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A New (Year's) Day - A New Grub - What Are The Consequences?


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#1 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:10 AM

In the last couple of days, a new point release of Grub has been issued, and is filtering through Linux Distributions.

For those whom only operate one Linux, or one Linux and one Windows (dual-boot), its advent may go unnoticed.

I have only been using Linux since 2011, and seriously since May 2014, so old-timers may tell me differently about what follows, and I will learn from them, as I hope do you.

This is the first instance I have come across, where the upgrading to a new Grub version actually changes the order of my Linux Distributions on the Grub Menu.

I am trying to word this carefully, so don’t jump in boots and all to tell me I am wrong before you reflect on what I am saying.

My Grub order historically has changed when:

  • I accept and allow certain kernel changes/updates and
  • When on advisement, I autoremove as advised old kernel clutter, but most specifically
  • When I add a new Linux Distro to one of my computers, and it “usurps” what was previously No. 1 on my leaderboard

I will start this Topic with the effect on Debian-based Distros I have on board, and look further into the other Families I use, including RPM-based, Arch-based, Gentoo-based, &c.

Feel free to provide your own input in any and all of these areas.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



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#2 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:12 AM

No doubt there are/will be a number more ramifications to use of the new version of Grub 2 than those I am going to list here.

But the one which has an immediate impact on me (I run 50 Linux Distros), is in the arena of

MULTIBOOTING LINUX

The packages brought to our attention are as follows:

  1. grub-common – v2.02~beta2-36ubuntu3.6 and
  2. “Grub-signed” - grub-efi-amd64-signed – v1.66.2+2.02~beta2-36ubuntu3.6

  • Voyager 16.04 Xfce (A French spin based on Ubuntu 16.04)
  • Linux Mint 18.06 ‘Sarah’ Cinnamon
  • Linux Mint 18.06 ‘Sarah’ MATE

… and the list will be longer, I have just scratched the surface, so far.

If you are one whom uses the GUI Updater, then by clicking on changelog, you can see the following – details may change depending on your circumstances and environment.

 

oF90zx8.png

 

More soon or pitch in and contribute

 

Cheers all

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#3 Al1000

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:30 AM

I add a new Linux Distro to one of my computers, and it “usurps” what was previously No. 1 on my leaderboard


You have presumably installed Grub in each of your 50 distros.

Another way to do it would be to just install Grub once, then omit to install it when you install subsequent distros. Instead, after installing a subsequent distro, reboot your computer into the operating system that you installed Grub to, then update Grub. That way the (original) operating system that contains Grub will stay at the top of the menu, and each subsequent operating system you install will be added to it. :)

#4 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:26 AM

Gosh Al, you must either have a hidden talent with ESP, or you lucked in, glad to have you onboard :thumbup2:

 

I was going to tell the readers a little later about the method you describe, and also how to add two (2) lines to their /etc/default/grub and update it, to always have the last Linux Distro they booted fire up first.

 

The reason that I was going to leave yours until a little later was that a number of Distros (MX-16 is one that springs to mind) will advise you that to NOT install Grub either in the MBR for MSDOS/MBR setups, or in the boot-uefi for GPT setups, is an option only for experts.

 

Definition of "experts" is somewhat nebulous? I don't consider myself an expert just because I run 50 Distros, just a Distro surfer/hopper with some experience, and heaps of enthusiasm, lol.

 

Thanks again for being the first contributor, and stay with us!

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#5 wizardfromoz

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:35 AM

This from YakketyYak - in my case Ubuntu 16.10 'YakketyYak' MATE, on the computer in the Garage, when I ran

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

You can check, yourself, for any problems, by simply running the first part of the above command, and so not commit yourself to the changes:

 

Spoiler

 

If you read through that, you will note that two (2) PPAs (Personal Package Archives) are affected here, and they are

 

  1.  Geza Kovacs - maker of Unetbootin and
  2. teejeetech.in - that is Tony George who makes Timeshift, Aptik, Conky Manager and others

Both my versions of the Yak are a little buggy, have been from the start, so it is a little early for me to determine whether these problems are directly related to the new Grub, but the timing is certainly coincidental.

 

Users of these products should not panic if that proves to be the case. The Linux community have a way of quickly ironing out problems, and embracing new software.

 

I will keep you posted as more comes to light.

 

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#6 NickAu

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:05 AM

Whats the point of all these posts? from what I can see posts 1,2 and 4 should be 1 post. Post 1 and 2 were posted less than 3 minutes apart.

 

 

Any more " drip feeding" of posts and I will close this thread.



#7 Al1000

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:19 AM

...a number of Distros (MX-16 is one that springs to mind) will advise you that to NOT install Grub either in the MBR for MSDOS/MBR setups, or in the boot-uefi for GPT setups, is an option only for experts.


Are you sure the warning doesn't apply to installing Grub on the root partition?

4.png

From the image above, it looks like not installing Grub is simply a matter of unchecking a box.

I think their definition of an "expert" is someone who knows the difference between a MBR and a partition.

If you are ever faced with a situation where you can't not install Grub, an easy way round not upsetting your Grub boot menu, is to instead install Grub to the partition you are installing the operating system on. So long as you already have Grub installed to the MBR/boot-uefi, the Grub you just installed to the partition will be ignored by your BIOS.

EDIT: The above method does not work with UEFI:
https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/638091/space-the-final-frontier-multibooting-linux/?p=4182329

Edited by Al1000, 17 February 2017 - 11:24 AM.


#8 Condobloke

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 12:24 AM

I do believe that this just "did its thing" when I rebooted my linux mint cinnamon, heading for ubuntu........the first os in the list has been ubuntu up until now......So I walked away while it went through the process expecting to come back to ubuntu.

 

But instead I came back to Linux mint cinnamon again........the order had been changed via an update in Linux mint.

 

(historically Ubuntu was first in the list....for all of two days anyway )


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 


#9 wizardfromoz

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 03:29 AM

@Condobloke:

 

Brian, welcome to the (Linux) world of multibooting, and some of the vagaries it involves. Lol.

 

@Al1000:

 

Thanks for the input Al.

 

If you read closely what I said (my highlighting):

 


The reason that I was going to leave yours until a little later was that a number of Distros (MX-16 is one that springs to mind) will advise you that to NOT install Grub either in the MBR for MSDOS/MBR setups, or in the boot-uefi for GPT setups, is an option only for experts.

 


:wizardball: Wizard

 

That, in fact leaves the options of either:

 

  1. Installing Grub in the root partition, that is the partition you are installing to (& which they say is for experts);  OR
  2. Unchecking that box and not installing Grub at all (& which they say is for experts)

So Al in answer to your question:

 

 

Are you sure the warning doesn't apply to installing Grub on the root partition?

 

Yes. I am sure that I said (by omission) what you are saying. No contest :lol:

 

For purposes of accuracy, Viewers should note that Al's screenshot above is from MX-15 (is that so, Al?) not MX-16, they have essentially the same window content at that point of the install, but throughout the install with MX-16 the left-side pane is transparent, showing your background wallpaper.

 

Further, if you are using GPT instead of MSDOS/MBR, there will be an additional radio button to the right of the Root button, and the selection will default to that button.

 

Screenshots refer.

 

 

bxnEkpm.png

 

 

and

 

 

oODV31b.png

 

 

I was not going to focus this entire Topic on multibooting else we'd need a name change, but as Al has opened the door with regard to the process of NOT installing Grub in a new Distro in order to keep your fave at the top of the Grub Menu, we'll look at that briefly, keeping in mind what is associated with the introduction of the "new" Grub, around which subject this Topic revolves.

 

For purposes of this exercise, I will refer to "NOT installing Grub in a new Distro" as the GrubLater Method.

 

You'll recall earlier I mentioned "Voyager 16.04 Xfce (A French spin based on Ubuntu 16.04)" as being affected by the new Grub. This was one I installed on the Garage computer, and did NOT use the GrubLater Method.

 

I have run Updates on it since, which incorporated the new Grub, and it took the No.1 spot on my menu. See below (it's referred to as Ubuntu, as you can see at the top)

 

L9BGOt3.jpg

 

 

At the bottom of the shot, below the highlight bar, you can see MX-16 ... I have just installed a new copy of it, using the GrubLater method, and we'll see what effects if any, are in store for it and other Distros on this computer, once I have charged my phone and Bluetoothed more pics ... or more likely tomorrow my time.

 

Cheers all

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#10 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:14 AM

Thanks for all of that info. I will bear this in mind.


594965_zpsp5exvyzm.png


#11 wizardfromoz

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:01 AM

@ Rocky Bennett:

 

Always welcome, Junior - I know you are a fellow multibooter :thumbup2:

 

As it happens, MX-16 turns out to be not really a viable candidate for testing what is to follow.

Yes, you can choose to either:

  • Not install Grub during the install OR

  • Choose to install Grub on the same partition as your are using for /root, that is your main install

No, its Grub is not recent enough, it is currently using grub-common 2.02~beta2-22+deb8u1.

MX-16, as the “+deb8u1” indicates, is based directly on Debian, more so than Ubuntu and its derivatives. Debian is very stable, but moves slowly.

antiX-16 is likewise, and it is also one of the Distros Al1000 is running.

That is unfortunate, as it may also be one of the Distros that will allow you to choose to not install Grub until later, Al could confirm.

Having established these limitations, I then chose to install a fresh version of Linux Mint 18.06 ‘Sarah’ with the Xfce desktop environment.

I placed it on my /dev/sda27 in the Garage, and during the install I established (as I had thought) that the Ubiquity installer, which is common to all Ubuntus and to all Linux Mints, does not allow for the option to install Grub later.

It does however, allow for the possibility of installing Grub to the root partition, that is, the partition you are installing the Distro to, in my case sda27. And you will remember that was the other possibility that Al referred to.

So I chose that option, installed and rebooted. The initial results were not what I expected.

The installation usurped the position that Voyager Linux had held at the top of the leaderboard, driving it back to its former hierarchical position.

What was more unexpected was that when I opened ‘Sarah’ Xfce’s File Manager, Thunar, displayed were only the entries directly involved with the Distro … none of the other partitions on my Garage hard drive were visible.

From within ‘Sarah’ Xfce I ran

sudo update-grub

… rebooted and then they were visible, and I could further write up these findings, which were stored elsewhere.

I am posting this material first, then posting a video after I get it cleared through Youtube.

The video enclosed next shows my picking sda27 to install Grub to, it runs 10 minutes, edited down from 30 minutes, but you can always fast-forward.

Screenshots will also illustrate my situation.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#12 wizardfromoz

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:46 AM

Here's that video, just completed publishing

 

 

 

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#13 wizardfromoz

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:08 AM

 

Screenshots will also illustrate my situation.

 

Maybe not - phone problems, they may come later.

 

Suffice it to say Linux Mint 18.06 'Sarah' Xfce supplanted Voyager 16.04 at the top of my leaderboard on Grub menu, despite my having installed Grub on the same partition as the OS, that is, sda27.

 

Launchpad has some information on this version of Grub here https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2   and a part of that is as follows:

 

Pag4zIM.png

 

 

 

2nd from the bottom is the Grub update I am referring to - released on 3rd January.

 

Now the problem I am faced with, in regard to multibooting, stems from a combination of

  1. The Ubiquity Installer, used by all Ubuntus and all Linux Mints
  2. From other Distros that do not allow for Grub to be installed later AND
  3. From the non-standard implementation of different versions of Grub across the board by Devs

1. is further complicated by the fact that the different versions eg 14.04, 16.04 in Ubuntu, and 17s vs 18s in Mint ... use (significantly) different versions of Grub.

 

In 14.04 versions, from Kubuntu to Ubuntu Unity, the latest version of Grub is

 

2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1.12

 

... or perhaps slightly more advanced in those final digits. The important part is the "...beta2-9.." which effectively means it is less advanced Grub.

 

So if you are not using a 16.04 series Ubuntu, or an 18 series Linux Mint, or a Distro which utilises that "...beta2.36ubuntu3.6" version - you are unlikely to be affected by this.

 

If you are in that category, and are multibooting Linux, then it is very likely that your order of Linuxes on your Grub Menu will change after introducing the new Grub (that is, unless it is through the Linux which is already on top of your leaderboard, lol).

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#14 wizardfromoz

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 01:54 AM

At this point in time, with people returning home from the holiday season and perhaps performing updates and upgrades on Debian-based systems (Ubuntus and Linux Mints and the like), it might be appropriate to list three methods to alter the effect of the new Grub, in terms of how it will affect your multibooting order.

  1. At its simplest, you can use your GUI-based Update Manager and either check or uncheck appropriately to NOT install the new Grub

  2. A 2nd way involves not exactly keeping your preferred boot order, but rather having the highlight bar automatically boot into the last Distro you were using – this is particularly useful if you were performing work in that Distro and wish to resume there

  3. A 3rd way involves using a 3rd part app such as Grub-Customizer to restructure your Grub boot order, this is most useful after the fact of your Grub menu order having changed and wish to alter it.

I will just wait at this point to get direction from Staff to see if they prefer me to set up a new Topic in that regard, or whether I can proceed with that here. In-topic or via PM is fine with me.

A new Topic might be named eg “Grub Menu-Booting Order: Options To Change”

 

:wizardball: Wizard






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