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Posted Jun 17, 2004 8:33 UTC (Thu) by sbakira (subscriber, #5571)
Parent article: LILO vs. GRUB

I did use both utilities for booting my "numerous" distributions.
At this time, Grub is not able, and I did'nt see any particular will from the dev team, to boot from a full lvm partition as lilo is able to.
Add to this point that grub needs to understand :
1- The disks layout
2- the metadata - as in LVM or RAID 0,1,4,5,6
3- the filesystem where the kernel and other files are placed
This whole thing makes GRUB irrelevent if you want to boot your machine from a LVM parition formated in exotic format for instance.
So, I'm sticking to lilo.

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Posted Jun 17, 2004 17:28 UTC (Thu) by thoffman (subscriber, #3063) [Link]

I also prefer to use GRUB... being able to edit kernel command line parameters and even hunt around the filesystem for other kernels to boot is a very cool feature.

Unfortunately, my main machine is set up with dual 10,000 RPM Raptor SATA drives using a combination of mirrored and striped RAID partitions. It's very fast :-) But GRUB can't handle Linux software RAID. So, after installing Fedora Core 2 (apparently successfully) I had a non-bootable system -- easily recovered if you know what to do - boot the Fedora rescue disk, chroot to the RAID partition and install LILO.

At least the fedora core 2 installer did correctly set up my lilo.conf file for me. But it would be nice if the installer recognized it's own limitations, and just used LILO automatically when GRUB can't do the job.

Of course, the best solution would be to teach GRUB to understand:

1. Linux software RAID 0
2. Linux software RAID 1
3. Linux LVM and Device Mapper drive setups
4. Reiserfs 4, for those of us on the bleeding edge :-)

I'm not sure if GRUB understands XFS, JFS, and the other advanced filesystems Linux uses either... but LILO does (or has patches at least).

So LILO isn't dead yet.


Posted Jun 17, 2004 22:56 UTC (Thu) by maney (subscriber, #12630) [Link]

GRUB may not understand software RAID, but it works just fine with Linux's md using RAID1 for me. I can't see how it would cope with any of the other RAID flavors, since they all stripe the data across multiple physical devices, but I don't believe LILO would work in that situation either. So I'm a little puzzled about what else might have been going on that wasn't described here. Maybe it was an installation issue.

LILO may work in a few settings where Grub doesn't, but I would expect them to be rather fragile. LVM, yes, LILO works there... as long as you don't actually use LVM's wonderful capabilities and invalidate LILO's block list. Besides, who needs LVM to manage a /boot partition that's oversized at a few tens of MBs? As for RAID, for real performance you want hardware in there, and then it magically works with Grub again. <grin>


Posted Jun 18, 2004 14:32 UTC (Fri) by southey (subscriber, #9466) [Link]

SUSE 9.1 does warn you with and will change it from GRUB to LILO - except for the fact that the message don't make it clear that you have changed you boot loader!


Posted Jun 18, 2004 14:33 UTC (Fri) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246) [Link]

I guess the way I'd solve that particular problem would be to have a separate boot filesystem that's only mirrored, not striped. I don't see the point of striping the boot partition anyway. I do see the point of mirroring, though.

I mean, really, what's the issue w/ a 10MB /boot on a 100GB drive? You won't even notice it.

GRUB understanding more file storage systems

Posted Jun 18, 2004 22:50 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Of course, the best solution would be to teach GRUB to understand: ...

Oh Lord, no. We don't want two parallel sets of software for all these things. And if you make Grub that complex, it will be large enough, buggy enough, and volatile enough, that you'll want a boot loader for Grub.

The Linux kernel itself used to be the "boot loader" (you'd put the kernel image on the disk, starting at sector 0). There's a reason we added a tiny boot loader stage to the mix.

It seems to me we need to separate the storage for the boot information (including the boot images) from the storage for all the files we use after a full system is running. The running system is too complex for the boot loader to keep up with it. But the boot loader's filesystem requirements are extremely simple.

So neither Grub nor LILO have it figured out.


Posted Jun 21, 2004 18:52 UTC (Mon) by mongre26 (guest, #4224) [Link]

I run grub on all of my RAID systems, software or otherwise. There is no problem with grub on software RAID1 or RAID0. Software root RAID5 does not work, but that is not the bootloaders fault.

Not sure why you claim otherwise but I know grub works fine.

In addition grub offers a better approach IMO for ensuring that the boot loader is installed on both of the disks in a RAID1 mirror to ensure failure of the boot sector device does not create an unbootable system. This is despite claims that it cannot be done by some adherents to Lilo on the mailing lists.

grub works just fine in all of the situations and odd disk tricks I have tried.

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