Linuxium's Bootloader is a tool that allows users to boot both Linux and Android from an SD card on RK3188 mini PCs (at least so far).The developer, Ian Morrison, has managed to provide a very interesting piece of software that should prove invaluable if adopted on other devices as well.
“The power of a bootloader lies in giving you the choice in what happens after you power your device on. Perhaps you want to boot Linux and not Android. And you want Debian not Ubuntu. Maybe you need quick access to Android as you just need to run one applications. Or perhaps you want to test that new ROM before deciding whether to adopt it,” said Ian Morrison in his Google+ post.
The system looks and behaves just like the old-fashioned GRUB that we see every day on our computers, but for now it works only on RK3188 mini PCs. This is not an unsurmountable obstacle and, with a little bit of effort, it could be made to work on other devices as well.
According to the developer, the latest version of the bootloader can do some interesting things:
• Check if there is an SD card with Linux and then offer to:
- Boot Linux from SD card or
- Install Linux to NAND
• Check if there is an SD card with Android and then offer to:
- Boot Android from SD Card or
- Install Android to NAND
• Check if Linux is installed on NAND and then offer to:
- Boot Linux from NAND or
- Remove Linux from NAND or
- Save Linux to SD card
• Check if Android is installed on NAND and then offer to:
- Boot Android from NAND or
- Remove Android from NAND or
- Save Android to SD card
Making it work will take some effort, but the developer has provided a comprehensive tutorial and, if you have the hardware, it should present no particular problem.
Given the obvious benefits of this new piece of software, it will be interesting to see how far it gets on other, more complex hardware.