miércoles, 27 de marzo de 2013

The GRUB Battle Again: Getting Mageia to Coexist with AntiX

Regardless of what people say about netbooks, their portable factor is very convenient for teaching.  However, I wanted to change some of the distros on the HD of my Dell Inspiron Mini 10. It formerly sported
  1. Mandriva 2010.2 (main production distro)
  2. Pardus 2011
  3. Mepis 11
  4. Mageia 2
  5. Mandriva 2011
The problem was that Mandriva 2010 was way too old and Mandriva 2011 way too heavy for the little thing.  Plus, I wanted a distro that could boot the small machine fast in case something popped up and all of the above distros booted in more than 1 minute and 15 seconds (well, except Mandriva 2011, which took a good 2 minutes on the modest specs of the computer).

So, I decided to clean up the partition table, which was a mess because all of  my grub learning has taken place in the netbook, basically.  Thus, I wiped out all the distros and created a new partition table to start afresh.

I decided to start by putting Mageia 2.  The installation was OK as usual.  Then, I installed AntiX because it picked up the Wifi of the machine and it includes LibreOffice (I tested Slitaz, but it would not pick up the wifi and Vector Light took 50 seconds to start).  The installation went perfect and I placed the GRUB on its corresponding root partition.

The problem was that AntiX boots with GRUB2 and Mageia's GRUB, sitting comfortably on the MBR, simply refused to see AntiX.  To make things worse, I have very little experience dealing with GRUB2, so I could not find the way to collect the information that I needed to edit GRUB manually.

Therefore, after trying everything I could think of and failing, I put the issue aside and installed Mepis 11 to see if its GRUB could pick up AntiX.  Although I did not have any installation problems, Mepis installed a GRUB that saw Mageia, but AntiX continued on the hiding.

However, I had an idea: given than AntiX and Mepis share several points, why not trying with the information on Mepis' GRUB using the AntiX kernel?

It was sort of crazy but I gave it a try.  So, once on Mepis, I went to /boot/grub and opened the file menu.lst with Kwrite and copied the entry for Mepis:

title Mepis at sda 8 newest kernel
root (hd0,7)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda8 nomce quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img

Then, I booted up Mageia and went to the same location (/boot/grub).  I opened Konsole and entered su, followed by my root password.
After that, I typed :

export $(dbus-launch)

and pasted the entry twice (one for Mepis and the other for AntiX).

Then I changed one to read:

title AntiX at sda 7
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-3.6.11-antix.1-486-smp root=/dev/sda7 ro splash
initrd /boot/vmlinuz-3.6.11-antix.1-486-smp

and saved the file.  I rebooted and the new entries where shown by Mageia's GRUB.  I tried the one for Antix and voilà!  AntiX booted the netbook.
Table contrasting the distros on the HD
Yes, Mageia 2 can coexist with AntiX after all and the Dell netbook is now a triple boot.  However, I am saving partitions for Pisi Linux, the new Mandriva release, and Elive.

I guess I need to start learning how to work with GRUB2, by the way...

1 comentario:

  1. Good to know you could solve that issue. Since most distros are moving to Grub 2, there is no option but to tame that new beast...