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Re: [laptop-discuss] Question regarding boot manager

Subject: Re: [laptop-discuss] Question regarding boot manager
From: William D Waddington
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 09:35:45 -0700

James Cornell wrote:
> William D Waddington wrote:
>> James Cornell wrote:
>>> It's obvious that the order of the systems and the bootable flag 
>>> impacts the order.  So it's best to have Solaris installed into the 
>>> mbr and other loaders stuck in their own partition superblock, being 
>>> chainloaded.  This is how I've been doing it for years.
>> IIRC, the Solaris installation puts a "vanilla" boot loader in the
>> drive's MBR.  That boot loader just boots the first active partition,
>> which is the Solaris partition.  Which these days has grub in its
>> boot sector.
>> I swapped a few emails with one of Sun's boot architects a while ago
>> discussing this.  I was a little peeved about the Sun installation
>> always stepping on the MBR.  His point was that by installing a
>> vanilla MBR and setting Solaris active, they were sure that _something_
>> would boot following the installation, and that the boot loader
>> invoked understood how to boot Solaris.
>> I have finessed this during a few installations to preserve my original
>> MBR (to keep a "magic" ThinkPad MBR, or existing grub or System
>> Commander MBR) by creating the Solaris partition _and setting it active_
>> before running the Solaris installer.
>> Don't know if that still works...
>> This requires chainloading the Solaris boot loader (grub or the previous
>> one) from whatever is managing booting.
>> Just adding a little noise.
>> Bill
> Oh, I understand your setup now, you need it the other way around.  One 
> can say the same thing about Windows stomping hard on boot loaders, 
> hehe.  :-)


> So you mean fdisk, then label and set active, then run the installer?  
> (Probably not Caiman obviously, since afaik it rewrites the table)

Yep.  Even with the partition built and set active in advance, the
Solaris installer will _still_ diddle the partition tables, just not
the boot code.  In my somewhat limited experience...

This table diddling gives System Commander fits, so I always had to
go back and hand edit the CHS values.  grub (either box-stock or
the Solaris version) is much more forgiving about real or imagined
disk geometry.

Some rather gassy notes re *nix on my laptops here: www.beezmo.com

But, in the interest of full disclosure:  on my T61 I have gone over
to the dark side.  I just run a full XP install on the bare metal
and many unixen under VMWare server.

It simplifies several things.  I can use the Lenovo backup tool to
capture a restore image of the whole thing, unixen included, for

I do my code   on the laptop in whatever OS is appropriate,
and in the cases where I need Linux or Solaris on the bare metal to test
PCI device drivers I multi-boot on a deskside with either grub or SC.
Or fire up a creaky old Ultra 10 :)

William D Waddington
Bainbridge Island, WA, USA
[email protected]
"Even bugs...are unexpected signposts on
the long road of creativity..." - Ken Burtch
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