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Old 06-16-2007, 12:50 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2007
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pros/cons grub/lilo

i want info on each loader
or if someone can point me to it
Old 06-16-2007, 01:26 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2003
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LILO ruined my life.

Well, not really. But it did directly contribute to the complete ruin of one of my early Linux installations by eating my partition table for no good reason.

From what I've read over the last couple of years, the consensus seems to be that Grub is a better bet all around. LILO is said to not handle errors as well as Grub, and is more prone to failure due to the fact that it stores vital information about your system in your hard disk's Master Boot Record. If that gets corrupted or changed by the installation of a new OS/kernel, you could be in trouble. A poorly-configured LILO can leave you with an unbootable system, whereas Grub will allow you to boot manually when things get wacky. I've taken advantage of this functionality on more than one occasion.

There are plenty of LILO vs. Grub articles to be found via Google. Here's one, though it may be a bit outdated:

Of course, as always, Your Mileage May Vary. I'm no expert, but I've had a far better experience with Grub than with LILO. Good luck!
Old 06-16-2007, 05:48 AM   #3
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Anything Grub can do you can also do it in Lilo.

Advantage of Grub over Lilo

(1) Lilo can boot a maximum of 27 images because its boot menu is static. Grub don't seem to have a limit with a scrolling screen. I ran out of systems after making it boot 150 OS.

(2) Grub can be installed without being attached to an operating system. Lilo cannot survive without a Linux.

(3) Grub can be booted manually. One can have a Grub prmopt so that Grub can interpret each line of command at the terminal and works like a mini operating system in its own right, although its primary function is just to boot a system but it can also do various tasks like displaying files, find files, show disk geometries etc. Personally I have not found a PC system a Grub prompt cannot boot. It is really that powerful. If an operating system can be booted then Grub can fire it up.

(4) Grub is controlled by a configuration file called menu.lst (Red Hat distro family sysmbolic-links it to grub.conf) which is expected to be found in the root of /boot/grub or /grub directory. If this file is not found Grub defaults to a Grub prompt. Lilo has the corresponding configuration file called /etc/lilo.conf. However this file must be re-compiled every time it has been altered, meaning Lilo checks it content and you cannot have a mistake there.

(5) As a direct consequence of Item (2) & (4) above a user can have a menu.lst written out to boot operating systems he/she has not yet installed. Yes you can installed Grub and have everything ready before installing any system inside. I wrote a menu.lst first before installing any of the 145 systems before.

(6) Grub has ambition to serve operating systems outside Linux and can boot other Unix-like systems like the Solaris directly (Both GRub and Lilo can boot any system indirectly by chainloading) but you may need a specially adapted version of Grub to do it. A user can select Grub from different platforms to boot the same system indirectly.

(7) Due to Item (2) Grub can be installed alone into a floppy, a hard disk, a CD, a pen drive etc. Lilo cannot be used to boot an operating system unless it has already been coded into its configuration file /etc/lilo.conf and therefore Lilo has little appeal if one manages to install it into a pen drive or CD because it doesn't work for other systems. Thus Grub can be a "tool" for booting other operating systems while Lilo can never be such a tool.

(8) You can use Grub to boot a Linux currently served by Lilo any time you want. To do the opposite you need to install Lilo into the distro first, write a /etc/lilo.conf, compile it and boot up Lilo.

(9) By the Item (1) to (8) Grub is easier to work with than Lilo

Advantage of Lilo

(1) Lilo is much smaller than Grub in term of its code size. It can reside wholly inside the boot sector of the hard disk and able to work because it is in a compiled form. This means you can nuke the Linux partition and Lilo can still be operational for booting other systems. Grub is dead meat if the partition hosting Grub is formatted or nuked.

(2) Lilo is the "Linux Loader" and loved by the many experienced Linux users because it has proven itself with a long service record. GNU/Grub has declared Legacy Grub, which nearly all Linux distros use as far as I can tell, will no longer be supported after version 0.97. It appears Lilo is still being supported but Grub has passed its sell-by date.

Legacy Grub 0.97 at its current form is still formidable and does not have any serious shortcoming relative to Lilo. I have noticed Grub has gained popularity at the expense of Lilo over the last 3 years. Legacy Grub is also increasingly used to boot Live CD traditionally a market corned by isolinux. Open Solaris has also switched to lagacy Grub in future releases.

GNU/Grub has concentrated on the next generation Grub2 since I entered Linux a few years ago but I haven't seen it in action. It has no documentation and I have not been able to make it work either.

Last edited by saikee; 06-16-2007 at 06:06 AM.


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