[Techtalk] XP with Linux

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Fri Jun 13 11:23:30 EST 2003

Staci writes:
> Aside from it being default in some distributions, are there many Grub users around?  Does
> anyone actually CHOOSE grub, or do they just choose not to change from the default?  ]

I avoided grub for a long time, just because I already knew how to use
lilo.  But I've switched to grub on any new machine I install.  Why?
Because I like to install several different linux distros on a machine
(that way I can try out a new release without risking my working one,
or I can compare how well two different distros work on the same
hardware), and grub is MUCH better than lilo at that.

With grub, I can have one /boot partition which is shared among all
linux partitions on the machine.  I can even compile a kernel, put
it on the shared /boot, and then use that kernel to boot to any of
my different linux distros.  And when I rebuild a kernel all I have
to do is copy it to /boot, and grub takes care of the rest.
No more "Oops, I forgot to run lilo after copying the new kernel,
now I need two more reboots to fix the problem before I can test
my changes."

That's much more complicated to do with lilo: you need to set up one
distro as the "master" which is allowed to run lilo and write to
the MBR, and it has to know about all the other partitions and mount
them so that it can read their kernels and write their information
whenever you change anything.  And shared /boot doesn't work, so you
either need a small /boot for each root, or give up on /boot and
use the lba32 hack to persuade lilo to boot from all your partitions.

For a machine that will never have more than one Linux and one Windows
partition on it, probably none of this matters much and either is fine.


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