grub-pc should add debconf hook to update grub-pc/install_devices when using grub-install manually

Bug #668396 reported by Tyler Gates on 2010-10-29
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
grub2 (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: grub-pc

On initial install of grub-pc, debconf prompts the user to select which device he/she would like to install grub to and then records the selection in grub-pc/install_device in apt's databases. I think if ubuntu wants to record such actions in its database, then direct calls by the admin to the grub-install command should also then include a hook to update the entry to grub-pc/install-device. Without doing this subsequent updates to grub-pc (or even dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc) will prompt the user where to install grub IF grub-install was ran previously on a different device.

I rely heavily on byte for byte imaging to mass deploy custom Ubuntu images at work and the prompting debconf wanted to do for (potentially) each machine (because the original build had a UUID set as the device) even after I manually re-installed grub was driving me absolutely crazy.

On a side note it would be nice if future Ubuntu installers gave the option to use the old device naming schemes instead of UUID's as I think there is still a strong enough demand for it but thats for a different discussion....


ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.04
Package: grub-pc 1.98-1ubuntu7
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.32-25.45-generic
Uname: Linux 2.6.32-25-generic i686
Architecture: i386
Date: Fri Oct 29 11:47:11 2010
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" - Release i386 (20100429)
 PATH=(custom, user)
SourcePackage: grub2

Tyler Gates (tgates81) wrote :
Phillip Susi (psusi) wrote :

I don't think that this will be done because you can run grub-install on other devices that you don't plan on having automatically updated. If you change the uuid after imaging you should probably run dpkg-reconfigure to update grub2, then it won't need to ask later.

I subscribed Colin Watson so he will see this and correct me if I am wrong in setting this to won't fix.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Won't Fix
Tyler Gates (tgates81) wrote :

    I see your point about installing grub to other devices. However, its not so easy to just run dpkg-reconfigure after the uuid's change. I admin 150+ machines and the prompting for the install device debconf wants to make on each machine would be a nightmare unless I wrote expect scripts and I would really rather avoid that. ;) There is a setting in /etc/default/grub where you can set GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID to true. Perhaps debconf could honor this setting and record the install device as the old BIOS enumerated /dev/<sdxy> scheme. Doing this would have avoided my frusterations in the first place.

Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

Reopening as this obviously isn't quite right even though I'm prepared to justify the current behaviour (along similar lines as Phillip). Phillip, I'd prefer it if you left Won't Fixing to somebody who uploads the package in question.

Possible solutions:

 * you could use debconf preseeding - there's no reason you should need to see the prompt if you already know the answer, because debconf supports preseeding an answer in its database before upgrading
 * we could have the canonical location of this answer be somewhere on the filesystem rather than somewhere in the debconf database, which is arguably required by policy anyway

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: Won't Fix → Triaged
Tyler Gates (tgates81) wrote :

    I am unaware of how to do option 1. I've tried echo'ing the selection number using Teletype frontend but it wouldn't take that particular question. Sorry.. still new to debconf. Option 2 sounds suitable. Curious: would there be a problem with honoring the GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID variable? Kind of moot point now but it seems to be the right way.


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