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Re: MultiBoot infos

From: Alessandro Rubini
Subject: Re: MultiBoot infos
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2000 00:11:53 +0200

>   No and yes. The Multiboot Specification 0.7 is in progress and GRUB
> doesn't support the new features yet.

But what are those features? Is the discussion public or not?

As I already outlined, I don't like the blindly PC-centric attitude of
Multiboot. Actually, the pc-centricness is at all levels, from the
documentation down to the actual implementation. This is bad, in my

Also, the attitude of the docs is bad. They condemn OS's that are not
multiboot-compliant, like multiboot was a real standardization effort
defined by a cross-platform committee. Since it is not, its authors
have no right in pretending it to be adopted. Stating so in the docs
sheds a bad light onto the standard itself and its authors.

If I had any power in directing Linux development I wouldn't accept
any patch that makes it multiboot compliant, unless the attitude
changes radically.
Besides, the specs should clearly state who is the author, where does
discussion take place, what are future plans and forward-compatibility
plans and an history of releases and changes between releases. And it
should have real release numbers, starting from 1.0, not 0.x.  Missing
that, it doesn't look a specification at all. It looks a random
technical document about booting the old crappy PC. After reading it
my main thought was "so what?".

As another example of the bad attitude, stage2/boot.c should replace
"what a shit" with "what a mess". I don't think an author has the
right to throw shit at other authors' work unless he/she knowns all
the history and motivations that led to the current code [1].

I know that these comments are harsh, and that in order to back my
right to make such comments I should show a boot specification to
state "I'd do it this way". I am not able to do that, but I finally
thought I'd better post my comments in the hope they are accepted as
constructive criticism like they are meant to be. While the current
situation is better than nothing, in my opinion the current multiboot
stuff has little hope to be adopted.

While these are personal opinions people like me will surely agree
with me. Other people will think it's a good standard and other people
will flame wildly at multiboot -- developers with strong opinions are
all too common.  I think an effort in the directions I outline can
change the average opinion of multiboot, getting much less flamers and
a few more supporters.


[1] For what is worth I *like* video mode selection at boot time.  If
I looked at that code earlier I may well have stayed away from grub[2];
why should I trust someone that throws shit to something I use and
appreciate every day?

[2] And maybe this list would have enjoyed my absence :)

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