not offered the chance to use grub as a bootloader.

  as best i can tell, that /boot partition must be both:

1) set as bootable, and
2) ext2 format

otherwise, i'm stuck with lilo.  is this true?  is there a reason the
debian install can't handle grub and a bootable ext3 partition?  i've
tested this a number of times and it seems that ext3 is the deciding

I can't give you the answer, but I can confirm it's possible in sid, at least by devious means:

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1          61      489951   83  Linux
/dev/sda2              62       38913   312078690   8e  Linux LVM

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc			/proc           proc    defaults        0       0
/dev/mapper/first-root	/               reiserfs defaults        0       1
/dev/mapper/first-backup /backup        reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/sda1		/boot           ext3    defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-home	/home           reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-spare	/mnt/spare      reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-tmp	/tmp            reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-usr	/usr            reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-var	/var            reiserfs defaults        0       2
/dev/mapper/first-swap	none            swap    sw              0       0

This installation is on a brand-new drive and was a fresh Lenny netinstall followed by a switch of repositories to sid and a dpkg --get-selections from a file made on my previous machine.

I can't swear that grub was installed at the netinstall stage, though I thought it was. It's certainly there now, along with its grub2 hitch-hiker, and there's no sign of lilo having existed on this machine.

I'm not about to do the upgrade-from-grub-legacy, as I did that a few days ago, spent most of a day trying to fix the resulting unbootable machine and ended up reinstalling the OS. I could find no other means, using various boot/rescue media followed by chroot, of reinstalling either grub or grub2.

At least with lilo, you can fix it in ten minutes if it breaks. And most of that is time spent looking for the boot floppy.


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