GRUB vs LILO and how STUPID the X86 architecture really is...

Matthias Benkmann matthias at
Mon Oct 14 00:59:45 PDT 2002

On Mon, 14 Oct 2002 02:02:47 +0100 Ian Molton <spyro at> wrote:

> Hasnt anyone in favour of grub realised that making ever-more smart
> bootloaders is the WRONG thing to do?
> The ARM community got it right ages ago 

Does the ARM community have a dozen different OSes from a dozen different
vendors to choose from?
Do you have a dozen different filesystems on ARM you can have on the disk
at the same time?

>- the booloader is the thinnest
> shim possible, and sits in ROM, handling

The same is true on the PC. LILO is NOT the boot loader. Neither is GRUB.
They call themselves boot loaders but they aren't! The real boot loader is
BIOS+executable code in the partition table. That's why (at least with
earlier kernels, I don't know if it still works) you could just dd a
kernel to a disk and it would work (and achieve the same simplicity ARM
has). If you want to boot 10 different OSes on an ARM from as many
different filesystems, with nice graphical splash screen, does your BIOS
boot loader help you?
People on PCs want to do this, but obviously this is beyond what a boot
loader should do (a boot loader should be KISS as you say) so they need a
program (mistakenly called boot loader) to do it for them.


If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked

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