Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Apr 2010 23:01 UTC
Linux The tools used to boot Linux are changing. Specifically, the Grand Unified Bootloader is now officially in maintenance mode only, and GRUB's developers have abandoned the original GRUB in favor of an entirely rewritten package, known as GRUB 2. Discover GRUB 2's new capabilities and how to use it.
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Vent
by fretinator on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 00:20 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

[vent]
I do not like Grub2. I had few problems with grub, but Grub2 has been very unstable for me. 3 different Grub2 problems bit me on 1 laptop

1. By default, it would detect drives by UUID, and bomb when it couldn't find the drive (even though the UUID was correct). This is a known issue. I had to turn the UUID feature off.

2. There was a line with a "search...." statement in it. This also caused a problem, so I had to figure out how to get rid of it.

3. There was some line at the beginning that had to do with recordfail. I had an unclean shutdown, that I guess caused some file it was looking for to not exist - again a fail to boot. I had to edit some file in /usr/lib/ to get this to go away.

The bottom line is Grub 2 had configuration files spread out all over the place that you must edit if you have trouble. You can't just edit grub.cfg, as it will be regenerated with kernel updates. You have to find the right files to edit that are used as source when grub.cfg get recreated.

I don't think it is stable enough yet to be abandoning the grub line, but that seems to be just they way it goes in the Linux world. Maybe I'll have to go back to Lilo!!
[/vent]

Reply Score: 9

RE: Vent
by sakeniwefu on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 00:41 UTC in reply to "Vent"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

Even without the bugs, who asked them to make it backwards incompatible?

If you think the old bootconf format needs to die, write a porting tool or at least document the damn new format and tell the user you are going to break everything with the next update.

When distros first switched, there wasn't much information on the net and, of course, it is Linux - you can't expect it to be properly documented on your own system.

BTW, they have an auto-detector, last time I looked it was able to detect Windows and Linux installations. Out of the thousands of OSes, many of which use GRUB.

Sorry, MikeOS is not supported, however, you can install Windows (R) instead. Now on sale for only $299.99!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Vent
by looncraz on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 02:58 UTC in reply to "Vent"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Agreed!

Grub2 has been a major PITA! I can't even install newer versions of Ubuntu on most any machine anymore.

Grub2 may have more potential, but let us realize that potential before we use it wide-spread.

I, too, find it outright idiotic to edit ten different files to do what once only required editing one file. I finally, after HOURS of trying, managed to even get Grub2 to update properly enough to get an image to display instead of the ugly default look.

I'm sure the hassles will improve with time, but that should have been a priority prior to release.

People in the Linux community need to try and make things easy for those outside of the community to join and be proficient. That is what made BeOS so great. With BeOS, everything was clean and simple and worked as you thought it should work from reading a couple lines of a description.

It would also be nice if Linux installers would show all available OSes and permit configuring ( graphically ) the boot loader for the next boot. It shouldn't take hours of studying by a well-experienced computer tech to figure out how to change the order of operating systems and add a background.

Of course, on Ubuntu, I figured out that I had to 'sudo apt-get install grub2' which was counter-intuitive, considering grub2 was installed by default ( but apparently not the utilities... ).

On a related note, that makes me wonder why so few ( any? ) Linux distributions allow customizing the installation.

Ubuntu's installer could simply ask where you were to determine most everything they ask at the start of the installation.

And why do I have to select Monterrey, Mexico when I'm in Texas? That makes no sense to me ( yes, I know the actual reason, but it should be hidden from the user ).

Oh well, nothing is perfect...

--The loon

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Vent
by ricegf on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Vent"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

@The loon: Ubuntu's installer could simply ask where you were to determine most everything they ask at the start of the installation.

Perhaps, but Ubuntu asks *far* fewer questions than Win 7 during installation. Ubuntu also has the courtesy to ask all of its questions up front and then complete installation unattended, rather than ask a few questions, install a bit, reboot, lather, rinse, repeat. And it leaves you with most common apps pre-installed, rather than almost naked like the competition.

I compared the two in more detail at http://ricegf.posterous.com/installing-your-own-os-whos-easy. Ubuntu isn't perfect (I live in east Texas but have to choose Chicago for time zone?!?), but it's not bad. Improvements are always appreciated, of course. :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Vent
by Ensue85A on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Vent"
Ensue85A Member since:
2009-07-10

Maybe we need to drop grub altogether in favor of the BeOS boot menu....I've wanted to do that for years.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Vent
by turrini on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 16:50 UTC in reply to "Vent"
turrini Member since:
2006-10-31

I've never had a GRUB2 problem, and I'm talking about of 1200+ installations of it at the company I work for, in mixed Debian testing/sid/experimental environments.

Sorry dude, but let the documentation help you before you start complaining.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Vent
by aaronb on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Vent"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

Are the 1200+ installations on a variety of hardware configurations?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Vent
by turrini on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 17:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vent"
turrini Member since:
2006-10-31

Yes, since generic machines with common mobos (pc chips, msi, gigabyte, asus, etc) to medium/high end computers/servers (mainly HP, IBM, Dell and some Supermicro/Megaware).

It's a very mixed environment. IDE/SATA/SCSI/SAS, GRUB2 work for us every time.

My personal notebook, HP Pavilion DV5 1240br, works flawlessly with grub2, with grub1, it doesn't work (doesn't recognize my hd).

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Vent
by aaronb on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Vent"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

Thank you for indulging my curiosity <-;

I also have not had any problems with GRUB2 (or GRUB1).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Vent
by fretinator on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Vent"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm elated when I report various issues with a product, and someone informs me that they have had no problems. Now I can sleep at night!

Seriously, my main complain is _NOT_ that Grub2 is a worse product. I've had trouble with the original Grub (especially when the BIOS mis-reported a drive size), and I have had troubles at times with LILO. This is normal. In my case, I think it had to do with the particular Tablet PC I was using. Some Tablet PC's have a wierd way of initializing there devices at startup.

Anyhoo, the point is that when something invariably goes wrong (which happens with all software - I write software for a living ;} ), the means by which you resolve these issues is quite tortuous in Grub2. By having its configuration spread out in multiple places (at least 3 that I know of), and multiple files in each location, they have created quite a puzzle for the end user. At some point, a good front-end to all of this will be created (there is one I have looked at so far), then this will become less of an issue.

Really, I would see Grub2 _currently_ as more appropriate for Fedora. For Ubuntu, which emphasizes the "Just Works" philosophy, I do not believe it is stable and friendly enough for the end user. Just my $0.03 (my opinion is worth 50% more).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Vent
by Fettarme H-Milch on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 15:56 UTC in reply to "Vent"
Fettarme H-Milch Member since:
2010-02-16

I do not like Grub2. I had few problems with grub, but Grub2 has been very unstable for me.

Grub2 does -- as of yet -- not have an official stable release. It's not the Grub maintainers fault when Linux distributors who claim to ship stable software (hello, Ubuntu) use Grub2 nonetheless.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Vent
by fretinator on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 17:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Vent"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Grub2 does -- as of yet -- not have an official stable release. It's not the Grub maintainers fault when Linux distributors who claim to ship stable software (hello, Ubuntu) use Grub2 nonetheless.


Very important point, thanks for clarifying!

Edited 2010-04-23 17:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

grub2 rocks
by nbensa on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 03:37 UTC
nbensa
Member since:
2005-08-29

I have a somewhat particular setup:

2 x 1TB hard drives in raid1 configuration with only one lvm partition with many logical volumes inside (/boot /root /swap... etc.)

The only bootloader able to boot my system is grub2

Anyway, humans are lazy; they don't want to learn new tricks if the old ones still work.

Reply Score: 4

RE: grub2 rocks
by gilboa on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 09:32 UTC in reply to "grub2 rocks"
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

I last tested grub2 long -long- ago, so I can't really comment on how stable it is now.

However, it's not that people are lazy; The main problem with boot managers that if they break -nothing- works. You can't switch to last good known kernel / glibc, you're simply doomed.

As for your configuration, I have a far more complex setups (ranging from 3 x 320GB SATA drives to 16 x 144GB SAS drives), all running software RAID5 or RAID6.
In-order to solve the grub-doesn't-support-RAID[0/5/6] I usually setup two RAID arrays:
/dev/md0: a 200MB RAID1 across all drives.
/dev/md1: the main RAID5/6 array.

If the boot drive dies, I simply switch the BIOS to the next one. (If I somehow failed to write update the drive's MBR, I simply pxeboot/LiveCD and fix the MBR)

- Gilboa

Reply Score: 3

I'm not feeling a lot of love...
by Tuishimi on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 04:35 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...for Grub2.

Reply Score: 3

Not working for me either...
by jaklumen on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 05:39 UTC
jaklumen
Member since:
2010-02-09

But I do suspect that my 40G IDE/PATA drive coupled with a mass storage SATA with an IDE config on the both could be to blame. Yes, I have a Franken-POS; I cannot afford nifty new upgrades often. And yes, my hard drive configuration is weird-- I should have pure IDE or have just SATAs in a RAID setup. But y'know, I'm working with what I've got and what I can genuinely afford. Is that preventing me from upgrading my Mint/Ubuntu installations? Why yes it is. But I'm OK for now.

Reply Score: 1

It works on my systems
by darknexus on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 05:54 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

It is, however, a serious pita if it doesn't work on a particular setup. And wtf is the deal with the new format of the menu entries? For fsck's sake, it almost looks like C++! And why on earth, when I tell it to install to a specific drive, does it insist on trying to probe for drives I do not have and giving seek errors as a result?
If GRUB2 works in its default config, you're covered. If you need to change anything, you'll quickly see how screwed up it is despite some of the cool new features such as being able to boot ISO images. This is like the Pulseaudio situation... except worse, as the boot loader is a bit more important.
Oh, and why when one distro does something stupid like this do the others follow suit? Do these devs have some sort of inferiority complex that they need to get all whiz-bang and update to something that isn't ready? And we wonder why desktop Linux isn't going very far...

Reply Score: 6

I don't care for it either
by Morgan on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 08:44 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

GRUB2 has bitten me more than once. When Ubuntu 9.10 first came out, I tried it as the only OS on a system. GRUB2 wouldn't boot after a default install though. This left me uninterested in Ubuntu for a while. Strangely enough, Linux Mint 8 (based on ubuntu 9.10) worked fine on the same system.

Today, I have a triple-boot system with a mix of SATA and PATA drives. I have Mac OS X on the SATA (spare me the wagging fingers please) and Windows XP/Linux Mint 8 on a PATA. Long story short, GRUB2 took over the boot partition of my SATA drive, so I had to disconnect it during the Mint install. Now I must choose which drive to boot from using the BIOS boot selector; not TOO big a deal but I didn't have this issue with regular GRUB or LILO for that matter i.e. Slackware didn't touch the SATA drive during a test install.

Reply Score: 4

Grub2 is a disaster
by Paradroid on Thu 22nd Apr 2010 11:57 UTC
Paradroid
Member since:
2010-01-05

My experiences with Grub2:

I needed to add a boot parameter to fix a power management issue on my laptop, but after two multi-hour sessions of trying, I failed.

Absolutely ridiculous system. It's "just" a bootloader. Should be nowhere near as complicated as this.

Or at least there should be two modes, simple and fully featured.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

Why do all Linux developers have a hard-on for spreading config options into dozens of different files, in multiple sub-directories? What is wrong with a single, simple config file?

First it was xinetd. Then Apache 2.x. Then a bunch of other software followed suit. Now Grub2. ProFTPd took it to the extreme (1 option per file, filename is the option name, contents are the option values).

It's irritating in the extreme, and makes it *VERY* hard to manage from the CLI. I thought software was supposed to get *easier* to manage as time went on.

Reply Score: 5

Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

First it was xinetd. Then Apache 2.x. Then a bunch of other software followed suit. Now Grub2. ProFTPd took it to the extreme (1 option per file, filename is the option name, contents are the option values).

Personally, that way is my favorite way. I have never used ProFTPd, but that is similar to Linux's procfs or sysfs. I think it makes it extremely easy to manage with scripts, ex:

echo 42 > options/some_option

All of the programs I have written work this way. I then wrote a small GUI program that displays the options and lets you edit them, sort of like GConf. I think it is actually very easy to use. It also makes the programming a lot easier (no parsers needed).

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

It might makes things easy to automate ... but it makes it a royal pain in the arse to deal with manually. And when you're working on multiple servers across multiple network links, it becomes even more of a royal pain in the arse. And when things go wrong ... it's even worse.

Reply Score: 2

AnyoneEB Member since:
2008-10-26

Personally, I find multiple config files much easier to deal with. They certainly make scripts that deal with config files easier, but I also like that I can, for example, enable or disable a site in Apache 2 using ln -s and rm and that to change a single site, I do not have to find it in a config file. (Admittedly, I am not a heavy user of Apache but I do similar things with apt.)

Apt also makes good use of it with the apt.conf.d and sources.list.d directories. Notably, apt will look for the files apt.conf and sources.list and check for the directories only if the files do not exist, so if you prefer to have everything in one file, you can.

I have not looked into the grub2 configuration much as the Debian install of it just worked for me. I just looked and (noting that it may be different on other distros) it appears to be made out of a single config file /boot/grub/grub.cfg which is built by running the shell scripts in /etc/grub.d/ in order, which seems like a pretty sane way to handle things, especially as it includes an example file which just dumps its contents into that place in the config file (which is empty by default) for adding your own directives. If you really wanted to, you could just replace that with a single file pretty easily.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Some things, it makes sense to split into separate files. Like Apache virtual hosts. But does everything else under /etc/apache2 have to be in separate files? Really?

Same with all the apt.sources.d directories. Is it really easier to manage all those files, then just firing up a text editor and adding/removing a simple # in the first column?

What's even worse, though, is when using separate config files actually breaks features ... like the mess that is logrotate (at least in Debian/Ubuntu). /etc/logrotate.conf is supposed to be the global config file that all the other files under /etc/logrotate.d/ pick up ... yet it doesn't actually work that way, and you still have to duplicate all your monthly/compress options in all the files. Which means you now have to edit dozens of files to change the rotation policy ... instead of just one.

There's a time and a place to separate config files and use includes. Grub configuration is not one of them.

Reply Score: 2

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26


Same with all the apt.sources.d directories. Is it really easier to manage all those files, then just firing up a text editor and adding/removing a simple # in the first column?


It sure is easier for dpkg...

Just edit /etc/grub.d/40_custom and you should have the old /boot/grub/menu.lst experience.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Why do all Linux developers have a hard-on for spreading config options into dozens of different files, in multiple sub-directories? What is wrong with a single, simple config file?


Simple answer: automation. Most Linux systems these days focus on automation and scripting with GUI frontends. Separate files are much easier to deal with in automation and scripting tasks at least if done well.
That being said, there's a place for this and I don't believe the entire grub configuration is the best place for it. I could see splitting out each section, i.e. default config parameters and then each os entry being separate files, but the way they do it now is just overkill especially when it flies apart as it too often does.

Reply Score: 2

took me long enough to get used to grub ...
by smoerk on Fri 23rd Apr 2010 14:53 UTC
smoerk
Member since:
2009-07-10

... now I should learn how to use the new grub2, where everything is different.

more features doesn't mean it is a better program for users.

grub2 sucks!

Reply Score: 0

smoerk Member since:
2009-07-10

but it's a typical linux thing, rewrite everything every couple of years.

Reply Score: 0

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Usually right after things settle down and become stable/usable. ;) Got to keep everyone on their toes.

Reply Score: 2

GRUB best
by pepa on Sun 25th Apr 2010 17:43 UTC
pepa
Member since:
2005-07-08

I was elated when I discovered GRUB after having had to use LILO. Just edit menu.lst and that is ALL! I was positively deflated when I discovered what they had done with GRUB2 -- nothing is easy about it, it is more prone to break things, very sad... For my use, went back to GRUB.

Reply Score: 2