From rick Sat Nov 9 13:52:26 2002
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 13:52:26 -0800
To:, Raj Shekhar <>
Subject: Re: [TAG] Re: [LG 84] 2c Tips #25

Quoting Raj Shekhar (

> I apologise for getting the magic number wrong. Does this problem
> still exist? I have heard very few people talk about it.

In theory, it went away in 1994.

That was the year that motherboard manufacturers rolled out Yet Another BIOS Extension, providing a new method by which boot-time software could get extended BIOS routine 13h information to directly address logical cylinders numbered 1024 and above. A new version of LILO immediately came out, that requested and could process that BIOS information.

So, in theory, the only people who need put /boot below the 1024th logical cylinder are (1) using really antique booting software (a very bad idea) or (2) contending with very old motherboard BIOSes, usually on 486es. I'm unclear on whether any early Pentium motherboards used the older-version int 13h call, or whether it's a 486-only issue.

A lot of us old-timers retain the /boot-filesystem-first habit just from long usage, but also because people sometimes come in the door with antique BIOSes and fail to mention that fact. Better to put /boot near the outer tracks than risk spending considerable effort building a system and then find it unbootable.

> I have not experimented with GRUB but LILO can be tough for a newbie

A lot of people never learned the Zen of LILO:

1. /sbin/lilo (the "map installer") is best thought of as a compiler, and /etc/lilo.conf as its source code (input).
2. Therefore, if you change /etc/lilo.conf or any of the files it points to, you must run /sbin/lilo before rebooting, to "recompile".
3. You should always have a "safeboot" stanza in /etc/lilo.conf, pointing to a known-good kernel image that you never fool with, as a fallback. This ensures that if, e.g., you compile a new kernel but accidentally omit console support, you can easily recover.

GRUB is a capable and flexible bootloader, but practically all of the reasons commonly cited for it being preferable to LILO boil down to "I once messed with my boot files before reading LILO documentation, shot myself in the foot, and therefore blame LILO."

Cheers,       "There's a sucker born every minute.  eBay is the delivery room."
Rick Moen                                                  -- David Crowe
McQ!  (4x80)