[conspire] conspire Digest, Vol 54, Issue 20

bruce coston jane_ikari at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 21 15:32:41 PST 2007

mostly quoting... first-stage GRUB
bootloader usually goes into simply the initial sector of the
filesystem.  The ext3 (or whatever) superblock copies would then be
after that.  I don't know details of exactly where physically, within a
native-Linux filesystem, the first-stage bootloader goes when it gets
installed there, having not really needed to know....
ditto...The distro installer generally offers that choice:  install GRUB into
the MBR, or install it into the /dev/sdb1 or whatever, with the latter
being the default....     FORMER = DEFAULT
..._If_ so, then that first-stage bootloader would seem to be functionally
 identical to the unnamed IBM/Microsoft one carried forward from MS-DOS... leave in the 446-byte first portion of the MBR sector _some_ simple
first-stage bootloader (GRUB's or any other) that emulates the
IBM/Microsoft one's behaviour: find the first primary partition with
"active" flag, branch to whatever's in its sector zero.

If you were to take any other approach to booting, then any reinstall
MS-Windows (or, for all I know, maybe installation of service packs,
etc.) will cause the Microsoft installer to overwrite that area anyway,
so you might as well work its behaviour into your boot strategy.

My recollection is:  Those Microsoft installers will both overwrite the
MBR (without asking your leave) _and_ set the "active" flag to the
MS-Windows one.  So, if/when that happens, you correct the latter
by changing the "active"... I liked the MEPIS mbr restore for that purpose followed by moving the contents of my "LASTMULTI" file to /boot/grub/menu.lst...
......Rick's definitely right. I don't know why or what I,m doing building 
grub-1.95 from scratch.....When they say root =(hd0,0) in the menu list or grub prompt, what  
is that... hard disk 0, partition 0; its derived from the bsd background of the original grub authors. And now BSD is much harder to get working right in grub. ...

8. What does it mean when the win 98 flashes through the boot splash
screen then drops you into a C:> prompt?When you try and boot it.
9. I think I grub> setup hd0  and later  did fdisk /mbr to it. I  
don't remember now!
10. I got all confused over this but I'm glad Kubutnu Gutsy keeps  
booting....Sometimes the last distro standing was the miscreant   
...12. It's probably better to have 1 distro per computer.
... only because our "community" grossly neglects multibooting as an important reliability check. I firmly believe new users should multi boot and test many distributions. Specifically my multi booting told me the Gnome Desktop crowd was just wrong proclaiming KDE slow and bloated. Subsequent actual testing reveals Gnome uses more ram and cpu. Plus their "Human Interface Guidelines" were bad as far as they followed them.  ...There have been much mentions of
the hard disk interface changing, especially with newer hard drives
and/or newer versions of the linux kernel. As I understand things, if
you have SATA hard drive interfaces, then the hard drives are
/dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and so forth, while for PATA (old style) they are
/dev/hda & /dev/hdb.... I wish it was that consistent...
...I got a chance to look at kde4 the other day (Open Suse KDE 4 live cd)
and it has dolphin. Pretty nice, although I didn't spend a great daal
of time exploring. Might bring it by on Cabal day....
DAVE, please do bring it and the other things I asked you to download when i pick you up
... 'qemu -cdrom /path/to/iso' and give it the
path to some ISO I have and boot the other distro in a window, but it
won't be fast and I'll probably void my warranty :).... not for w98 because ms hadn't discovered the vm yet and couldn't liscense against it!...
Let's say that the first device checked that's in "ready" state is your
(first) hard drive, and that that hard drive has a bog-standard,
commodity install of MS-Windows XP on it.  Not dual-boot, just XP.... he uses w98 actually..
... The unnamed MBR program seeks to the
first sector on the first cylinder of the qualifying partition, loads
that 512-byte sector into RAM, and turns over control of the computer
whatever was found there.... I, bruce, used to setup all my linuxes as "partition boot" like this. So when w98 messed stuff up, I'd just use "chainloader +1" to put everybody back on the bootloader or use GAG to get it done faster. Now I occasionally tolerate a linux that does not partition boot correctly if it uses grub. ...
There are a large number of GRUB explanations / recipes on the Web.  
I just found this one, and rather like its clarity and brevity:
There are also two highly recommended entries about GRUB on 
... sometimes a distro will ship modified grub with xfs abilities or lacking vital features, the most recent MEPIS betas snipped a couple things out of grub and xorg.conf shaving a few bytes offf the cd.
Never miss a thing.   Make Yahoo your homepage.
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