Ubuntu 12.04: GRUB2 Tweaks

The default Grub2 video mode for Ubuntu 12.04 is 640×480, which looks rather overwhelming on a 24 inch monitor that can do 1920×1600. I’m also a fan of Old Skool scrolling text, because when something goes wrong it’s handy to get an actual hint in real time.

Thus, some Grub tweakage was in order:

GRUB_DEFAULT=saved
GRUB_SAVEDEFAULT=true
#GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true
GRUB_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
#GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

 ... snippage ...

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
#GRUB_TERMINAL=console

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480
#GRUB_GFXMODE=1600x1200
GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024

AFAICT, it’s impossible to:

  • Page(*) the output of the Grub vbeinfo command. A blind stab at 1600×1200 turned out to be too small and painfully slow at scrolling in graphics mode.
  • Boot a text-mode console in anything other than 80 characters x 24 rows, so un-commenting the GRUB_TERMINAL line isn’t helpful.

This being Grub2, you must do this special dance (anybody remember when one of Grub’s advantages over Lilo was that it didn’t require a special dance?) to make it work:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
 ... make changes & save ...
sudo update-grub
sudo reboot ; exit

That’s from an SSH session across the room, of course…

Incidentally, shutting off the graphic drivel immediately revealed that those NFS mounts weren’t happening because statd wasn’t running. Knowing that immediately would have saved some diagnostic time, yes, it would.

(*) The Official Grub2 doc suggests set pager=1, but there’s no way to discover that using help set at the Grub2 command line. Now we both know and maybe we’ll remember it for the next time.

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  1. #1 by frenzie on 2012-06-20 - 18:14

    anybody remember when one of Grub’s advantages over Lilo was that it didn’t require a special dance?

    Me! Me! Me! :P

    I believe I must’ve linked you to this blog entry of mine before: http://fransdejonge.com/2010/01/grub2-brilliance/

    The inconsistency between grub-install and update-grub also trips me up nearly every damn time I need to do anything with that stuff.

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