[syslinux] MBR ## SYSLINUX ## Linux (before first partition)

H. Peter Anvin hpa at zytor.com
Wed Oct 27 20:35:08 PDT 2004

Larry Riedel wrote:
>>>                         I would like to boot Linux
>>>by having it at the beginning of the disk, right
>>>after the MBR and SYSLINUX, _before_ the first
>>>partition, and _not_ in a filesystem.
>>>Can I do this easily using SYSLINUX [...]
>>You'd have to massively hack it, so no [...]
>>You're not explaining why you want to do this [...]
> Other than simplicity/genericity, I guess the key
> thing is to not need to have any partition related
> requirements for the hard disk; it might not even have
> any partitions defined; maybe the entire first N sectors
> of the disk are just a generic blob comprising a canned
> MBR+SYSLINUX+Linux, and when the system boots up it lets
> the user partition the disk, or use NFS, etc.  I did not
> mean to suggest I have thought SYSLINUX /needs/ to be
> there, but I had thought it might be a good choice.

But that, itself, is a requirement; many partitioning schemes use 
additional sectors, and you can't use any of the disk that you're using 
without telling operating systems that you're doing so.

In other words, unless you have a very very good reason, you're probably 
shooting yourself in the foot.

(The easiest way to do it with syslinux is to create an MBR with 
synthesizes a partition table entry in memory for your "shadow partition".)


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