A boot loader, also called a boot manager or bootstrap loader, helps to load and start the boot time tasks/initial tasks and processes of an operating system of the computer. There are various boot loaders, and two of them are GRUB and LILO. Overall, GRUB supports multiple operating systems, while LILO only supports the Linux operating system. Moreover, GRUB is new while LILO is old.
Key Areas Covered
Boot Loader, GNU, GRUB, LILO
What is GRUB
GRUB is a boot loader package from the GNU Project. It is a reference implementation of the Free Software Foundation’s Multi-boot Specification. Initially, GRUB was developed using a package called the Grand Unified Bootloader. Furthermore, the developer of GRUB is the GNU project.
GRUB supports various operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Solaris, Windows and macOS. Furthermore, GRUB allows the user to select one operating system to boot from multiple operating systems available on the computer. It allows selecting a specific kernel configuration available on a particular operating system’s partitions.
What is LILO
LILO is a boot loader for Linux. It was the default boot loader for most Linux distributions. ELILO is another variant of LILO. Nowadays, most distributions use GRUB as the default boot loader. However, LILO and ELILO are still popular. Moreover, the further extensions and developments of LILO were discontinued in December 2015. Additionally, LILO has a BSD license.
Difference Between GRUB and LILO
GRUB is a boot loader provided by the GNU project. In contrast, LILO is a bootloader for Linux that was the default boot loader for most Linux distributions in the years after the popularity of loadlin.
GNU Project developed GNU Project while Werner Almesberger, John Coffman and Joachim Wiedorn are the developers of LILO.
Supporting Operating systems
Moreover, GRUB supports Unix, Linux, macOS, BSD, Solaris and Windows operating systems, while LILO only supports the Linux operating system. Thus, this is the main difference between GRUB and LILO.
GRUB is new default boot loader while LILO is old default boot loader.
Besides, one other difference between GRUB and LILO is that LILO is simpler and easier to use than GRUB.
GRUB includes a GUI menu choice, while LILO does not have a GUI menu choice. Hence, this is another difference between GRUB and GUI.
Furthermore, when there are changes made to grub.conf, those will be automatically used when the system is next booted while any changes made to lilo.conf are not read at boot time.
In brief, GRUB and LILO are two boot loaders. The main difference between GRUB and LILO is that GRUB can be used for various operating systems, while LILO is used only for the Linux operating system.
1.“GNU GRUB.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 July 2019, Available here.
2.“LILO (Boot Loader).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 May 2019, Available here.
3.“What Is a Boot Loader? – Definition from Techopedia.” Techopedia.com, Available here.
1.”Screenshot of GNU GRUB” By SF007 – self-taken screenshot (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia