Bootloaders and order of OS installation
By user12611829 on Sep 25, 2005
So some very quick observations.
GRUB (the Grand Unified Bootloader) is the easiest to use of all of the bootloaders. It provides all that we need to boot Windows, Linux, and both of my Solaris instances. GRUB will be the final bootloader in the master boot record (MBR) when we are finished, but it won't get there right away.
The Windows bootloader, which is in the MBR at the moment, is very well suited to boot Windows. Making it boot other operating systems is almost an unnatural act. I may blog about my experiments in this area in the future, but the short version is that we want to get rid of it as quickly as we can.
Now, the Solaris 10 bootloader is a good intermediate step (which suggests that Solaris might be the next operating system to install). It will boot both Windows and Solaris (well one instance of Solaris) but doesn't work well with Linux distributions in the extended partition. Before we call this a deficiency or bug, we should note that we are now operating well outside of the design center, so a bit of tolerance will help get us through this step.
OK, so we have Windows, we'll do Solaris 10 next, but what about the two Linux instances ? Hmmmm, that's worth a bit of thought.
The Java Desktop System is more of an end user type of system, so things like kernel updates will come out on a regular schedule, but it won't be too frequent. It is also based on SuSE, so new kernels will be symbolically linked to /boot/vmlinux so that the GRUB configuration doesn't change.
Fedora Core, on the other hand, is a rapidly evolving developer snapshot and kernels can be expected quite frequently. And since it was derived from the original Red Hat consumer distribution, the deployment method is to drop in a new kernel (or kernels) and then modify the GRUB (and Lilo) configuration as part of the installation.
Putting all of this together suggest that the most maintainable solution is to end up with the Fedora Core bootloader in the MBR and add the static bits required to boot JDS, Windows, and the two Solaris instances. This would suggest that JDS would be the best choice for installation after Solaris 10. Fedora Core after that - and with some edits to /boot/grub/menu.lst we will be a flexible multi-booting system.
Oh, what about OpenSolaris ? Good question. I have it on good authority (OK, I've already installed it on a couple of systems) that it will leave the MBR alone, so it will go in last. I also know that we will have to do some serious partition manipulation to keep the two Solaris instances out of each others way - and GRUB from Fedora Core will do exactly what we need.
Next time, the Solaris 10 installation.
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