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I've noticed lately that operating system changes, modern partition tables, and hardware changes are causing lots of Linux users to look at alternative boot loaders for their systems. For a ...
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  1. #1
    oz
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    Boot Loaders and Partition Tables


    I've noticed lately that operating system changes, modern partition tables, and hardware changes are causing lots of Linux users to look at alternative boot loaders for their systems. For a very long time, LILO was the standard boot loader on Linux boxes, then GRUB came along and unseated it. Now, GRUB2 has pretty much moved GRUB into a "has been" position, causing it to be renamed GRUB-Legacy. In addition, some of the older boot loaders are not compatible (unless patched) with the more modern partition table layouts that are now available.

    I started off years ago with LILO, but adapted to GRUB quite easily once it was pretty clear that it was overtaking LILO as the king of boot loaders for Linux users. Then way back when GRUB2 was in its early beta stages, I used it for a year or so (without problem) before returning to the more primitive, but much more stable GRUB (Legacy). Now, I've moved to GPT (GUID Partition Table) for my hard drive partitions, and that has initiated a search for other boot loader options. I've looked at GRUB2, SYSLINUX, and BURG as possible options, but I've also considered perhaps sticking to the older MBR partitioning scheme, and then reverting back to LILO now that it's under development again. Another option would be to stick with the older MBR partitioning scheme and continue using GRUB-Legacy, but I believe its days are numbered unless someone starts up and continues a serious GRUB-Legacy fork project. So, for now, it's GRUB2 with a GPT partition layout for me.

    What bootloader and partition table are the rest of you using these days?
    oz

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I think that GRUB 1/Legacy can handle GPT ok. Personally, I despise GRUB2 - it is just such a PITA to work with! GRUB is simple, works well, and can be configured without much folderol, which is not the case with GRUB2. Latest versions can handle UEFI bioses as long as they are not locked down and require a signed OS, etc (thanks for nothing, Microsoft!).
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    I used LILO quite a while ago when I had SuSE 8.1 installed. I used grub1 up until I converted a root (and boot) partition to ext4, at the time grub1 could not work with ext4 boot partitions which is why I originally switched to grub2. I also prefer grub1 rather than grub2 but thought since the writing was on the wall for grub1 when it was called grub-legacy I never migrated back to grub1.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Well, RHEL and clones (CentOS, SL) are still using GRUB1 and they are going with ext4 by default now (since 6.x).
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    I fought with grub2 for a while, but now I have come to love the automatic setup of it. Once you get the hang of what it looks for and where the config files are, it is a breeze.

    Linux User #376741
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    oz
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    Yeah, it's my understanding that GRUB-Legacy still requires a patch or two to work with EXT4 file systems, and needs further patching to work with GPT partition layouts. Since GRUB-Legacy is no longer being developed, it would seem that these patches will never be implemented into a new GRUB-Legacy release. I usually run Arch Linux, and they've already completely removed GRUB-Legacy from the core repository and dropped it off into the AUR repo, where those wanting to use it can still build their own package.
    oz

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    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    I hate GRUB2 because I can't understand how it works. I hate all big complex software. I always use LILO. I don't care that it's old. Why keep trying to fix what ain't broken?
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

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    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    I always use LILO. I don't care that it's old.
    Yes, I totally agree that it's hard to beat good old fashioned simplicity. If you should ever find that LILO is no longer an acceptable option for you, maybe give Syslinux a try. There's an Arch package for it in the core repository, and it's lighter weight and less complex than GRUB2. It also works fine on msdos or gpt partition layouts.
    oz

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oz View Post
    Yes, I totally agree that it's hard to beat good old fashioned simplicity. If you should ever find that LILO is no longer an acceptable option for you, maybe give Syslinux a try. There's an Arch package for it in the core repository, and it's lighter weight and less complex than GRUB2. It also works fine on msdos or gpt partition layouts.
    Thanks for the lead Oz. I'll check syslinux out. Do you have a handy link for it (just being lazy here)?
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    Do you have a handy link for it (just being lazy here)?
    Syslinux Wiki

    Screenshots - Syslinux Wiki

    ...as it turns out, I've been using Syslinux without realizing it on countless liveCDs that I've booted into over the years.
    oz

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