Odd error report from grub-install

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Mon Mar 21 22:39:11 UTC 2016

On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 01:51:42PM -0700, Kevin O'Gorman wrote:
> Actually, I do NOT have any adobe software (beyond acrobat plugins)
> installed on this machine.  I'm not sure there ever were on this one, but
> any that I have were parts of Design Premium 5 and were were uninstalled
> over a year ago to move the licenses to another machine, and of them
> Dreamweaver was the only one I used much.

One of the peculiarities of this stuff (FlexNet and others) is that
uninstalling the proprietary software in question doesn't necessarily
actually remove all its remnants from the machine; from what we can
tell, this appears to be deliberate, in order to enforce things like
trial periods even across uninstall/install cycles.

may be of some help in understanding the background; that was part of my
attempt to gather information in order to put in place what eventually
turned into the warning message you're seeing.

Note that this is *not* an error message; it is a warning.  An error
would mean that there is some problem that couldn't be fixed
automatically.  But in this case, it's only a warning: GRUB is telling
you that it worked around a problem.  You can ignore this message if you

The reason GRUB reports this message, even though inevitably not
everyone will understand it or be able to do much with it (remember it's
only written to the terminal, so it's not very intrusive) is that we
have no other way to encourage people to complain to the vendors of the
proprietary software in question that abuses bits of the boot area.
Their misbehaviour can have much more serious consequences if there is
already a boot loader in place there when the proprietary software tries
to write its licence tracking stuff there; GRUB actually has to
implement error correction in assembly on its own boot code in order to
stop this rendering systems unbootable, which is a non-trivial
maintenance cost!  We therefore need some kind of way to exert pressure
on these vendors, even if it's small and indirect.

We can't really give much more information in the warning message,
because that would involve us putting in a lot of time researching the
quirks of proprietary software rather than developing free software.
The current situation seems like a reasonable compromise, because at
least we don't silently brush the problem under the carpet.

I hope that this message will turn up for future people searching for
this problem.

> So why they interfere now, after all this time of active maintenance
> on the 'buntu install is beyond me.

It's doubtless always done this and you just noticed now.  Like I say,
it's a warning indicating that GRUB has worked around a problem, so you
could have been running a system quite happily in this state for years.

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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