flat assembler
Message board for the users of flat assembler.

Index > OS Construction > Anyone know of a non-OS-dependent x86 multi-OS bootloader?

Author
Thread Post new topic Reply to topic
ShortCoder



Joined: 07 May 2004
Posts: 105
ShortCoder
I have been searching for a few days on, for example, google and sourceforge, but cannot find what I would consider a suitable bootloader. The bootloaders I find are OS-dependent, meaning they need to at least read configuration files on some partition that a certain OS is installed on. What this means is that should I have multiple OSes installed on this machine, and the one OS the bootloader is dependent on go down, now essentially all of the OSes are down.

Also it is annoying (and very easy to do) to have a bootloader on the primary hard drive which is dependent on some partition on a different hard drive just to boot, for example, an OS that happens to be on the primary hard drive as well. All it takes in this case is for the hard drive the OS is on which the bootloader is dependent on to go down to render all OSes on all hard drives useless.

I am just looking for a simple x86 bootloader which is dependent only on itself and which is capable of booting more than four OSes. (it supports extended partitions and supports booting from them)

I don't mind if the bootloader requires a small partition of its own for data storage (such as names of OSes and which partitions they are installed in, timeout information, configuration program, etc...), but it is ideal if it contains everything in simply the first 446 bytes. It can be just a hardcoded program with no timeouts and simply numbers on the left, with no names, corresponding to each partition and extended partition (heck, maybe the extended partitions have an "e" before the number). It shouldn't matter to have the names of OSes corresponding with the partitions or extended partitions they are installed on should it? All it should take is to install OSes on partitions, for YOU to remember which number partition (or extended partition), then for the program to just read the partitions and allow you to select which to boot, with no timeout. The simpler and more efficient, the better. Include a text file for instructions. No need to have fancy bootscreens.

In fact, it wouldn't even be so bad if the bootloader did use its own partition, and you had to place into that partition all the other OS' bootloaders, setting up in some configuration file which OS/partition goes with which bootloader (as the default to boot) perhaps.

_________________
Boycott Symantec/Norton/PowerQuest whenever possible
Post 15 Feb 2005, 16:55
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Madis731



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 2141
Location: Estonia
Madis731
Very Happy I thought all bootloaders were non-OS-dependent
now I know its the other way round Razz

I would really like to have this kind of ... tool? MenuetOS universal Boot-Loader MeOSBL!
Post 15 Feb 2005, 19:25
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger Reply with quote
Dex4u



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 1601
Location: web
Dex4u
I have you try this http://www2.arnes.si/~fkomar/xosl.org
Note: I do not now if it will suite your task, So you will after read about it your self.
Post 15 Feb 2005, 20:42
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
ShortCoder



Joined: 07 May 2004
Posts: 105
ShortCoder
Well, I think most are technically independent of the OS functions, but requiring even a single dependent file (perhaps a configuration file) to reside on the same partition as a specific OS severely compromises the bootloader should something go wrong with that OS which corrupts the filesystem. Now you couldn't boot anything in that case (without a backup)

Now that I've thought about this longer, I do believe you can have a sole partition only for /boot under Linux (and maybe UNIXes), where LILO or Grub can reside, separate from where the Linux OS is installed. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thank you for the XOSL bootloader:) Unfortunately, if you go to the xosl sourceforge page, they have none of that there (that I can find), and external links in some of the documentation don't work. Also, xosl.org is dead.
Fortunately, you found a place hosting that bootloader, and I thank you for this.Smile

It seems promising, although it doesn't appear to allow booting OSes from ext2 or ext3 partitions, but I could be doing something wrong. It should be noted that I did NOT install any OSes into the ext2 and ext3 partitions I made, and perhaps if I had, they would be choosable for booting. It should also be noted, however, that ALL of the FAT partitions and NTFS partition were choices, even the ones with nothing on them other than a fresh format.

I will update this thread at such time as I have further tested this (with installing other OSes and trying to use this).

The really bad thing is, it seems, that computers with preinstalled WindowsXP with only recovery CDs force upon the user the full size of an entire hard disk to an NTFS volume, with no way to change this without buying expensive third-party software because Microsoft seemed to think it was a nice thing not to provide any sort of WindowsXP tool to do this. I seem to remember using fdisk and format in Windows98 to do similar, with NO problems. *sigh* Why didn't Microsoft simply port fdisk to WindowsXP, and add NTFS support? It also wouldn't be so bad as is, were it not for the fact that NTFS is proprietary with no published standards (that I know of).

I guess I just wanted an OS bootloader with minimal overhead.

Again, xosl looks promising, so I will have to try it again later, but if it happens that it won't let me boot off the ext3 partitions once I install OSes on them, I'm going to have to ditch it. Hopefully it will work.Smile

_________________
Boycott Symantec/Norton/PowerQuest whenever possible
Post 17 Feb 2005, 03:42
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
f0dder



Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 3170
Location: Denmark
f0dder
Quote:

with no way to change this without buying expensive third-party software because Microsoft seemed to think it was a nice thing not to provide any sort of WindowsXP tool to do this.

Most people generally don't need this. And if Microsoft produced a tool to do it, they would have a lawsuit for bundling software with their OS. Fdisk wouldn't be enough, you need something like partitionmagic to do non-destructive partition resize.

An OS bootloader could use "the first track" of the harddrive, since it's reserved - problem is that some copy protection systems also use this space, and that sucks.
Post 17 Feb 2005, 04:05
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Reply with quote
ShortCoder



Joined: 07 May 2004
Posts: 105
ShortCoder
f0dder wrote:

Most people generally don't need this. And if Microsoft produced a tool to do it, they would have a lawsuit for bundling software with their OS. Fdisk wouldn't be enough, you need something like partitionmagic to do non-destructive partition resize.

An OS bootloader could use "the first track" of the harddrive, since it's reserved - problem is that some copy protection systems also use this space, and that sucks.


True. Doesn't Microsoft already bundle an awfully large amount of software with their OS? Isn't it equally anti-competitive not to publicly release the NTFS specification, thereby not allowing competing products to make compatible software with it?

It's been a while since I used fdisk, so perhaps I was mistaken, though I thought I remembered resizing partitions with it in the past. Maybe not.

I'll go a step farther and say that any copy-protections suck. They hinder only the legitimate users of products and do nothing to deter piracy. Cracks are soon made. Legitimate users suffer.

True that most people don't need this but most people don't need lots of the bundled stuff Windows tends to come with, things much more useless to the average user than this. Most people are content with the defaults and using exclusively Internet Explorer to browse, but it doesn't mean we should not be given options included with the OS to change these defaults now does it?

I hate bad settings being forced on me. I think you do too. With no builtin resizing method (and with only restore CDs), this is essentially a permanently bad setting.

_________________
Boycott Symantec/Norton/PowerQuest whenever possible
Post 17 Feb 2005, 04:26
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Dex4u



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 1601
Location: web
Dex4u
I agree with ShortCoder, on this one, M$ should ether provide away to set the hdd back to what it was before making it NTFS, or make the the spec available for other to do so.

I think as hardware gets cheaper, this sort of thing will backfire on them.
Post 17 Feb 2005, 17:27
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Madis731



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 2141
Location: Estonia
Madis731
Very Happy I stumbled upon a google ad on the boards - these are very helpful:
http://www.osloader.com/
Post 18 Feb 2005, 14:13
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:
Post new topic Reply to topic

Jump to:  


< Last Thread | Next Thread >
Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Copyright © 1999-2020, Tomasz Grysztar. Also on YouTube, Twitter.

Website powered by rwasa.