[coreboot] Exact status of gPXE support?

Peter Stuge peter at stuge.se
Thu Oct 2 14:26:31 CEST 2008

Mats Erik Andersson wrote:
> To what extent does gPXE presently interface "well" with Coreboot?

Very little. Without the work as outlined by Chris gPXE does not
function as a payload at all. Etherboot works just fine however.

> Is the position identical for coreboot-v2 and coreboot-v3?


> 1. Is there an available and ready interface in Coreboot
>    that allows the detection of an PXE-ROM image inside
>    an PCI ethernet card adapter?

If by PXE-ROM you mean option ROM then yes, coreboot scans for
option ROMs.

>    Can execution be transferred to a copy of that code segment?

No, if option ROMs are executed they are executed in emulated real
mode. Either in VM8086 mode, or using x86emu.

> 2. Is it known whether a "slimmed down" gPXE can be built and
>    incorporated into a Coreboot image under the lesser demand
>    that the purpose of the gPXE code is only that of getting
>    and running the executable "pxelinux.0", fetched from another
>    server, thus making the system autonomous?

This is not possible.

>    There could possibly exist some code segment in PXElinux that
>    depends on either 16-bit mode, or lagacy Bios calls, but I do
>    not a priori know that with any certainty!

Yes, PXE requires real mode and BIOS interrupt services.

But all network booting is not PXE. PXE is just a standard with a
limited subset of what Etherboot and gPXE can do. They can both
simply use DHCP+TFTP to boot a system, and that will work just fine
with coreboot.


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