increasing grub timeout?

John Summerfield debian at
Wed Nov 25 00:04:53 UTC 2009

Ankur Sinha wrote:
> On Tue, 2009-11-24 at 15:15 +0800, John Summerfield wrote:
>> Michal Jaegermann wrote:
>>> On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 09:28:19PM -0500, Scott Robbins wrote:
>>>> As it stands, one has to hover over the
>>>> escape key, trying to time it correctly.
>>> Not weighing in with any opinion on your propositions but just try
>>> _before_ even a grub screen will show up, but not far before, to hit
>>> "Up" or "Down" arrow keys, or even "Escape", and patiently wait for
>>> what will happen.
>> I know all that, but several times in the past 24 hours I've found 
>> myself booting the wrong thing.
>> Increasing _to_ three seconds? Ten is nearer the mark, I think. 
>> Especially for those of us playing with virtual machines and windows 
>> popping up and going away
> 10 seconds? And what about those of us who boot into Fedora by default
> and don't want to wait? If I want to use my other install, I reboot ,
> sitting right there. No problem pressing a key to stop the timeout. 

If ten seconds seem interminable, you need to get a life!

> People change the timeout according to their requirements. 
> System>admin>boot loader. 
Doesn't work on most of my systems. This always does:
vim /boot/grub/menu.lst

Let me see.

I have two real computers beside my desk with RHEL-clone or Fedora. One 
normally runs Windows and has half-a-dozen or more virtual machines with 
Linux (mostly Debian, but still with grub). Across the room my sever 
runes RHEL4-clone. in the house my internet gateway runs another 
RHEL4-clone. My wife's system runs RHEL-clone, I have two laptops with 
Fedora and one with opensuse, all with grub. Over there in the corner 
are a couple of test systems, those too have grub. As has my wife's 
previous system....

Yesterday, I got tired of installing broken Fedora (gosh, I hope F12 
isn't the base for the next RHEL!!), and installed Ark linux instead. It 
happens it was on a DVD attached to a magazine.

I'm for ever updating grub menus!

Actually, there's a good reason I go for even longer timeouts sometimes. 
My work system has a one-hour timeout. The reason?

Sometimes, we have a power failure. It makes good sense for desktops to 
boot after servers, so the servers are good and ready to serve out IP 
addresses etc.

Sometimes, not often, there is a small succession of power failures. The 
one-hour delay ensures that the desktop gives the power supply ample 
time to settle down. If, as is often the case, I'm not there, it usually 
doesn't matter if it's down for a while, most times I don't notice.

OTOH if I really am present, pressing a key or two to boot appropriately 
really is trivial. Even if ten seconds does seem for ever!

In contrast, with short delays on some systems the screen hasn't even 
settled down from the graphics card being reinitialised and the grub 
display's not even visible.

When it is visible, it is still too easy for one's attention to wander 
while POST does its thing.

Especially on Fedora (and opensuse and debian testing), automatically 
booting the latest kernel is a recipe for disaster. It will happen that 
you will install a kernel that will not boot. It happened to lots of 
people with FC3, it happened (fortunately after I made an enormous fuss 
it got fixed before Golden Day) with Fedora 8 (or thereabouts) betas. 
Kernel 2.6.25 it was. 2.6.24 was fine.



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