grub2 = beta?

Tom H tomh0665 at
Fri Dec 11 13:18:25 UTC 2009

> Normally, I don't comment on preferences, (Gnome vs KDE, synaptic vs
> aptitude, firefox vs opera, etc) but I think I shall add my 2 cents on
> grub. I have an 'obsession' with making sure my OS boots and I have
> therefore had some 'experimentations' with both grub-legacy and grub2.
> making custom boot cd's, usb sticks, and setting just a partition for
> booting, using the old lilo, grub-legacy and grub2. Had also tried
> super-grub, gag and one more which fails my memory.
> Grub2 is far superior on many counts; for one, it is modular, adding
> features which do not require a whole reengineering of the whole grub
> system making it more robust and more powerful and flexible. Grub-legacy
> has not been maintained for many years, causing others to come up with
> super-grub, etc (yet I find working with grub-legacy more instructive
> than using super-grub). I find many things - and one which is not so
> good - in grub2 (even in beta) much better than grub-legacy from a user
> point - really, who wants to know how the boot works, just make sure it
> boots - .

I do not see the upgrade from grub 0.97 to grub 1.97/1.98 in the same
way as the "debates" - to be generous - regarding vi-v-emacs-v-...,
gnome-v-kde-v-..., ext3-v-jfs-v-xfs-v-reiserfs,
sendmail-v-postfix-v-exim, linux-v-osx-v-windows, ... (whose threads I
skim while thinking "these people are nuts").

I would like to add to Goh Lip's points above that grub2 also provides:

1. Booting no matter how bad your misconfiguration through grub-rescue.

2. Booting from an ext4 and/or mdadm'd and/or lvm'd /boot (although I
learned this week to my chagrin the Fedora developers have patched
grub1 to boot from an ext4 /boot).

I do fault the grub2 developers for changing the syntax. Developers
(and I have to work with many) often get overwhelmed by the "sexiness"
of their products to the detriment of their users' ease of use.

Was it really necessary to change:

title --> menuentry

root/uuid --> set root (although here "root" has changed from being a
command to being a variable)

kernel --> linux (it could have become "kernel linux", "kernel hurd",
"kernel freebsd", "kernel netbsd", "kernel openbsd", etc, although
some might have complained about the extra redundant-looking "kernel"
{I might have possibly complained!} but grub.cfg would have looked
more familiar); grub1 has the option to use "kernel --type=<type>"

find --> search

map --> drivemap

Except for menuentry and possibly the curly brackets, there is a
plausible rationale for these changes and others. However there should
have been, IMHO, an effort to maintain the grub1 syntax in order to
flatten the learning curve.

The grub2 developers have made it progress in leaps and bounds since
September/October when you could end up with incorrect UUIDs, (hdX)s,
even expressions (IIRC, "uuid..." instead of "set root..." or
"search...") in grub.cfg but it must still have beta in its package
name for a reason (perhaps because it is still relatively untested).
grub2 was probably included prematurely in 9.10 because Ubuntu did not
want to introduce this radical an upgrade with its 10.04 LTS release.

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