Grub 2 and the Law of Software Envelopment

I was reading a bit about Grub 2’s modules, including this page for gfxterm, a reimplementation of VGA console mode for Grub 2 — VGA console mode isn’t good enough because it cannot display Arabic, simplified Chineese, nor Inuit glyphs. And, let’s face it, the kinds of Inuits frobbing their boot loaders can’t possibly be expected to only get along with Latin-1 characters, right?

This reminded me of Zawinkski’s Law of Software Envelopment:

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Way to go Grub 2! You’re almost there! (I assume a TCP stack and SSH already exist…)

I’m not one to talk, of course, because I was looking into the possibility of writing a Grub 2 module that can read the GPIO pins on an Alix board in order to use the SW1 switch to decide to boot an alternative root. But, in my defense, my feature is a little closer to the type of thing you’d expect a boot loader to be able to handle than say, Inuit letters.


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