[Oneiric-Topic] Server Boot

Sander Smeenk ssmeenk at freshdot.net
Wed Apr 6 19:25:55 UTC 2011

Quoting Clint Byrum (clint at ubuntu.com):

> >  * GRUB's default "graphical console"
> Not sure I follow you .. whats the problem here? It looks pretty "texty"
> to me, but I have been primarily booting it in VM's.

GRUB, Plymouth and later console-setup fiddle with the 'VESA Video
Mode'(?) of the text console. GRUB does it to display backgroundimages,
Plymouth for the splashscreen and console-setup changes the font of the

The problem is that lots of *LOM, *RMC and DRAC solutions completely
choke on these "nonstandard" videomodes. I could blame that on the
crappy Java applets they use, ofcourse. But why?! ;)

> >  * Plymouth splashscreens (even textbased ones!)
> With things starting in parallel, plymouth is just a multiplexer that
> keeps messages and user interaction from running all over eachother.
> I'm not sure why you'd be against that.

I'd be happy with unsorted lines prefixed with a PID or procname or
something. It would be like going through maillogs, i'm used to that ;)

Current(!) Plymouth, in Lucid and Maverick at least, obstructs me in my
work with >300 servers running Ubuntu Server.

Real-life examples: i can't see why or rather when my server
spontaneously rebooted, or what that kernel panic was i could identify
by the keyboard-leds, but nothing was on my screen.

I have had servers show the bootscreen with red/white dots, aparently
stuck, no messages on screen but hitting 's' made it boot (nobootwait
issue). All these things really stress me out when i'm trying to quickly
fix a problem with a server. And one question remains: why? ;)

> Agreed that some things have been done to the boot that make no sense
> for servers. You've done a nice job identifying a few of them above.

Yeah. You've nailed my point. "Ubuntu" is geared, or gearing, towards
Desktop users. I have no beef with that, i love Ubuntu on the desktop.
My parents love it too. It just works so well.

When i install Ubuntu on a server i keep asking: why?
Why do we want our server to have backgrounds in GRUB and show
bootscreens during boot? Why do we want to start processes in parallel?
With current hardware it takes longer to get through all BIOS POSTs,
disk-detection, PXE and other ROMs than it takes to boot the OS. ;)

One solution could be a subset of packages geared to servers?
Don't know how feasible that is. 

Currently it's really only the kernel that makes a server install a
server install. The packages installed are all the same available on the
desktop. There's just less pulled in though metapackages at install.

> Keep the ideas coming everybody!

Thanks for sharing your views and insights!

With regards,
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