grub enhancements

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Mon Mar 14 13:10:53 CST 2005

On Mon, Mar 14, 2005 at 11:42:43AM -0500, John Richard Moser wrote:

> The 0.8 series of Gnoppix[1] used a version of grub that would display a
> text menu on old screens (I put it in qemu and all it gave me was text
> to pick from!), but would on newer machines automatically use a full
> graphical enhanced menu that had a progress bar for the countdown, a
> very pretty menu layout, and the grub command for the kernel command
> line at the bottom ready to edit on the spot.
> Those grub enhancements would be very nice to see in Hoary+1, and on
> future LiveCDs.  Even technical users would rather pick from a menu of
> prefab commands than type in a prefab command, after all.

We intentionally moved from GRUB to isolinux for the live CD because the
Warty live CD was GRUB-based and this caused it to fail to boot on a
significant number of systems compared to the Warty install CD.

We also experimented with a GRUB splash screen (using the same graphical
features used for the menu) for Warty, and found that this, too, caused
stability problems.

So while we agree that these features would be desirable, in both cases we
resolved that booting on more computers was better than being pretty.

> Another thing is to get Grub to be able to chainload (cd)+1 (I think it
> can already do fd0), if it can't already.  Some documentation on it if
> it can would be nice.  The idea here is to allow the administrator to
> disable floppy and CD boot and use grub:

My understanding is that GRUB can only boot from a CD if it was itself
loaded from CD, because it uses the BIOS to access it.  There do exist other
boot loaders which support being loaded from a floppy and then chaining to

 - mdz

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