Default GRUB menu entries are overly technical

Bug #918041 reported by Denis Washington
30
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
grub2 (Ubuntu)
Expired
Wishlist
Unassigned

Bug Description

The names of the entries added to a typical Ubuntu-Windows dual-boot GRUB menu are meaningless, if not even uncomforting and confusing to the average user. For instance, my Ubuntu 12.04 alpha install has the following entries:

Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-9-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-9-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-8-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-8-generic (recovery mode)
Memory test (memtest86+)
Memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)
Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1)

which is problematic in several ways:

- The kernel versions that we show in the Ubuntu entries do not at all relate to anything that we present to an average user in the rest of the system ("what is a kernel anyway?").

- There are multiple Ubuntus to choose from, with the average user not really knowing what the difference should be. ("Why do I have multiple Ubuntus now?" / "Why keep these old versions if there is a newer one?")

- The memory test entries are not useful most of the time, but still very visibly clutter the boot menu and make it more tedious to select the secondary operating system entries beneath them.

- The Windows entry has a "(loader)" suffix appended which seemingly signifies that it boots from a separate boot partition (as is the default case for Windows Vista and 7), but is absolutely needless information to the user.

Ideally, the menu would look something like this:

Ubuntu 12.04
Ubuntu 12.04 (recovery mode)
Windows 7

or, including the second newest kernel version:

Ubuntu 12.04
Ubuntu 12.04 (recovery mode)
Ubuntu 12.04 (last known good)
Windows 7

Tags: precise
Steve Langasek (vorlon)
affects: grub (Ubuntu) → grub2 (Ubuntu)
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
UbuntuFlo (ubuntuflo) wrote :

With this change hopefully coming to Precise, older and no longer used kernels should be deinstalled automatically. The GRUB menu looks like the following with users which are beginners and don't know how to remove the older kernels manually.
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-9-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-9-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-8-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-8-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-7-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-7-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-6-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-6-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-5-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-5-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-4-generic
Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-4-generic (recovery mode)
Every kernel older than 3.2.0-8 (in the above mentioned case) should be removed automatically. Only the "last known good" (0-8) and the newest (0-9) should be seen and be installed. I have seen (new) Ubuntu users, having dozens of kernels with hundreds of gigabyte installed.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
tags: added: precise
Revision history for this message
Henry3 (henry3-g) wrote :

I agree with the request. The default should be a very clean menu, using labels that are easily understood. Technical details like the kernel version could be visible in a status line on the bottom of the screen, or could be turned on with an option somewhere.

Revision history for this message
Leo H (leo-h-hildebrandt) wrote :

I fully support the points made and the solutions proposed by Denis (top post), UbuntuFlo (#2) and Henry3 (#3). As things stand, the Grub2 menu is unclear, confusing and loaded with irrelevant old kernels languishing on the hard drive.

Apart from presenting only relevant items and meaningful names, the Grub start-up menu could also usefully be made to offer the opportunity to:

(1) select the default choice
(2) reorder the menu items
(3) change the value for the time-out counter (seconds)

An installed system at the moment lacks an easy way of setting these basic choices without delving into the deep inner workings of Grub2.

Revision history for this message
Marcus Tomlinson (marcustomlinson) wrote :

This release of Ubuntu is no longer receiving maintenance updates. If this is still an issue on a maintained version of Ubuntu please let us know.

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for grub2 (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in grub2 (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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