I had a client call me last week with a problem. They have 3 servers running Debian GNU/Linux. They had had a power failure the evening before, and everything had come back up fine except their Linux servers. All of them!
They all had the exact same problem, he said, “When I boot them up, they get as far as LI….” To even the most casual Linux user, this is a sadly common problem. I realized that none of these servers had been rebooted since we performed a Woody to Sarge upgrade, and something clearly hosed LILO.
This whole experience raised a number of questions for me:
- I fixed the LILO issue by just booting up the Debian install CD, breaking into a shell, and doing the “mount/chroot/lilo” dance, and then installed GRUB. But I wouldn’t expect your average user to do this. I know that Debian has (or had, at least) some sort of “rescue” functionality, but I can’t find any documentation for it on the web anywhere. Anyone know?
- I don’t know if this is a bug, or what, but just about every person I have talked to about their Woody to Sarge upgrade has managed to hose their boot sector. I assume this is because somewhere in the installation process, lilo gets upgraded (naturally) but perhaps it’s optional to re-run “lilo”. In fact, I can imagine people specifically saying not to run lilo out of fear of hosing their boot sector. Well, it’s burned a lot of people and it looks like it burned us here. Is this is an acknowledged problem?