[syslinux] Strange behavior

Andrew Stuart andrew at shopcusa.com
Thu Nov 17 16:23:33 PST 2011

On 11/16/2011 10:50 AM, Roy Marantz wrote:
> I'm using syslinux 4.04 with dynamically generated menus configuration based
> on info found in various web pages.  I'm doing my testing using a vCetner
> 4.10 Vmware virtual machine.  This works some of the time, but not always.
> I just copied the prebuilt modules from the syslinux 4.04 distribution for
> gpxelinx.0, menu.c32, reboot.c32, and pxelinux.0
> When I boot a machine dhcpd says to boot gpxelinux.0 with
> pxelinux.pathprefix "" and
> pxelinux.configfile "menu.pl" so that menu.pl generates the real
> configuration information for the chain loaded pxelinux.0.
> I see the startup messages from gpxelinux.0 and pxelinux 4.04, a message
> saying that menu.pl was loaded OK, and the output of  a SAY statement in the
> generated configuration.
> In the generated configuration is a UI menu.c32 line and a few LABEL
> stanzas.
> I'm watching the logs from my apache server and see that sometimes it get
> requests for loading /tftpboot/gpxe/menu.c32.0, /tftpboot/gpxe/menu.c32.com,
> /tftpboot/gpxe/menu.c32.cbt, or /tftpboot/gpxe/menu.c32.c32 before aborting
> and saying:
> Could not find kernel image: menu.c32
> I can work around that by creating /tftpboot/gpxe/menu.c32.c32 or putting
> "UI menu" in the configuration file, but it still tries to load all the
> other files first.

FWIW, I've had this issue on syslinux 3.86+ (untested with previous 
versions), with ESXi 3, 4 and Workstation 6, and 7, using all available 
nic options for the vm configuration. I've even had this issue with just 
dhcp (isc-dhcp v3x) -> pxelinux.0 -> menu.c32 (config DEFAULT menu.c32, 
haven't switched to UI yet.) using hpa's tftpd, latest version at the time.

However, it happens infrequently and I don't netboot vm's enough to have 
justified a complaint. I reboot, usually only once, and everything is 
well. In the case of it breaking, I have the exact same issue, it skips 
looking for menu.c32.

Server is FreeBSD 8, apache 22, connected via a dlink 8 port gigE 
switch, directly connected to ESXi box and Win7 x64 workstation hosting
Workstation 7x. I've ran various network utilities, and see no packet 
loss, Have not had the time (it's not high enough priority) to try a 
packet capture to figure out what's going on.

.. Just adding my 'Me Too..'


> What might cause menu.c32.{0,com,cbt,c32} to be requested?
> It seems to take a "long" time (say 30 seconds) between the time the SAY
> messages shows up and the menu is displayed?  Why?  That seems to be when it
> is trying to load all the difference menu.c32 files.
> BTW, I have a LABEL setup to use reboot.c32 and while that causes the boot
> process to restart, it only tries to load menu.0 and menu.com.  I'll worry
> about this later thought.
> Thanks for any help or ideas.
> Roy
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Andrew Stuart
1520C Kirker Pass Rd.
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 672-9989
(925) 672-8796

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