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.comment: Why Windows Users Should Oppose the Settlement (and Other Notes That Defy Categorization) - page 3

The Effects of a Monopoly

  • January 9, 2002
  • By Dennis E. Powell

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? 9mm or .45? Vi or Emacs or something, um, sane? KDE or Gnome?

While Caldera Open Linux no longer exists in that form, and its distribution channels have changed such that new Linux users are unlikely even to hear of it (something which the Caldera people probably see as a blessing), there is still a Caldera and, more important, a Caldera mailing list. On it one finds some of the sharpest Linux people around, many of whom I think of as friends from years gone by. And it is the locus of a new and fiery dispute: The bootloader war.

The venerable, reliable LILO, or the upstart GRUB?

I'm a LILO guy but I've never used GRUB so if it has virtues they are not known to me. While I'll keep using what I know until it no longer meets my needs, I take no position in this one.

The war erupted as a result of complaints over the miserably broken LILO shipped with Caldera Workstation 3.1. Caldera has embraced grub (as, soon after, did Red Hat). Both sides have people who are so competent in the configuration and use of Linux that I, and you, probably, too, would be embarrassed to have them see how we have our machines set up. They know how to do things elegantly and efficiently.

They seem to break down into two categories: Those who have to administer machines remotely (the LILO group) and those who don't and who favor GRUB. The argument, so far, has to do with the ability to reboot remotely versus the ability to get something to boot locally despite a misconfiguration.

It's lively, and reading the comments is enjoyable. The solution, of course, is for distributions -- including Caldera -- to ship the very latest versions of both. If there's room on the CDs for multiple desktops and even Netscape, there's room for current versions of two boot loaders.

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