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Re: Usage of isolinux on the beta CDs

Umm, seems like we go again for the same discusion, ok, I've been gathering
some old links to try to shorten this.

The isolinux / multiboot / boot floppy emulation (syslinux) decision was
already discussed for woody, at that time I was building unofficial images
for all woody's arches, and I also partitipated on this discusion, I dislike
isolinux because of the problems they give in old machines, but I also see
its good side letting us have bigger and different initrds and kernels.

At woody we felt like we should give different flavours of kernels and thus
we needed some kind of multiboot on our cds, then Raphael Hertzog asked us
to create cds of the two methods available to achieve this, this is his
mail: http://lists.debian.org/debian-cd/2002/debian-cd-200204/msg00060.html
So, both multiboot and isolinux images were created and made available for
testing, which Raphael asked for in this mail:
After testing isolinux images we found several problems, I descrived them on
this mail:
several other people also found problems and reported them, it seemed that
some old BIOS would have problems with isolinux boots, however in the thread
started by the message in the url I have just refered, you can read this in
one of the replies from H. Peter Anvin, the author of syslinux/isolinux:

It appears that really old BIOSes work like crap for anything but floppy
emulation; some contemporary BIOSes like crap for anything but no
emulation.  This seems to follow what the current Micro$oft OSes use,
i.e. again -- the BIOS vendors test "does it boot M$, ok then."

Well, if I were a BIOS maker I would try to follow microsoft new OS, but not
loose the compatibility with MS older OSes, or put it our way, I would be
giving support for isolinux, but not loosing support for the old el-torito
floppy emulation cds or even the multiboot el-torito floppy emulation cds.

Anyway, as we wanted several flavours on our first cd and multiboot floppy
emulated cds didn't have the posibility of a menu with a description in the
options, we went for the isolinux booting in the first cd, and as I didn't
much like the falures we were seing, I made some changes to isolinux so that
it would output a message saying that in case of failure the user should try
cds from 2-5 as these were the normal el-torito floppy emulated cds and thus
compatible with older bios, the message on which I explained all this was:

So... now we are getting our Sarge cds ready... great! and now I'm making
the official testing images... grea... ehem... well, the thing is that I'm
not the one taking the decision on what boot method we'll be using, so don't
come to me in the irc saying that I can do whatever I want with the cds, in
fact, every change in the cds that is not a trivial one or something like
that, should be discussed in the debian-cd and/or debian-boot lists, thanks!

That said and now that we have a view of the problem we can talk about the
changes for sarge...

We are not using the old 1.67 isolinux custom image I had made for woody,
Raphael has commited 1.75 version of isolinux to be used with sarge, but
isolinux is on version 2.04 now, and it has a debug version, so we could try
to make cds with this version to test them and see if we improve something
before taking a decision :-? I really believe nothing is going to change,
but who knows, also maybe H. Peter Anvin could be contacted just in case
there is some other method we are forgetting about :-???

> > it seems that we are locking out people from testing by using isolinux
> > on our netinst/businesscard CDs, see #220139 and #220139.
> > 
> > Since we do not need any of isolinux's features I propose to use
> > syslinux on the CDs.

We are using these features, current isolinux setup allows the user to
select to boot the "net" initrd or the "cdrom" initrd. I don't know if this
is wanted, this must be decided by the debian-installer guys, if we want to
offer just the posibility to boot the cdrom image we can just boot
cdrom.img, I have just tried it and it works, even though the setup for
syslinux should be changed a bit to include the help screens and all that,
this should be done in debian-installer, as it is d-i who makes that image.

> Maybe we could put isolinux on the *second* CD, with eventually an
> initrd that supports SCSI cdroms.

That sounds fine with me if it is ok to drop the net initrd from the booting
options of the cds.

Well, I don't know  what else to say, in the full cd set we really can have
different booting methods, one on each cd, the important thing is to decide
what do we put on the netinst/bussinesscard cds and also how do we order the
methods in the full cd set.

If something I said needs farther explanation (I know my english sucks) just
ask for it.

Manty/BestiaTester -> http://manty.net

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