[UFO Chicago] Bootloaders Able To Access The Entire Disk

Brian Sobolak brian at planetshwoop.com
Wed Jun 3 21:37:38 PDT 2015

On Jun 3, 2015 1:41 PM, "Jay F. Shachter" <jay at m5.chicago.il.us> wrote:
> Esteemed Colleagues And Fellow Nerds:
> Recently I acquired a laptop with an old BIOS, although I did not
> suspect just how old, until it was too late.  This laptop's BIOS is
> so old ("how old is it?") that it can only access the beginning of the
> internal disk.  Historically this was the main reason for the custom,
> on Linux, of placing /boot in a separate slice of disk toward the
> start of the disk, while the bulk of the filesystem went elsewhere
> (another reason was wanting to put the root filesystem on a logical
> volume, back in the days when GRUB could not boot from LVM) -- because
> on such computers, not only the BIOS, but also GRUB, cannot access the
> entire disk.  Thus, placing GRUB at the beginning of the disk is
> insufficient; the operating system that GRUB loads into memory must
> also entirely reside toward the beginning of the disk.
> I did not suspect that my computer was that old, until after I had
> already partitioned its disk, and already installed FreeBSD
> 11.0-CURRENT, and LinuxMint 17.1, and OpenSUSE 13.2, and Haiku
> alphaR4.  Haiku resides toward the end of the disk, in what, on Linux,
> would be called sda7, and GRUB cannot boot it (this is Grub2, of
> course).  GRUB does not even know that sda7 and sda8 -- or, as GRUB
> would say, (hd0,7) and (hd0,8) -- even exist, it only knows about
> slices up to sda6; if you try to say

Back up the bus.

What could possibly be in a three year old alpha release of a BeOs clone that makes this a problem worth solving? 

Are you doing ELM compatibility testing again?


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