[Linux-PowerEdge] R410, R320: unable to install via syslinux+PXE+UEFI

Spike_White at Dell.com Spike_White at Dell.com
Tue May 12 12:36:47 CDT 2015


It's been a while - but I was able to UEFI boot a R620 or M620 to run Fedora 20.  I used syslinux 6.03 to do UEFI PXE boot of Fedora 20.  Here's a presentation I did last year on this.


Here's the interesting sections of my pxelinux.cfg/default file:

LABEL Fedora 20
   MENU LABEL ^fedora 20
   KERNEL boot/fedora/vmlinuz
   APPEND initrd=/boot/fedora/initrd.img ramdisk_size=10000 ks=

And here's other changes for UEFI boot:

*        ks.cfg file

bootloader --location=partition --driveorder=sda

if setting up partitioning in ks.cfg, prepend:
part /boot/efi --fstype vfat --size=300 -asprimary

*        vmlinuz,  initrd.img - no change.


1.      I see that RHEL7 is based on Fedora 19, I don't remember if that's a recent enough kernel to have the good "UEFI helper".

There's a problem with UEFI booting older Linux kernels.  Grub2 can do it, syslinux cannot.  Grub2 implements the entire UEFI helper itself.  Syslinux relies on the kernel's embedded UEFI helper to boot.  As a consequence, grub2 can boot older Linux kernels that syslinux cannot.

For instance, I know the RHEL6.x kernels are too old for syslinux to UEFI boot.  I know Fedora 20 is recent enough.

H Peter Anwin has a long detailed explanation in the syslinux mailing list archives about UEFI helpers; it's a better explanation than my terse explanation above.

2.      Don't waste time w/ a R*10, the UEFI PXE boot code is buggy!  It misinterprets the NBP filename (DHCP option 67).  That's an old Intel bug; they fixed it years ago in their BIOS PXE implementation.  I'm guessing it was resurrected in their UEFI PXE implementation.

Most all NIC vendors (Intel, Broadcom, etc) use the Intel reference implementation for PXE.

Use 12th gen or 13th gen Dell servers only.  Alternatively, you can code around that DHCP option 67 bug, but it's a pain to maintain in a heterogenous env.



Message: 1
Date: Mon, 11 May 2015 18:24:06 +0200
From: Marco Bozzolan
Subject: [Linux-PowerEdge] R410, R320: unable to install via
To: linux-poweredge at lists.us.dell.com
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed


I am writing to let you know of a possible issue found while using syslinux 6.03 to install a PE R410 and R320 with PXE and UEFI:


Are you aware of any particular issue with PXE and the Broadcom BCM5716C/BCM5720?


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