News and EditorialsLILO (LInux LOader) as the dominant software for this purpose, many seasoned Linux system administrators had mastered the art of creating a lilo.conf file out of thin air, without having to look through any LILO documentation. Unfortunately for them, the release notes of Red Hat 7.2, released in October 2001, informed us that "we now use GRUB as the default bootloader."
Back in those days, only Caldera OpenLinux was supplying GNU's GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) as its preferred bootloader, but this sudden push by Red Hat was about to give GRUB a major boost. Indeed, many distributions soon followed Red Hat's example and started providing GRUB as an option, although few of them displaced LILO altogether. Then in March 2003, the just-released Red Hat Linux 9 re-emphasized Red Hat's commitment to GRUB by placing LILO on a list of deprecated packages that may be removed from a future Red Hat release. Although this has yet to happen, the fact is that Red Hat (as well as Fedora) have not updated their LILO version since August 2000.
Does this mean that LILO is dead? Well, not quite. Firstly, LILO has been around for so many years (I was unable to find out exactly how many, but LILO version 15 was released in October 1994), that it is firmly entrenched in many a sysadmin's arsenal of tools. Secondly, GRUB is still considered alpha software - even its most recent release, version 0.95, is only available from alpha.gnu.org, rather than from GNU's stable directory. As for the Linux distributions, most of the major ones seem to be slowly moving towards GRUB as their preferred bootloader, although this has not happened across the board. While SUSE's installation program does default to GRUB, Mandrake's still defaults to LILO. The Debian installer that came with Woody did not provide GRUB at all, but the recent Sarge beta installers now use GRUB by default. Gentoo used to demonstrate a clear preference for GRUB, but its most recent installation documentation gives equal exposure to both bootloaders. This leaves Slackware as the only major distribution that does not provide GRUB, but this is hardly surprising given its target market and its reputation for staying with well-established UNIX/Linux tools.
The LILO versus GRUB argument is one of those never-ending and passionate discussions that resurface from time to time on various public forums, not too different from the notorious vi vs. emacs or KDE vs. GNOME verbal battles. Although we all know that these debates are pointless and that the choice of software is a simple matter of personal taste, few of us are able to control the urge to reply as soon as we read a derogatory comment ridiculing our preferred piece of software.
So what exactly makes GRUB better than LILO? Here is a list of some of GRUB's frequently cited advantages:
Some distributors - and their users - may continue to disagree for some time, however.
Distribution NewsIssue #13 of the Fedora News Updates is available. This issue looks at the "Wombat" release, the perfect yum.conf file, the Basilisk live CD, and more.
Xandros and Opera Software have announced that the new Open Circulation Edition of the Xandros Desktop operating system (OS) will be the first Linux desktop distribution to offer Opera as the default browser.
New DistributionsAPODIO is a new bootable CD audio workstation. "APODIO is a live bootable cd, containing major audio tools (under Gnu/Linux) and a whole operating system (based on Mandrake 9.2) working from boot, without the need to install or change anything on the hard disk. You can try it out very easily and if you like it you can simply install it directly on your harddisk and run it locally. And if you whish, you can make your own apodio version."
Minor distribution updateson knoppix.com: KNOPPIX 3.5 will be an extra-large version of the distribution, containing over 5GB of software. It will not fit on a CD; instead, this will be a DVD-based version. It will only be available at the upcoming LinuxTag conference, though one presumes it may escape onto the net afterward. Quantian is a remastering of Knoppix, the self-configuring and directly bootable cdrom that turns any pc or laptop into a full-featured Linux workstation, and clusterKnoppix, which adds support for openMosix. However, Quantian differs from (cluster)Knoppix by adding a large set of programs of interest to applied or theoretical workers in quantitative or data-driven fields." This version is now based on based on Knoppix 3.4 and features numerous changes.
Page editor: Forrest Cook
Next page: Development>>
Copyright © 2004, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds