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Isolinux HowTo for Newbies

Isolinux HowTo for Newbies

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Published by: azertyui30008561 on Aug 25, 2010
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Isolinux HowTo for newbies - Part 1 UPDATED GENERAL: Isolinux is CD boot loader with a posibilities like: booting floppy

images (using MEMDISK), booting CD boot sectors, booting linux kernels and passing parameters to kernels/initrd if needed. Legend: blue text - predefined names or command names and cannot be changed by user red text - user defined names Isolinux files: isolinux.bin - boot loader for no-emulation boot memdisk - this file is used to load floppy and HDD images isolinux.cfg - configuration file *.txt / *.msg - text files with some commands. This files are used for making boot messages - splash screens *.lss - Isolinux graphic splash screen isolinux.bin This file is loader himself. If you are making bootable CD that uses Isolinux for booting, then point your CD-burning software to this file when it ask for boot sector. Memdisk This file is loader for floppy and HDD images. Memdisk is called by isolinux.bin according to options specified in isolinux.cfg. For a floppy image, the size of the image should be exactly one of the following: 1,228,800 bytes - For a 1200K floppy image 1,474,560 bytes - For a 1440K floppy image 2,949,120 bytes - For a 2880K floppy image Any other size is assumed to be a hard disk image. See isolinux.cfg for more details on using memdisk. isolinux.cfg This is configuration file for isolinux. It is a plain text file and can be edited in any text editor. Options in isolinux.cfg DON'T have a particular order. Isolinux.cfg can be in DOS or Linux text format. Items/commands in isolinux.cfg: # - comment, use this at the begining of line to insert comments DEFAULT {label name or kernel options} - specifies what will be booted after boot timeout or if user just hits ENTER without specifiing boot options. example: DEFAULT myDOS - this will work just like you have typed myDOS at boot prompt, that means - it will boot anything that is specified in label myDOS (see label item) DEFAULT kernel bootsec.bin - this will boot bootsec.bin (for example WindowsXP

example 7: LABEL something . In this example isolinux will search for myDisk. With this method you can load BCDW..installation CD boot sector) LABEL {label name} .etc -1 .gz init=linuxrc livecd_subdir=/ . example 4: LABEL hdd localboot 0x80 This means: if user types hdd at boot prompt then boot from first partition of first HDD. example 3: LABEL linux kernel vmlinuz append max_loop=255 initrd=initrd.img This is example how you can use folders.This is a section that explains boot options for {label name}..cfg (in most cases this is /Isolinux folder). BScriptor or CDShell from Isolinux ( see Links section ).cfg folder is /Isolinux then files will be searched in root folder of the CD.img should be in /Isolinux/myFolder.2nd partition of first HDD (D: in DOS) 0x00 . This one will search for vmlinuz in a parent folder of folder that contains isolinux.cfg. It will also search for initrd... If isolinux.img in subfolder of folder that contains isolinux.first partition of first HDD (C: in DOS) 0x81 . example 2: LABEL oldbootcd kernel bootsec.bin This means: if user types oldbootcd at boot prompt then load CD boot sector as kernel (this can be used if you integrate more bootable CDs to your multiboot CD or to load any other no-emulation boot sector).IMG (floppy image file). If isolinux.. Valid parameters for localboot are: 0x80 .IMG This means: if user types myDOS at boot prompt then use memdisk (as kernel) to load DOS.cfg is in folder /Isolinux.tell BIOS to boot from next device listed in BIOS example 5 : LABEL somethig kernel memdisk append myFolder/myDisk. example 6: LABEL something kernel /vmlinuz append max_loop=255 initrd=/initrd... then myDisk. This means: if user types linux at boot prompt then load linux kernel and pass parameters from append section to linux kernel (used for live linux CDs).gz).gz init=linuxrc livecd_subdir=/ .first floppy drive (A: in DOS) .gz in parent folder ( "/" before vmlinuz and before initrd. example 1: LABEL myDOS kernel memdisk append initrd=DOS.

but label names are case sensitive.bs . DISPLAY filename .cfg: # default to boot from hard drive default 0 # let the user know the basic options display WELCOME.bin .bss . F9 F0.c32 . now go to the subfolder livelin and find files there. This one will search for vmlinuz and initrd. then DEFAULT or ONTIMEOUT will be executed ( see ONTIMEOUT for details). ONTIMEOUT {label name or kernel options} .msg . TIMEOUT x . My advice: .. Extension of splash screen files can be ANY (.) except of: .txt . display the boot prompt only if the Shift or Alt key is pressed. If user don't type anything at boot prompt in time set by TIMEOUT. /boot.cbt . then DEFAULT is used just if user hits ENTER without options at boot prompt. Splash screen is text file that can contain some commands.bin will search for isolinux.cfg file in following folders on CD: / (root of CD). or Caps Lock or Scroll lock is set (this is the default).kernel /livelin/vmlinuz append max_loop=255 initrd=/livelin/initrd.xyz. If x is 1.gz in following way: go to the parent folder of folder containing isolinux. -isolinux.display text (same kind of text files as for DISPLAY) if user press F1. Kernel file and initrd file don't need to be in the same folder. Same for F2 F3 . /isolinux Example of isolinux.0 ...cfg (in most cases this if /Isolinux folder).set timeout in 1/10 sec.print the message on the screen PROMPT x ...use PROMPT 1.com .same as DEFAULT. SAY message . If ONTIMEOUT option is set. Notes: -command names are case insensitive.gz init=linuxrc livecd_subdir=/ .img F1 filename .If x is 0..TXT prompt 1 # various options are available for booting # hd label 0 localboot 0x80 # floppy label a localboot 0x00 . always display the boot prompt.display text (splash screen) specified with filename before boot prompt (at isolinux start).

They are the same kind of files.TXT F7 MPHELP.TXT F9 WELCOME.. As we saw in Part1. there is a default display message often called Welcome message. clear screen command..TXT F4 LINUX..# cancel and try next boot device label q localboot -1 # MY BOOT label mydos kernel memdisk append initrd=BOBBY71p. etc.Part2 ISOLINUX DISPLAY FILE FORMAT There are many names for Isolinux display file. Isolinux can display messages in two different modes: graphic and text mode. There is no structure differences between this messages...TXT Isolinux HowTo for newbies ..IMG # part image label 11 kernel partimg/vmlinuz append initrd=partimg/initrd.TXT F6 TRBLST.. and messages linked to Function keys ( F1.txt F3 UTIL. F2.TXT F8 PARTIMG. Isolinux display messages can contain plain text and some commands that are used for text color attributes (foreground and background). . splash screen. so don't get confused about this.IMG # MY BOOT2 label mydos2 kernel memdisk append initrd=BOBBY71s.).TXT F5 MX2HELP.img load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 rw root=/dev/ram # movix vesa label VE kernel kernel/vmlinuz append initrd=initrd. like : splash message.TXT F0 WELCOME.gz load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 ramdisk_size=62000 rw root=/dev/ram0 LABEL=vesa video=vesa:off timeout 200 F1 DOS.TXT F2 MOVIX2.

I encourage you to download IsoLinux Mate (still Beta but usefull) for easy inserting ASCII codes. ppmtolss16 Perl script included in Syslinux package allows you to specify that certain colors should be assigned to specific color indicies. The image is displayed in 640x480 16-color mode.text color attributes.com for details on this character set. For a long time I have used copy&paste from other peoples display messages. ASCII code for this command is 12. Syntax: command background foreground. <0F> = <Ctrl-O> = ASCII 15 . Commands are normal ASCII characters and they can be inserted in many ways. Isolinux can also display messages with custom font. Values for color codes: 0 = black 1 = dark blue 2 = dark green 3 = dark cyan 4 = dark red 5 = dark purple 6 = brown 7 = light grey 8 = dark grey 9 = bright blue a = bright green b = bright cyan c = bright red d = bright purple e = yellow f = white Picking a bright color (8-f) for the background results in the corresponding dark color . should be chosen with care: 0 is the background color. TEXT MODE There are no special instructions about writing text. <0D> = <Ctrl-L> = ASCII 12 . in some text editors can be inserted with Ctrl+L. I'll give you just few instructions how to use commands in display messages.look at www. In graphic mode. Isolinux can display images in LSS16 format (used just by Isolinux and other programs from this family). Once in graphics mode.Clear Screen command. Advice: insert it at the begining of every display message. This command takes two parameters: background and foreground text colors. Isolinux can display only text messages that contains just ASCII codes (extended ASCII table with 255 characters) . in particular. Commands: explanation: <0D> = <Ctrl-L> = ASCII 12 means: command hex code is 0D. the text color attributes work slightly differently: the background color is ignored. For that reason. and 7 is the color used for the text printed by isolinux itself. and the foreground colors are the 16 colors specified in the image file.In text mode. Don't need parameters. but this isn't so easy with normal text editors for Windows. Color indicies 0 and 7. but this won't be disscused in this document. To use ppmtolss16 Perl script in Windows you need to have Perl interpreter installed (for example Active Perl). Other solution is to use PPMtoLSS from this site (compiled Perl script for Windows with simple GUI).asciitable.

use spaces instead. This command enters graphic mode and loads image in LSS format. Isolinux don't interpret Tab like text editors. Code for newline is ASCII 10. GRAPHIC MODE <18> = <Ctrl-X> = ASCII 24 . . Use this at the begining of message if message is in text mode and one of other messages that you use is in graphic mode. For other commands use Insert ASCII in ILM. use this this at the begining of other messages to turn off graphic mode so you can use text attributes in ordinary way. <19> = <Ctrl-Y> = ASCII 25 .enter graphic mode and display graphic image. OTHER ATTENTION: DON'T USE TABS IN DISPLAY MESSAGES. Insert command parameters as normal text after command.back to text mode if you are in graphic mode. If your Welcome message uses graphic mode. and ASCII code for "f" is 66 in hex. In IsoLinux Mate (ILM) you can insert text attributes (color info commands) and Clear Screen very easy.(0-7). with the foreground flashing (flashing is not implemented in ILM). ASCII code for "1" is 31 in hex. example in hex: 0f 31 66 will set dark blue background and white foreground. Syntax: command filename newline.

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