[syslinux] Trying to build bootable iso but very confused by syslinux documentation

Thomas Schmitt scdbackup at gmx.net
Tue May 10 01:55:37 PDT 2016


> I only have the vaguest
> understand of what the flags in the man page of xorrisofs and xorriso are.

The options reflect a long tradition of program mkisofs and the
winded road of boot firmware entry points in ISO 9660 filesystems.
So one cannot expect to find much of a common system in them.

> there doesn't seem to
> exist a hello word like exercise that is simple and predictable.

OSDev.org tries to provide such examples. Begin to read here:


for booting from optical media and then go on to


for learning about enhancing the ISO for USB stick or hard disk.

Be aware that booting via EFI firmware from optical media cannot yet
be done by SYSLINUX. You need other bootloaders or boot strategies
for that. They can be combined with ISOLINUX in the same ISO image.

Examples are netinst ISOs of Debian (not their LiveCDs), or ISOs
of Archlinux, Gentoo, Fedora, or openSuSE.
xorriso-1.4.2 will show you their equipment by

  xorriso -indev debian-8.4.0-amd64-netinst.iso \
          -report_el_torito plain -report_system_area plain

It will make proposals of boot related xorrisofs options to reproduce
the shown equipment by

  xorriso -indev debian-8.4.0-amd64-netinst.iso \
          -report_el_torito as_mkisofs

> I would
> need to get an Electrical Engineer to translate the parts I don't
> understand.

The EE would be Joerg Schilling, developer of mkisofs. I studied math. :))

Do not hesitate to ask.

As long as it is about booting ISOLINUX it will be on-topic and
hopefully of interest here.
If it is about pure xorriso aspects, ask at  gnu-xorriso at gnu.org .
(This list is tightly moderated. Be patient until your mail shows up.
 As soon as i read it, i will make it public.)
If privacy is needed, write to scdbackup at gmx.net .

Have a nice day :)


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