Why do we need boot loader or boot manager? GRUB, Lilo
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... grub vs lilo ... It (grub) doesn't have the problem of requiring you to execute a magic command before shutting-down the system in order to be assured of being able to start it up again.
Ummm ... I think you're confusing a feature w/ a requirement.
Lilo ALLOWS you to decide before a reboot which OS/kernel to boot next
time around, w/o making it the default. So all that does is to skip the
boot loader menu on the next boot, and e.g., come up with the "brand-
spanking new wizzbang whirlygig kernel" you just compiled. If that
panics, all you need to do is reset/power-off and on the next boot
you're back to the last known-good kernel....
I don't HAVE to run any commands before a shutdown/reboot.
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There is one massive advantage in lilo in my opinion; it fits completely in the MBR. No need for files elsewhere on the system that might prevent your system from loading the bootloader completely in case of corruption.
I'm too lazy to figure out how to modify my systems, else all of them would have lilo. So I live with both.
Quite sure that people can also come up with advantages for grub though
It doesn't fit in the MBR - and never has that I'm aware of.
lilo maintains a block list to locate the config file - which is (used to be) in the sector(s) following the MBR. This is the reason you have to keep running the lilo command - and why it pissed me off so much.
grub2 has a similar requirement as it happens.
lilo certainly maintains a map file, which is why you have to run /sbin/lilo whenever you make a change that affects the kernel image but my understanding is that the map file is kept in /boot/map and when you run /sbin/lilo that file is updated to reflect the disks sectors that hold the kernel image and only the sector number holding the map file itself is stored in the mbr when you run /sbin/lilo. To the best of my knowledge lilo doesn't use any additional space in the first track of the disk outside of sector 0.
(this is to the best of my understanding, if anyone knows any different, then please say so).
I know grub2 makes use of the additional space in the first track and that there was recently an issue with it clashing with some HP Windows sysadmin/security tool that also decided to put it's data in the same location, causing a corruption. Putting vital data into unallocated space and hoping nothing else overwrites it seems to be a mind numbingly dumb thing to do IMO, which is why it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever go near grub2.
A lot of people prefer grub specifically because it resolves the kernel location at boot time, rather than requiring a pre-boot command to be issued, but personally I prefer the lilo way. It kind of feels like a "commit" to me.
Both grub and lilo approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Which you prefer is down to personal preference. Unlike grub2, I don't have any particular bone to pick with the original grub, I just prefer lilo.