Booting Stage 2: Ubuntu Settles on GRUB 2

Jun 09, 2009

Now that the GRUB vs. LILO match has been largely decided, the successor to the established GRUB bootloader is waiting in the aisles. The Ubuntu project wants to put GRUB 2 into action with Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala).

As Ubuntu maven Colin Watson announced June 8 in the developer mailing list, the new Ubuntu bootloader is called GRUB 2. The fundamentally new GRUB variant will be in effect for all the newest Ubuntu version installations. The decision came out of the developer meeting for Karmic Koala.

The project wants to leave be already existing installations with GRUB. It's been their policy not to reinstall the bootloader automatically even when upgrading to a new version of GRUB Legacy. Otherwise an inexperienced user might want to reinstall using the new bootloader after a failed installation, a "risky operation," according to Watson. Ubuntu wants to avoid any bad surprises with the GRUB 2 introduction.

There are a few good reasons to upgrade the old, but stable, legacy GRUB. One is to fix design mistakes that couldn't be resolved for backward compatibility, such as the illogical partition addressing. Another is that GRUB 2 provides a few features missing in GRUB Legacy. Among the features are a graphical interface, scripting support, internationalization, elimination of Stage 1.5, cross-platform installation and the dynamic loading of additional modules at runtime.

Particularly adventuresome users can replace their "long-in-tooth" GRUB with the new bootloader from the Ubuntu wiki, which goes into quite a bit more detail. Watson suggests reporting any bugs, particularly those involving regressions from GRUB Legacy, to .

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  • Credit where it is due
  • Credit where it is due

    I disagree with the previous post - one would have to know very little about the FOSS ecosystem to assume that Ubuntu/Canonical developed Grub2. Since their job is primarily to integrate, rather than develop, it makes much more sense to assume that this is an integration decision rather than a development decision. And this is the case.

    Very few packages are developed by Ubuntu/Canonical - upstart is the only one that comes to mind. There may be others, but I don't know about them. This situation is not unique to Ubuntu either - it is similar with all linux distributions.

    However, a mention and a link to the development website would resolve any ambiguity on the issue.
  • GRUB 2 not Canonical code

    By mentioning only Ubuntu devs and Ubuntu, your article makes it sound like GRUB 2 is being developed by Ubuntu devs for Ubuntu. That is far from the truth. It is developed by GNU developers, who have no direct association with Ubuntu nor Canonical, and GRUB 2 is intended for all distros. Please give credit where credit is due. Open source developers work hard to produce this software, free of charge, and it's extremely frustrating when magazine authors not only fail to give any credit _at all_ to the responsible parties, but instead help perpetuate the myth that Ubuntu/Canonical is the one making all this software available and possible. Is it any wonder that Ubuntu users actually think that Canonical makes Linux? You wouldn't know otherwise from magazine articles that fail to give any credit at all to the devs who actually make it all possible. In fact, since most of this article is actually about what GRUB 2 brings to the table, there's no reason at all why Ubuntu even needs to be mentioned. Is it not possible to talk about software written by non-Canonical employees, for all distros, without somehow tying it into Canonical/Ubuntu as if the latter is the one that makes that software?
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