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I'm writing this page in an attempt to collect some of the sparse and scattered information on gfxboot, especially with regards to Syslinux.


GFXBoot was constructed as a way to provide a consistent user experience across different boot loaders (grub, lilo and Syslinux, at the moment). For current versions of Syslinux (4.02, at the moment), gfxboot.c32 provides this facility.


It was first introduced to Syslinux as huge assembly patch. This patch was never supported by any means by the Syslinux project. The code was then separated out as a COMBOOT module (.com) which made maintaining it easier in the sense that you could update Syslinux separately from GFXBoot. It was then rewritten as a COM32 module and released with Syslinux-3.84 with being removed in 4.00.



My personal experiences/testing: At the moment, Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat 10.10 Alpha 3 is using Syslinux-4.01 with gfxboot.c32 successfully. I believe this module has been built from source by Ubuntu. Substituting in the official gfxboot.c32 from Syslinux-4.01 or 4.02 fails. Using their module, I can get their gfxboot archive to work successfully with all other binaries coming from the official package (NOTE: not normally a recommended solution). Using the module I can build from source also fails (I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 x64, ATM). I'm still trying to research what's different downstream in their build server. Correction: With all three of Colin Watson's pending patches, this is resolved.