Fair question, I’ve thought about using rEFInd myself. Few issues I see though:
It’s UEFI only. BIOS based systems, and older, buggier UEFI implementations will need a seperate bootloader (probably still GRUB).
It’s not widely used. That means a narrow test/bug-detection base, and a smaller community to get help from
It’s fairly new and still a pretty low version number. This relates back to wide usage in that there might still be outstanding, undetected bugs.
Now, I would be willing to use this as a test…though I’d probably keep a n EFI entry around for grub and maybe an EFISTUB kernel so I’m not dependent on rEFInd if it breaks. It does look nice, seems easy to configure, and can be integrated with bootable BTRFS snapshots…and also detect inserted bootable media so you can select them to boot (essentially replacing the UEFI boot menu).
It’s still something to consider I guess, but I can see good reasons why not to consider it as a default as well. On the other hand, you can always choose to cut over your own install. A few others on here have done so, and I’m still considering it myself…but I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now and for some reason I keep procrastinating…probably because grub is still working and I refuse to update it.
Both, why it’s not so popular and why Arch and as I know most of the other Linux distros are coming with a GRUB out of the box instead of rEFInd.
UEFI is here for a 20 years now and nearly all new motherboards have it.
AFAIK very few boards/PCs manufactured before 2010s have UEFI support. Also they are not spec-compliant. Many people run EndeavourOS to give old PCs life, including 10+ year old ones with BIOS.
GRUB simply handles most boot stuations well, so it is prefered on most distros and handling multiple bootloaders is hard for maintainets.
There’s patches for ext4 encryption.
And a common solution for any filesystem is just to make boot as a separated non-encrypted partition.
Quite sad that nearly all of the Web servers and other ones are running linux and at least I cannot find a proper one statistical data about which technology is more prone to breakeges, exploits, faster, etc. Not only in topic of a bootloaders but and the other ones.
So as I see now, GRUB is more popular because it’s was more popular before and so the cycle closes on itself. + Better support for encryption, architectures and legacy BIOS.