Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

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Pjotr
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Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by Pjotr » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:04 am

From time to time, people ask questions about Grub Customizer. Sometimes people even advise to use it.

My opinion: I consider Grub Customizer (GC) as dangerous and superfluous.

Dangerous, because it adds a thick layer of complexity to one of the most vital parts of your operating system: the bootloader. The more complex you make something, the more likely it is to cause trouble.

Superfluous, because most of what GC does, can also rather easily be accomplished by some manual hacks.

Spurred by a recent forum discussion, I've written a detailed article about my testing of GC. In that article I analyze this matter in more detail. I've put a lot of (hopefully) clarifying screenshots in that article of the test that I performed: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/gc

I hope this "knot in my forum handkerchief" can be useful, both for people who wish to advise others about Grub Customizer and for those who consider using it themselves. :)

Just to make this clear: I mean no disrespect towards Daniel Richter, who is the author of Grub Customizer. I have no doubt that he's a highly skilled programmer and very good at his job. It's just that I think that GC is based on a fundamentally wrong technical concept.
Last edited by Pjotr on Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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kenetics
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by kenetics » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:13 pm

I removed it when I upgraded to Mint 8.3 and boot time improved significantly.

I was using it because I normally have 2 or 3 distributions installed on this computer and it was an easy way to make it boot to a specific one. Though It's simple enough to edit Grub to do that.
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by Royal-Mint » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:38 pm

Bleachbit, Systemd, Pulseaudio, Grubcustomizer

What calamity will be next?

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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by BigEasy » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:29 pm

Gparted? Or kernel upgrade?
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by Pjotr » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:47 pm

Royal-Mint wrote:What calamity will be next?
inxi of course! :lol:
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by lmuserx4849 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:53 pm

Pjotr wrote:From time to time, people ask questions about Grub Customizer. Sometimes people even advise to use it.
...
It isn't something I'd use, but I've seen references to it. I don't see it in the repository (LM 18.3).

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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by chrisuk » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:12 pm

So long as readers of @Pjtor's thread understand the following:

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and @Pjtor's is just a personal opinion - it's not in any way the official stance of Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Debian. @Pjtor's opinion is no more valid than any other forum member, including you and me. It is also not the only opinion of Grub Customiser... I suggest you browse other Linux forums too, you'll notice some are for GC - some are against - and many don't have an opinion on it at all... although not many start a thread stating their opinion of it.

(Daniel; please don't respond to this thread, you'd be wasting your time... get back to the coding ;) )
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by Marziano » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:24 pm

chrisuk wrote: (Daniel; please don't respond to this thread, you'd be wasting your time... get back to the coding ;) )
He already had the kindness to do so, explaining things regarding the functioning of Grub Customizer here: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=261622&hilit=grub+customizer+no+no
just a few days ago.
I suppose that's one of the ironies of life, doing the wrong thing at the right moment -C.C.

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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by Pjotr » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:42 pm

Of course it's my personal opinion. But in that article I demonstrate what Grub Customizer does, which amounts to adding a massive layer of complexity to the bootloader.

In the article, I weigh the disadvantages of this huge added complexity against the advantages, namely adding bling-bling to your bootloader and easily changing the boot order.

Given the fact that adding bling-bling and even changing the boot order can also be done without adding this thick layer of complexity, I advise against it. Complexity is a risk in itself; such an essential part of your operating system as the bootloader, shouldn't be put to that risk.

Oh well. "Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat". Which is Swahili for: do what you want; I've said my part.
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by catweazel » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:02 pm

chrisuk wrote:So long as readers of @Pjtor's thread understand the following:

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and @Pjtor's is just a personal opinion - it's not in any way the official stance of Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Debian. @Pjtor's opinion is no more valid than any other forum member, including you and me. It is also not the only opinion of Grub Customiser... I suggest you browse other Linux forums too, you'll notice some are for GC - some are against - and many don't have an opinion on it at all... although not many start a thread stating their opinion of it.
+1

Grub-customizer has been a very helpful tool for me. Unfortunately some people get a bee in their bonnet that they just can't let escape. The argument about complexity put forward by Pjotr is, in and of itself, sound, but it fails to take into account that GC has uses that do not add these layers of complexity. Reordering the boot order being one of them. It is also much easier to have a newcomer edit the grub config in GC and post a few pictures to explain it than it is for them to follow a handful of terminal commands and come to grips with a command line text editor.
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by rick gen » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:07 am

Been using Grub Customizer since I began getting serious about using Linux.
In fact, It's the main app that I'm able to do multiple boot options, which included Windows.
I'd be lost without it, especially adding a maximum of 5 distros in my system, again, which included Windows.
The messy look in every Linux install during boot, ie, memtest, advanced something, etc. is confusing.
GC cleans it all up in a very simple, intuitive way.
I don't play with the Appearance Settings in GC, except check the Custom Resolution: 640 x 480.

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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by jimallyn » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:29 pm

I used Grub Customizer for years, on several different computers, with no problems. Then I decided I wanted to do something maybe a little out of the ordinary: add Plop to the boot menu so I could boot from DVD or USB on a computer that doesn't support it. And that's where the troubles began. I wanted to figure out how to do this for my brother, but not having his computer handy, I decided to first figure out how to do it on my own computer, then write it up and email it to him. After several days of working at it, in order to boot my computer now, I have to boot SuperGrub2 from a CD, then boot Mint from there. Not a big deal, since I usually leave my computer running and rarely ever have to reboot it, but when I install Mint 18 on a new hard drive next month, I will not be using Grub Customizer. I might figure out another way to add Plop to the Grub boot menu, or maybe just install Plop to the MBR and use it instead of Grub. But I won't be using Grub Customizer anymore.
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Re: Grub Customizer: why you shouldn't use it

Post by tomcashen » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:35 pm

There are a number of tools I've used of late to configure this old laptop to my necessities and liking. In my situation, I will ALWAYS be a newbie unless I actually carve out some time to master the command line. Such is not my ambition. I have actual work to do.

The beauty of Linux is that the system is learnable, where others are not. Having worked with computers (outside school) since 1983, I've gone through the newbie to guru and back cycle several times.

With that said, I see no shame in using a graphic interface to accomplish things achievable on the command line.

Instead of editing fstab, I use "Disks"."
Instead of using dd, I use "USB Image Writer."
Instead of messing with grub.cfg I use "Grub Customizer"

After balancing evil vs. groceries, I have the unfortunate necessity to dual-boot Win7. With eyes wide open, I used Grub Customizer to achieve a solid dual boot protocol with my own splash, and I'm happy with it. I care nothing for the added complexity, as it seems to be serving me quite well. I see your passion, Pjtor, but I can't share it.

Learning the Linux command line is certainly a worthy pursuit. But it is no more and no less another interface. I talk to users (even on the intermediate level) who are still copy/pasting command lines from some website. Nothing wrong with that, but certainly it is no more 'advanced' than a gui for achieving a task.

I toast users of every level, and especially Pjtor (I turned off my ad blocker for you, man), and Daniel Richter, and all the fellow newbies.

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