Answer for:

What did I do wrong? (Linux)

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Did you by chance put something on the wrong partition? Do you have multiple partitions and/or multiple drives?

GRUB is essentially it's own boot sector and it's own OS, so if it is not loading first, then either it's in the wrong place (e.g. on the wrong partition) or the hardware boot order is wrong.

Some OS boot sequences really need the boot device to be SATA-0.