If you're using Linux on a Mac or a UEFI-capable PC, you may be interested in my latest programming project, which is a fork of the rEFIt
boot manager. Unfortunately, rEFIt hasn't been updated for two years, its original author has stopped responding to queries, and the program has a number of bugs and limitations, especially on UEFI PCs. This combination of factors has motivated me to create a significantly modified version, which I've now released as rEFInd:
Both rEFIt and rEFInd are EFI-based boot loaders, so they aren't (yet) of interest to people using BIOS-based PCs. (UEFI is becoming standard, though, so your next computer is likely to be UEFI-based.) These programs are boot managers, not boot loaders; that is, they give you a choice of booting via boot loaders provided by the target OS. Features of rEFInd that set it apart from ELILO, GRUB Legacy, and GRUB 2 on EFI include:
- A graphical, icon-based selection of your boot OS
- Automatic detection of all installed EFI boot loaders at run time, which simplifies boot loader configuration and maintenance
- The ability to launch an EFI shell (which you must obtain separately)
- A bootable CD image that you can use for recovery if a new OS installation or other problem prevents you from using your chosen boot loader
When booting Linux, rEFInd relies on another Linux-capable boot loader, such as ELILO or GRUB; however, developments in the 3.3 kernel series will enable the kernel to boot as an EFI application, which will eliminate this need. You can boot such a kernel directly with rEFInd, without relying on another boot loader. In my tests (on five systems), this combination has been more reliable than any other Linux EFI boot loader, although ELILO and GRUB Legacy both come close.
Anyhow, feel free to check it out and post back or e-mail me with your comments!