[syslinux] etherboot vs. pxelinux (was: Windows Remote Install)

Peter Lister P.Lister at sychron.com
Thu Jul 17 09:45:57 PDT 2003

That's a good summary, Josef

> So pxe and etherboot have some connections, if you talk about 
> pxelinux you should not use anything from etherboot, since this
> uses a quite different approach.

Well.. there is *some* overlap, and so it can be confusing to work out
the two systems actually do. Configuration achieves the same end, but in
a different way, so at the moment, one generally uses one OR the other,
not both.

> It's at first quite confusing to see 'etherboot supports pxe' while
> it only uses pxe as a piggyback to load itself, and then taking over
> full control over the network card.

Put another way, etherboot is currently loadable *via* PXE; recently
support has been added for the UNDI driver. Etherboot *may* soon turn
into a full replacement for PXE, so that e.g. pxelinux can run on top
of Etherboot.  It's not there yet, but all the hard stuff is done.

In general, any bootloader can load any other bootloader - it's common
for developers to use an existing version of a loader to test how a
newer version then loads the target OS.  Consider that one might also
fix buggy PXE and BIOS firmware by the vendor's PXE code loading
Etherboot, which could support a fixed open source PXE environment,
which can chain pxelinux, which uses MEMDISK to load Windows... you get
the idea.

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