My box just installed GRUB, is this normal?

I received one of the regular Status Checks Change Notice email and noticed the system had added the grub bootloader.

System – Added

grub-pc (2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1.12)
grub-pc-bin (2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1.12)
grub2-common (2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1.12)
grub-common (2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1.12)

I don’t know a great deal about GRUB but it seems strange to add a boot loader out of the blue. Particularly a beta release.

Is this normal and why do we need a pre-boot command line interface?

It was most likely an update to GRUB (GRUB is ubuntu’s default bootloader.)

It hasn’t actually installed the update. The email is telling you that an update is newly available. “Added” means it newly appears in the Status Checks in the admin site. I think the Status Checks in the admin site will tell you how to install the update.