GRUB 2: With luck …

… this version, or something not too far away from it, might actually stand a chance of getting into testing.

I’ve just uploaded grub2 1.98+20100702-1. The most significant set of changes in this release is that it switches /boot/grub/ and the grub-pc/install_devices debconf question over to stable device names under /dev/disk/by-id (on Linux kernels). The code implementing this is reasonably careful, and it should make it quite difficult for people to accidentally fail to upgrade their installed GRUB core image; I explained the problems that tends to cause in the previous post in this series. There will probably be a few small glitches I need to clear up, but I’ve given this much more extensive testing than usual so I hope I won’t break too many people’s computers (again).

I did this work first in Ubuntu as one of my major goals for 10.04 LTS, which exposed a few problems that I wanted to fix before inflicting it on Debian as well (fixes for those are now under testing for 10.04.1). Most significantly, I felt it was necessary to start offering partitions in the select list for grub-pc/install_devices, but I went a bit overboard and offered all partitions in a giant list. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but it tended to confuse people into just selecting everything in the list, which in particular tended to make Windows unbootable! So I dialled that back a bit, and in the version I just merged it will only offer the partitions mounted on /, /boot, and /boot/grub (de-duplicating if necessary). This seems like a reasonable compromise between confusing people too much and forcing them to install only to MBRs.

My next priority will be making whatever fixes are necessary to get this version into testing, since the problems with /dev/mapper symlinks in testing aren’t getting any less urgent, and this is finally a version that shouldn’t break for most people due to the kernel’s switch to libata. I expect that I’ll try to get mdadm 1.x metadata sorted out immediately after that.

Other improvements since my last entry have included:

  • Further documentation work. Thanks to Vladimir Serbinenko (and to Jordan Uggla for hosting it temporarily), there’s now an HTML version of the GRUB manual from trunk online, which includes new sections on embedded configuration files, the various GRUB image files,, and (shortly) a summary of changes from GRUB Legacy.
  • Video improvements: among other things, UEFI systems whose firmware uses the Graphics Output Protocol should now work rather better, and GRUB now includes specific support for some cards often used with minimal firmware support under emulation.
  • A fix to handle large memory maps exposed by some UEFI firmware.
  • Automatic configuration support for Fedora 13. You may need os-prober 1.39 from unstable as well.
  • Automatic configuration support for Linux on Xen.
  • Skip LVM snapshots rather than failing when they’re present.