[syslinux] syslinux vs grub

Jacob S stormspotter at 6Texans.net
Fri Jan 7 05:06:28 PST 2005

On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 01:50:26 -0800
"H. Peter Anvin" <hpa at zytor.com> wrote:

> Okay, I'm going to ask the gajillion-dollar question...
> I've been doing syslinux for 11 years now.  From a very limited scope
> it has since grown and is now a very advanced boot loader.
> Unfortunately, it's not clear to me anymore to what extent the work
> I'm doing is useful.
> I personally dislike grub because of its monolithic design, and
> because the grub people have traditionally been very difficult to deal
> with. Yet it has achieved a remarkable adoption rate, and it's not
> clear whether or not it's worth trying to capture that market
> (especially since these are markets in which you don't get paid...!)
> In many ways Grub is like Windows; bloated, bad design, has the
> checkbox features, most of them badly implemented, and enough pretty
> pictures people think it's user friendly.  I don't want to turn
> syslinux into that.  So I guess the megaquestion is...
> Is it worth bothering with going forward, or am I wasting my time?  If
> so, what should I be focusing on?

I hadn't noticed syslinux until I started trying to make my usb memory
stick bootable. The thing that made it more attractive to me than grub
though was that it's config syntax was so similar to lilo. I'm like you,
in thinking that Grub is kind of bloated and tries to hold your hand too

Also, the new Debian-Installer and Knoppix (and FeatherLinux, which is
based on Knoppix) all use syslinux for booting from usb memory stick,
cdrom and other boot media.

I find syslinux to be a great medium between "ultra basic, barely does
what you want" and "bloated, hard to use, but when you get it working,
it has more gui and clicky-things than Windows". It has the nice boot
splash and allows you to specify help files for the user to read at boot
time. I couldn't be happier. :-) 

So, thanks for all your hard work!


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