path: root/man/syslinux.1
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authorH. Peter Anvin <hpa@zytor.com>2007-12-18 15:55:10 -0800
committerH. Peter Anvin <hpa@zytor.com>2007-12-18 15:56:50 -0800
commit8fd5e917a23b6ba2d1bf9128be3524ca8cf8ab34 (patch)
treed5046a4ccb5a2637b65a4b3e1ebaaf68bd31999d /man/syslinux.1
parent47b318940041cb713958d469a88b1859e14808b0 (diff)
Move doc files to doc/, and add man pages from Debiansyslinux-3.55-pre2
Move all the text documentation to the doc/ directory, add man pages from the Debian syslinux package, and rename sys2ansi.pl to syslinux2ansi.pl.
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+.TH SYSLINUX 1 "18 December 2007" "SYSLINUX"
+syslinux \- install the \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 bootloader on a FAT filesystem
+.B syslinux
+[\fB\-d\fP \fIdirectory\fP]
+[\fB\-o\fP \fIoffset\fP]
+.I device
+\fBSyslinux\fP is a boot loader for the Linux operating system which
+operates off an MS-DOS/Windows FAT filesystem. It is intended to
+simplify first-time installation of Linux, and for creation of rescue
+and other special-purpose boot disks.
+In order to create a bootable Linux floppy using \fBSyslinux\fP, prepare a
+normal MS-DOS formatted floppy. Copy one or more Linux kernel files to
+it, then execute the command:
+.B syslinux /dev/fd0
+This will alter the boot sector on the disk and copy a file named
+LDLINUX.SYS into its root directory.
+On boot time, by default, the kernel will be loaded from the image named
+LINUX on the boot floppy. This default can be changed, see the section
+on the \fBsyslinux\fP configuration file.
+If the Shift or Alt keys are held down during boot, or the Caps or Scroll
+locks are set, \fBsyslinux\fP will display a
+.BR lilo (8)
+-style "boot:" prompt. The user can then type a kernel file name followed by
+any kernel parameters. The \fBsyslinux\fP loader does not need to know about the
+kernel file in advance; all that is required is that it is a file located in
+the root directory on the disk.
+\fBSyslinux\fP supports the loading of initial ramdisks (initrd) and the
+bzImage kernel format.
+.B \-s
+Install a "safe, slow and stupid" version of \fBsyslinux\fP. This version may
+work on some very buggy BIOSes on which \fBsyslinux\fP would otherwise fail.
+If you find a machine on which the \-s option is required to make it boot
+reliably, please send as much info about your machine as you can, and include
+the failure mode.
+.B \-f
+Force install even if it appears unsafe.
+.B \-r
+RAID mode. If boot fails, tell the BIOS to boot the next device in
+the boot sequence (usually the next hard disk) instead of stopping
+with an error message. This is useful for RAID-1 booting.
+\fB\-d\fP \fIsubdirectory\fP
+Install the \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 control files in a subdirectory with the
+specified name (relative to the root directory on the device).
+\fB\-o\fP \fIoffset\fP
+Indicates that the filesystem is at an offset from the base of the
+device or file.
+.SS "Configuration file"
+All the configurable defaults in \fBsyslinux\fP can be changed by putting a
+file called
+.B syslinux.cfg
+in the root directory of the boot floppy. This
+is a text file in either UNIX or DOS format, containing one or more of
+the following items (case is insensitive for keywords).
+In the configuration file blank lines and comment lines beginning
+with a hash mark (#) are ignored.
+\fBdefault\fP \fIkernel\fP [ \fIoptions ...\fP ]
+Sets the default command line. If \fBsyslinux\fP boots automatically, it will act
+just as if the entries after "default" had been typed in at the "boot:" prompt.
+If no configuration file is present, or no "default" entry is present in the
+configuration file, the default is "linux auto".
+NOTE: Earlier versions of \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 used to automatically
+append the string "auto" to whatever the user specified using
+the DEFAULT command. As of version 1.54, this is no longer
+true, as it caused problems when using a shell as a substitute
+for "init." You may want to include this option manually.
+.BI append " options ..."
+Add one or more \fIoptions\fP to the kernel command line. These are added both
+for automatic and manual boots. The options are added at the very beginning of
+the kernel command line, usually permitting explicitly entered kernel options
+to override them. This is the equivalent of the
+.BR lilo (8)
+ "append" option.
+.BI label\ label
+.RS 2
+.BI kernel\ image
+.BI append\ options\ ...
+Indicates that if \fIlabel\fP is entered as the kernel to boot, \fBsyslinux\fP should
+instead boot \fIimage\fP, and the specified "append" options should be used
+instead of the ones specified in the global section of the file (before the
+first "label" command.) The default for \fIimage\fP is the same as \fIlabel\fP,
+and if no "append" is given the default is to use the global entry (if any).
+Use "append -" to use no options at all. Up to 128 "label" entries are
+.B Notes:
+Labels are mangled as if they were DOS filenames, and must be unique after
+mangling. For example, two labels "v2.1.30" and "v2.1.31" will not be
+The "image" doesn't have to be a Linux kernel; it can be a boot sector or a
+COMBOOT file (see below.)
+.BI implicit\ flag_val
+If \fIflag_val\fP is 0, do not load a kernel image unless it has been
+explicitly named in a "label" statement. The default is 1.
+.BI timeout\ timeout
+Indicates how long to wait at the "boot:" prompt until booting automatically, in
+units of 1/10 s. The timeout is cancelled as soon as the user types anything
+on the keyboard, the assumption being that the user will complete the command
+line already begun. A timeout of zero will disable the timeout completely,
+this is also the default. The maximum possible timeout value is 35996;
+corresponding to just below one hour.
+\fBserial\fP \fIport\fP [ \fIbaudrate\fP ]
+Enables a serial port to act as the console. "port" is a number (0 = /dev/ttyS0
+= COM1, etc.); if "baudrate" is omitted, the baud rate defaults to 9600 bps.
+The serial parameters are hardcoded to be 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.
+For this directive to be guaranteed to work properly, it
+should be the first directive in the configuration file.
+.BI font\ filename
+Load a font in .psf format before displaying any output (except the copyright
+line, which is output as ldlinux.sys itself is loaded.) \fBsyslinux\fP only loads
+the font onto the video card; if the .psf file contains a Unicode table it is
+ignored. This only works on EGA and VGA cards; hopefully it should do nothing
+on others.
+.BI kbdmap\ keymap
+Install a simple keyboard map. The keyboard remapper used is \fIvery\fP
+simplistic (it simply remaps the keycodes received from the BIOS, which means
+that only the key combinations relevant in the default layout \- usually U.S.
+English \- can be mapped) but should at least help people with AZERTY keyboard
+layout and the locations of = and , (two special characters used heavily on the
+Linux kernel command line.)
+The included program
+.BR keytab-lilo.pl (8)
+from the
+.BR lilo (8)
+ distribution can be used to create such keymaps.
+.BI display\ filename
+Displays the indicated file on the screen at boot time (before the boot:
+prompt, if displayed). Please see the section below on DISPLAY files. If the
+file is missing, this option is simply ignored.
+.BI prompt\ flag_val
+If \fIflag_val\fP is 0, display the "boot:" prompt only if the Shift or Alt key
+is pressed, or Caps Lock or Scroll lock is set (this is the default). If
+\fIflag_val\fP is 1, always display the "boot:" prompt.
+.BI f1\ filename
+.BI f2\ filename
+.I ...
+.BI f9\ filename
+.BI f10\ filename
+.BI f11\ filename
+.BI f12\ filename
+Displays the indicated file on the screen when a function key is pressed at the
+"boot:" prompt. This can be used to implement pre-boot online help (presumably
+for the kernel command line options.)
+When using the serial console, press \fI<Ctrl-F><digit>\fP to get to
+the help screens, e.g. \fI<Ctrl-F>2\fP to get to the f2 screen. For
+f10-f12, hit \fI<Ctrl-F>A\fP, \fI<Ctrl-F>B\fP, \fI<Ctrl-F>C\fP. For
+compatiblity with earlier versions, f10 can also be entered as
+.SS "Display file format"
+DISPLAY and function-key help files are text files in either DOS or UNIX
+format (with or without \fI<CR>\fP). In addition, the following special codes
+are interpreted:
+\fI<FF>\fP = \fI<Ctrl-L>\fP = ASCII 12
+Clear the screen, home the cursor. Note that the screen is
+filled with the current display color.
+\fI<SI><bg><fg>\fP, \fI<SI>\fP = \fI<Ctrl-O>\fP = ASCII 15
+Set the display colors to the specified background and foreground colors, where
+\fI<bg>\fP and \fI<fg>\fP are hex digits, corresponding to the standard PC
+display attributes:
+.ta \w'5 = dark purple 'u
+0 = black 8 = dark grey
+1 = dark blue 9 = bright blue
+2 = dark green a = bright green
+3 = dark cyan b = bright cyan
+4 = dark red c = bright red
+5 = dark purple d = bright purple
+6 = brown e = yellow
+7 = light grey f = white
+Picking a bright color (8-f) for the background results in the
+corresponding dark color (0-7), with the foreground flashing.
+colors are not visible over the serial console.
+\fI<CAN>\fPfilename\fI<newline>\fP, \fI<CAN>\fP = \fI<Ctrl-X>\fP = ASCII 24
+If a VGA display is present, enter graphics mode and display
+the graphic included in the specified file. The file format
+is an ad hoc format called LSS16; the included Perl program
+"ppmtolss16" can be used to produce these images. This Perl
+program also includes the file format specification.
+The image is displayed in 640x480 16-color mode. Once in
+graphics mode, the display attributes (set by \fI<SI>\fP code
+sequences) work slightly differently: the background color is
+ignored, and the foreground colors are the 16 colors specified
+in the image file. For that reason, ppmtolss16 allows you to
+specify that certain colors should be assigned to specific
+color indicies.
+Color indicies 0 and 7, in particular, should be chosen with
+care: 0 is the background color, and 7 is the color used for
+the text printed by \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 itself.
+\fI<EM>\fP, \fI<EM>\fP = \fI<Ctrl-U>\fP = ASCII 25
+If we are currently in graphics mode, return to text mode.
+\fI<DLE>\fP..\fI<ETB>\fB, \fI<Ctrl-P>\fP..\fI<Ctrl-W>\fP = ASCII 16-23
+These codes can be used to select which modes to print a
+certain part of the message file in. Each of these control
+characters select a specific set of modes (text screen,
+graphics screen, serial port) for which the output is actually
+Character Text Graph Serial
+<DLE> = <Ctrl-P> = ASCII 16 No No No
+<DC1> = <Ctrl-Q> = ASCII 17 Yes No No
+<DC2> = <Ctrl-R> = ASCII 18 No Yes No
+<DC3> = <Ctrl-S> = ASCII 19 Yes Yes No
+<DC4> = <Ctrl-T> = ASCII 20 No No Yes
+<NAK> = <Ctrl-U> = ASCII 21 Yes No Yes
+<SYN> = <Ctrl-V> = ASCII 22 No Yes Yes
+<ETB> = <Ctrl-W> = ASCII 23 Yes Yes Yes
+For example:
+<DC1>Text mode<DC2>Graphics mode<DC4>Serial port<ETB>
+ ... will actually print out which mode the console is in!
+\fI<SUB>\fP = \fI<Ctrl-Z>\fP = ASCII 26
+End of file (DOS convention).
+.SS Comboot Images and other operating systems
+This version of \fBsyslinux\fP supports chain loading of other operating
+systems (such as MS-DOS and its derivatives, including Windows 95/98),
+as well as COMBOOT-style standalone executables (a subset of DOS .COM
+files; see separate section below.)
+Chain loading requires the boot sector of the foreign operating system
+to be stored in a file in the root directory of the filesystem.
+Because neither Linux kernels, boot sector images, nor COMBOOT files
+have reliable magic numbers, \fBsyslinux\fP will look at the file
+extension. The following extensions are recognised:
+.ta \w'none or other 'u
+none or other Linux kernel image
+CBT COMBOOT image (not runnable from DOS)
+BSS Boot sector (DOS superblock will be patched in)
+BS Boot sector
+COM COMBOOT image (runnable from DOS)
+For filenames given on the command line, \fBsyslinux\fP will search for the
+file by adding extensions in the order listed above if the plain
+filename is not found. Filenames in KERNEL statements must be fully
+A COMBOOT file is a standalone executable in DOS .COM format. They
+can, among other things, be produced by the Etherboot package by
+Markus Gutschke and Ken Yap. The following requirements apply for
+these files to be sufficiently "standalone" for \fBsyslinux\fP to be able to
+load and run them:
+.IP \(bu
+The program must not execute any DOS calls (since there is no
+DOS), although it may call the BIOS. The only exception is that
+the program may execute INT 20h (Terminate Program) to return to
+the \fBsyslinux\fP prompt. Note especially that INT 21h AH=4Ch, INT 21h
+AH=31h or INT 27h are not supported.
+.IP \(bu
+Only the fields pspInt20 at offset 00h, pspNextParagraph at offset 02h and
+pspCommandTail at offset 80h (contains the arguments from the \fBsyslinux\fP command
+line) in the PSP are supported. All other fields will contain zero.
+.IP \(bu
+The program must not modify any main memory outside its 64K segment if it
+returns to \fBsyslinux\fP via INT 20h.
+\fBSyslinux\fP currently doesn't provide any form of API for the use of
+COMBOOT files. If there is need, a future version may contain an INT
+interface to some \fBsyslinux\fP functions; please contact me if you have a
+need or ideas for such an API.
+.SS Novice protection
+\fBSyslinux\fP will attempt to detect if the user is trying to boot on a 286
+or lower class machine, or a machine with less than 608K of low ("DOS")
+RAM (which means the Linux boot sequence cannot complete). If so, a
+message is displayed and the boot sequence aborted. Holding down the
+Ctrl key while booting disables this feature.
+The compile time and date of a specific \fBsyslinux\fP version can be obtained
+by the DOS command "type ldlinux.sys". This is also used as the
+signature for the LDLINUX.SYS file, which must match the boot sector
+Any file that \fBsyslinux\fP uses can be marked hidden, system or readonly if
+so is convenient; \fBsyslinux\fP ignores all file attributes. The \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1
+installed automatically sets the readonly attribute on LDLINUX.SYS.
+.SS Bootable CD-ROMs
+\s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 can be used to create bootdisk images for El
+Torito-compatible bootable CD-ROMs. However, it appears that many
+BIOSes are very buggy when it comes to booting CD-ROMs. Some users
+have reported that the following steps are helpful in making a CD-ROM
+that is bootable on the largest possible number of machines:
+.IP \(bu
+Use the -s (safe, slow and stupid) option to \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1
+.IP \(bu
+Put the boot image as close to the beginning of the
+ISO 9660 filesystem as possible.
+A CD-ROM is so much faster than a floppy that the -s option shouldn't
+matter from a speed perspective.
+Of course, you probably want to use ISOLINUX instead. See the
+documentation file
+.BR isolinux.doc .
+.SS Booting from a FAT partition on a hard disk
+\s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 can boot from a FAT filesystem partition on a hard
+disk (including FAT32). The installation procedure is identical to the
+procedure for installing it on a floppy, and should work under either
+DOS or Linux. To boot from a partition, \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 needs to be
+launched from a Master Boot Record or another boot loader, just like
+DOS itself would. A sample master boot sector (\fBmbr.bin\fP) is
+included with \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1.
+I would appreciate hearing of any problems you have with \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1. I
+would also like to hear from you if you have successfully used \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1,
+especially if you are using it for a distribution.
+If you are reporting problems, please include all possible information
+about your system and your BIOS; the vast majority of all problems
+reported turn out to be BIOS or hardware bugs, and I need as much
+information as possible in order to diagnose the problems.
+There is a mailing list for discussion among \s-1SYSLINUX\s+1 users and for
+announcements of new and test versions. To join, send a message to
+majordomo@linux.kernel.org with the line:
+.B subscribe syslinux
+in the body of the message. The submission address is syslinux@linux.kernel.org.
+.BR lilo (8),
+.BR keytab-lilo.pl (8),
+.BR fdisk (8),
+.BR mkfs (8),
+.BR superformat (1).
+This manual page is a modified version of the original \fBsyslinux\fP
+documentation by H. Peter Anvin <hpa@zytor.com>. The conversion to a manpage
+was made by Arthur Korn <arthur@korn.ch>.