Friday, November 26, 2010

Burg Manager

I've tried many boot managers over the years including Grub, Grub2, rEFIt, NTLoader and Bootman. I liked Grub a lot because of its versatility and Grub2 has some advantages over Grub, even though it's considerably more complicated, particularly as it can provide high quality boot splashes (see the section on Splash Images and Theming).
So I was surprised to see in the video of this Lifehacker post that Grub2 was viewed as being ugly. Seems like somebody hasn't read the manual.
Nevertheless, I was excited to try out Burg Manager which apparently is an eye-candied version of Grub2.
However, for the first two days, whenever I tried to download from here, I got a 403 error. But today it worked and I installed Burg (after installing Buc, of course) in Ubuntu 10.10 on my EeePC 901 netbook.
What do I think? Well, it works and it's OK but the themes are, in my opinion, really no better, and very possibly worse, than what I can get with a well-chosen splash.
In most themes, the available OSes are displayed as icons with no words which can be confusing. For example, all of the OSes that I added via /burg/40_custom which is the equivalent (well, almost) of /etc/grub.d/40_custom which included Haiku and ChromeOS all showed up as large blue question marks.
In very many ways, Burg mirrors Grub2 in how it's configured. For example, to add "additional" OSes, you add them to /etc/burg.d/40_custom (equivalent to /etc/grub.d/40_custom) and then run /usr/sbin/burg-mkconfig (equivalent to update-grub).
Nevertheless, I found it cumbersome probably because I use so many "non-standard" OSes. If I had stuck to Linux and Windows, I'm sure it would have been a lot more useful.
I found a number of annoyances, however, the pricupal of which was that the Remove Burg command in the GUI did not work for me. This is supposed to reinstate Grub but it did no such think despite trying it at least three times. In the end, I had to run "grub-install /dev/sda" to get Grub back.
Burg is at version 1.0.0 right now. Maybe when, or if, it gets developed some more it might be worth looking at again but for the moment I'm very happy with Grub2.

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