After a decade of development, GRUB2 has been released officially, and it brings some major improvements to GRUB. Though, it hardly caught anyone’s attention, as GRUB2 is already being used by most major distros for the last three years. Although the version used by these distros was a pre-release of GRUB2, it was more or less feature complete.
The release was announced on the GNU GRUB official mailing list:
I’m proud to announce the release of GNU GRUB version 2.00.
Since this version has a round number it has been paid special attention to, and hopefully, represents higher quality.
This is the first time we include an official theme (starfield).
This version also includes EHCI driver.
Support for using GRUB as firmware on Yeeloong was added in GRUB 1.99, and for 2.00 this support has been extended to Fuloong2F as well.
This is also the first time we release itanium and SGI mips port. Later is experimental due to problems encountered with its firmware.
This new release brings a new menu structure with submenus, a new theme for gfxmenu and support for new platforms. It also brings new drivers for AHCI, EHCI, EFI serial etc. Apart from these, there is support for new filesystems, performance improvements and better internationalization. However, as mentioned earlier, most of these features are already present in running versions of GRUB2.
There is an interesting discussion on Slashdot about the current state of vendor-lock in for hardware. On one hand, we have GPLv3 that restricts hardware locking, and on the other hand, there is Microsoft which is hell-bent on pushing secure boot and killing the Linux ecosystem on x86 systems. There should be fair laws safeguarding us from vendors and corporations forcing their decisions down our throat.