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Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 12:47:08 +0400
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: owl-dev@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: syslinux

Michael,

Thank you for your comments!

Would you possibly provide a patch to our syslinux.spec implementing
your suggested changes?

On Wed, Nov 02, 2011 at 12:19:13AM +0400, Michael Tokarev wrote:
> The extlinux package isn't needed anymore in 4.x versions of
> syslinux.

Why didn't HPA update the included spec file accordingly, then?
(OK, maybe this question shouldn't be addressed to you.)

> But syslinux installer is a bit problematic: under linux
> it uses mtools package to deal with fat-based filesystems,
> so to be fair, it depends on mtools (or else needs to be
> slightly patched to produce a nice error message in case
> mtools is not installed).

I am confused.  If we merely want to let our users (Owl admins) use
syslinux as an alternative to LILO, on ext4 filesystems, then should we
care about mtools (which we currently don't package)?  I think not.

Or is it weird/wrong to package syslinux specifically, yet not care
about FAT?

> But the thing is: at this stage, it isn't really
> interesting to support iso9669 at all.  hybrid boot
> images is what should be used - just IMHO.  There,
> any filesystem may be used, without restrictions
> on filenames and symlinks, and you get usb booting
> for free too.  That's probably the main reason this
> restriction does not pop up around syslinux - neither
> in the mailinglist nor in wiki nor in irc.
> 
> Hybrid images may not work on some old hardware, but
> I'm not sure it is worth the effort to support or
> even use such a hardware - it is energy-inefficient
> compared with current systems.  But may be working
> just fine anyway... :)

I am totally unfamiliar with hybrid images and what kind of machines do
and don't support them.

It'd be nice to support CD/DVD and USB flash sticks at once, but I
notice that major distros still provide ISOs separately - perhaps for
good reasons.

> One more note: if you want to experiment chainloading
> syslinux from windows bootloader, a small patch for
> extlinux (if that's the installer of choice) needed
> to record default boot partition properly in ldlinux.sys
> proper, or else it wont find itself from bootsec.dos
> file loaded by ntldr.

Sounds like a patch you'd want to submit upstream, if it's yours and not
yet submitted.

Thanks again,

Alexander

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