[syslinux] Using extlinux

Cullimore, Shaun (ACHE) Shaun.Cullimore at smiths-aerospace.com
Wed Jan 19 08:04:21 PST 2005

I am trying to boot Linux from a USB memory device containing an ext2
file system using extlinux and having a bit of trouble. Apologies for
any naiive questions and assumptions. The USB device is an 8M byte
Compact Flash card in a USB reader.

I used fdisk to create a single partition across the whole of the device
(partition 4 - is that important?) and made it bootable. Fdsik reported
the partition table as:

Disk /dev/sdc: 8 MB, 8224768 bytes
1 heads, 16 sectors/track, 1004 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16 * 512 = 8192 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc4   *           2        1004        8024   83  Linux

I created an ext2 file system:

mke2fs -m0 -v /dev/sdc4

I mounted the device:

mount -t ext2 /dev/sdc4 mnt

I ran extlinux on the mounted device:

extlinux mnt

I copied the master boot record from syslinux:

cat mbr.bin > /dev/sdc (should this be done mounted or unmounted, to
/dev/sdc or /dev/sdc4?)

I copied a Linux kernel to the device, assuming that "linux", as the
default name, would be good without a config file:

cp linux mnt

I unmounted the device, put it into another computer with the BIOS set
to boot from a USB device and got the following messages:

"Attempting boot from USB device
EXTLINUX 3.02 2005-01-04 Copyright (c) 1994-2005 H. Peter Anvin"

I had no configuration file and no initial RAM disk image on the USB
device so the most I was hoping for was a kernel panic because the init
RAM dsik was absent but I don't think it has got that far. I think the
message shows that the BIOS is happy to boot off the device but the
kernel is not found.

I have tried it with an initial RAM disk image and a config file but
with the same result.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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