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GRUB and boot.b - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

RH9 uses grubby to update grub and lilo config when installing or removing a kernel. boot.b is "owned" by lilo. Since I use grub, I removed lilo from one of my machines, just to see if anything would break. What breaks is grubby core dumps into /boot whenever I install or remove a kernel, complaining in the meantime that it can't find boot.b. What doesn't break is booting or even installing/updating the MBR with grub. So: Empirically grub itself doesn't need boot.b. In doentation I find only associations of boot.b with lilo. Other than RH9's grubby core dumps, have I ...

  1. #1

    Default GRUB and boot.b

    RH9 uses grubby to update grub and lilo config when installing or
    removing a kernel. boot.b is "owned" by lilo.

    Since I use grub, I removed lilo from one of my machines, just to see if
    anything would break.

    What breaks is grubby core dumps into /boot whenever I install or remove
    a kernel, complaining in the meantime that it can't find boot.b. What
    doesn't break is booting or even installing/updating the MBR with grub.

    So:
    Empirically grub itself doesn't need boot.b.
    In doentation I find only associations of boot.b with lilo.
    Other than RH9's grubby core dumps, have I missed any requirement that
    grub has on boot.b?

    Allen Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: GRUB and boot.b

    On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 08:48:03 +0000, Allen Kistler wrote:
     

    That's interesting. I've only ever had grub on RH9 and FC1, and grubby
    seems to have no problems. The interesting thing I'm seeing, is, with
    nearly identical grub.conf files, grubby --bootloader-probe returns grub
    on FC1, and nothing on RH9. Does grubby --bootloader-probe dump on your
    machine? Are any of the files normally found by rpm -ql lilo on your
    system? To wit:

    /boot/boot.b
    /boot/chain.b
    /boot/os2_d.b
    /sbin/lilo
    /usr/bin/keytab-lilo
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/CHANGES
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/COPYING
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/INCOMPAT
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/QuickInst
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/README
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/Makefile
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/README
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/Technical_Guide.ps
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/User_Guide.ps
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/bootloader.fig
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/bootloader.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/fullpage.sty
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/image.fig
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/image.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/map.fig
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/map.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/other.fig
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/other.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/parameter.fig
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/parameter.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/rlatex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/t2a.pl
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/tech.dvi
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/tech.tex
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/user.dvi
    /usr/share/doc/lilo-21.4.4/doc/user.tex
    /usr/share/man/man5/lilo.conf.5.gz
    /usr/share/man/man8/lilo.8.gz

    The grubby doentation talks (briefly) about how it detects grub, but
    not lilo. I'm sure more information could be found. If it does something
    like looking at boot sectors, is it possible you have an old lilo boot
    sector on some partition, but no current lilo installation. That would be
    my guess. Or that you have a lilo.conf file.

    Jacob
    Jacob Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: GRUB and boot.b

    Jacob Heider wrote: 
    >
    > That's interesting. I've only ever had grub on RH9 and FC1, and grubby
    > seems to have no problems. The interesting thing I'm seeing, is, with
    > nearly identical grub.conf files, grubby --bootloader-probe returns grub
    > on FC1, and nothing on RH9. Does grubby --bootloader-probe dump on your
    > machine? Are any of the files normally found by rpm -ql lilo on your
    > system? To wit:
    >
    > [snip]
    >
    > The grubby doentation talks (briefly) about how it detects grub, but
    > not lilo. I'm sure more information could be found. If it does something
    > like looking at boot sectors, is it possible you have an old lilo boot
    > sector on some partition, but no current lilo installation. That would be
    > my guess. Or that you have a lilo.conf file.[/ref]

    Apparently grubby was confused by a leftover lilo.conf from days of yore
    (aka RH7.1). Toast that and everything's fine.

    BTW, --bootloader-probe complained first about not being able to find
    boot.b, but it didn't leave any cores around, either. Now it reports
    nothing, like yours.

    Thanks.

    Allen Guest

  4. #4

    Default a general question (was: Re: GRUB and boot.b)

    I'm confused by all this (and obviously I'm a newcomer).

    There's this bunch of folks who write linux software.

    There's this other bunch of folks who use it.

    The first group wants the second group to use their stuff.

    The second group has to spend a lot of time doing detective work
    to figure out how the software works so they can use it. This
    is true from beginner to expert levels.

    Why doesn't the first group just explain their software to the second
    group?

    I'm sure there's a reason, I just don't understand it yet.

    Jim
    Jim Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: a general question (was: Re: GRUB and boot.b)

    On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 17:30:51 -0700, Jim Kroger wrote:
     

    Group 1 contains group 2...
     

    Maybe, but the overriding motivation for most pieces of free software is
    to scratch an itch of the developer. Since (most) people writing free
    software are doing gratis, their main concern is making their work do what
    they want, not (necessarily) getting non-technical people to use it. In
    recent years, more has been done to make GNU/Linux accessible to people
    who don't contribute, but for people doing unpaid development,
    functionality is usually more important.
     

    This is an over simplification. If you want to install and configure linux
    yourself, you must be prepared to learn about how it works, same as if you
    wanted to (properly) install and configure windows. If you go to a LUG,
    for example, they will do a lot to help you, since their reason for
    existence is to promote linux use.
     

    There is a *lot* of doentation, in many forms, including things found
    in newsgroups. If you feel the urge to write doentation, then do so.
    This is (of course) the weak point of most free software, since this is
    most developer's least favorite activity.
     

    If you want support, pay for it. Red Hat, SuSE and others sell supported
    free software. But surely you can see why a product that is freely
    provided isn't supported (as much) as one you pay for. You've already
    gotten a lot from Linux, for nothing. It a world where very little is
    free, linux is a good deal. You don't have to pay if you don't want to,
    but if you need to, you should.

    Jacob
    Jacob Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: a general question

    Here in comp.os.linux.setup,
    Jim Kroger <com> spake unto us, saying:
     

    Most software comes with man pages or other configuration text files,
    and graphical software often comes with online help.

    It takes a LOT of time and effort to produce high-quality end-user
    doentation, and I suspect most open source developers are more
    interested in writing/refining thier code than in spending weeks or
    months doenting what they see as fairly obvious interfaces.

    Most commercial software developers have people (technical writers, not
    programmers) who are dedicated full-time to the task of writing product
    doentation, and even that has gone by the wayside in most instances.
     

    There simply aren't as many good technical writers in the open source
    community as there are good programmers.

    --
    -Rich Steiner >>>---> http://www.visi.com/~rsteiner >>>---> Eden Prairie, MN
    OS/2 + eCS + Linux + Win95 + DOS + PC/GEOS + Executor = PC Hobbyist Heaven!
    Applications yst/designer/developer (14 yrs) seeking employment.
    See web site above for resume/CV and background.
    Richard Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: a general question (was: Re: GRUB and boot.b)

    Jim Kroger <com> wrote in message news:<zianet.com>... 

    One thing to keep in mind is that "open source" doesn't necessarily
    have anything to do with "market share". Letting software loose
    isn't so others will use it, but just in case they may be able
    to make use of it.

    "Closed source" is precisely about getting people to buy that very
    product. Don't reveal things so people will be forced to buy your
    product. Come up with your own format for something, and if anyone
    wants that format they will have no choice but to buy your product.
    Add more features in the next release, not because it is needed, but
    so people will buy your product.

    Twenty years ago, I'd disassemble commercial software, because either
    I needed to find something out, or because I needed it to do something
    that the owner did not put in. In the first case, I was working
    around the "closed source" mentality, and it didn't keep me from
    the information, it simply made me work for that information.
    In the second case, the modification I needed to make (and which
    I had to jump through hoops to figure out the software before
    I could even begin to fix the problem) may not have been of interest
    to anyone else. Or maybe to a handful of people. If I'd known
    someone was interested, I would have sent them the information.
    But, a key factor in "open source" is that there is plenty of
    bandwidth between everyone. I could have sent the modification
    to a magazine, but perhaps there wasn't enough interest to warrant
    the bandwidth (ie space in the magazine).

    But if I could have just left the information somewhere, or
    the modification, and it didn't cost me anything to do so (since
    there was little commercial use, it cost me nothing to give it
    away, but distribution might have been too costly), then it would
    be easier to do than not do. And maybe someone else wouldn't
    have to go down the same path that I did to uncover what was
    needed.

    Once you start thinking in terms of "they want others to
    use the software" then you may be expecting too much. If I have
    to fancy something up, and write a manual, it may not ever
    get out, because did what I did for my own purposes and don't
    need a manual. But writing a manual and fancying something up
    is an actual cost, because I'd be doing it for you, not for
    me. I could give you something because it costs me nothing,
    but the minute you expect handholding then the cost to me
    goes up.

    Instead of expecting the open source software to be just like commercial
    software except "free", maybe you should be looking into how
    you can do your part. And realistically, you may be more capable
    of doing it than the person who wrote the software.

    Someone who wrote the software knows it all. They know the obvious
    so they forget to mention it to others. They don't see it in
    the eyes of a someone new to the software, they don't see it in
    the eyes of a beginner. This is the nature of any experience
    where some are insiders and then outsiders want to get in.

    If you look at your experience with open software as "trailblazing"
    then instead of expecting a map, you would be writing your own
    map. It is the experience of someone getting into the software
    for the first time that is most important, because if they can
    make a map of what they see, then they can share that with others
    who have yet to come that way.

    When I first started using Pine and Lynx, and they came with
    my first experience with the full internet, I was great at knowing
    what was what. It was a new experience, and I was exploring.
    The fact that there were others in the same boat, because our
    "freenet" had just started up, meant that anything I found out
    I could share with the others at the same level of experience.
    I was fully aware that the people who knew the system would be
    less helpful because they weren't new to it all.

    But seven years later, I no longer explore Pine and Lynx, and
    I've forgotten what it's like to be new to them. Using them
    have become routine, so it would take me effort to try to
    explain them, whereas when I started, I was fully aware of
    what I was doing.

    So when you do this mapping, you are in effect paying for
    the "open source" software. You aren't paying the writer
    of the software, but you are acknowledging that the software
    is useful enough to you that you will put in some effort.
    And you could help the software propogate, because you have
    added what you feel is missing in existing doentation.

    Or, as someone else said, you can pay money to companies
    for this sort of support.

    Michael
    Michael Guest

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