[syslinux] Heads up on syslinux breakage in Ubuntu

Ady ady-sf at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 7 23:43:25 PST 2015

> 2015-11-07 23:00 UTC+01:00, Tim Fletcher via Syslinux <syslinux at zytor.com>:
> > On 07/11/15 19:38, Ady via Syslinux wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>> Just a heads up that syslinux is broken in the current Ubuntu, syslinux
> >>> just shows "Boot error". Downgrading to syslinux from 15.04 works
> >>> perfectly.
> >>>
> >>> Ubuntu bug is here:
> >>> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/usb-creator/+bug/1499746
> >>>
> >>> This is mostly in case anyone shows up on the mailing list with a
> >>> mystery broken syslinux from latest Ubuntu.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >> Just a hunch: this might be related to gcc5+.
> >
> > That was my hunch too, having been bitten with gcc5 and arm kernels
> > during the same time.
> >
> >
> >
> As I expected, this bug shows up more and more. There is a fix available.
> http://www.syslinux.org/archives/2015-September/024318.html
> http://www.syslinux.org/archives/2015-September/024319.html
> Unfortunately it hasn't been merged upstream yet. I hope it will be
> soon. I also hope it will be part of the (soon to come) release of
> 6.04. But AFAIK, it's up to Gene.
> However, regarding this bug report for Ubuntu, yes, since it worked
> with ubuntu 15.04 but not with ubuntu 15.10, it might be the gcc5 bug.
> However, this would require a confirmation, like recompiling it with
> the above patches and trying again.
> @Gene: Could you please merge the gcc5 fix soon? We will fix the
> linker scripts later.
> Celelibi
With all due respect, considering the main topic of this email thread, 
these matters are mostly BS (and by "BS" I do not mean "boot sector").

I certainly share the wish to see code improvements, and with a faster 
pace than for the last year (or, more than a year in fact).

But regarding a release, let's not fool ourselves. For some reason, the 
desire of seeing code development at a faster pace gets mixed-up with 
"let's have a release". I would agree, if it wasn't for a little 
"fact": every time (at least during the last 3 years) there is some 
mention (or unconfirmed rumor) of a release "coming soon", the pace of 
development stalls (even more than usual).

Under these circumstances, for some reason potential contributions are 
sent even less than usual, and pending patches are evaluated / merged 
even less frequently. Apparently, developers tend to think "let's see 
what happens after the release".

There has been no plan nor ETA for a release. For those that might have 
read some sort of mention of such matters in irc at some point... the 
last activity in the official git repositories was about 3 weeks ago, 
and there has been no _effective_ advancement / reviewing of pending 
patches, nor new proposals. So, could we please focus on actual 

As for the patches related to gcc5+, there might be reasons not to see 
them in the official upstream Syslinux code yet. I hope that the desire 
to see some new (pre)release is not the only one.

Now, regarding the main point of this email thread, the 
Syslinux-related packages in Ubuntu 15.10. This is not the first time 
that we see package maintainers not really following upstream 
development, or, I should say, contacting upstream in any relevant way.

The inclusion of relevant Syslinux patches in several distros 
(including Ubuntu) in the past was not always "dependent" on a patch 
being already included in the official upstream code. I wish this had 
not been needed, that the pace of development would had been enough; 
but it wasn't.

I do not know the reasons not to test even the minimal functionality of 
a package. At least for Ubuntu 15.10, packages such as Ubuntu Startup 
Disk Creator, and other packages related to Syslinux, had several 
months to be tested, but apparently they weren't. Unfortunately, this 
is not exclusive to Ubuntu 15.10.

The most important corollary, IMO, is that Syslinux needs more 
resources and that one of those is package maintainers being in contact 
with the upstream project, providing feedback, testing, contributing... 
Such communication has been close to non-existent.

Unfortunately, most of this email's content is wishful thinking.

For users of Ubuntu 15.10, I would suggest asking the package 
maintainers for a package update or for alternative suggestions.


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