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I have an existing PXE syslinux environment and I'd like to set up a similar EFI-based netboot environment.

I'm a big fan of the various menus as seen in the screenshot below and I'd like to find something equivalent.

Ideal features would be:

  • Menus
  • Sub-menus
  • Linux kernel/initrd TFTP load (naturally)
  • Arbitrary EFI application load
  • Fallthrough to next boot option

What piece of software meets these needs?

Syslinux screenshot

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Tux's sexy, sexy demeanor . – MikeyB Jan 10 '12 at 22:04
Related question: – MikeyB Jan 11 '12 at 19:46
In the two years since I've asked this, Syslinux 6 has added support for EFI. – MikeyB Mar 3 '14 at 14:58

ELILO: EFI Linux Boot Loader is very easy to implement and meets some of the criteria:

  • ☑ Menus
  • ☐ Sub-menus
  • ☑ Linux kernel/initrd TFTP load (naturally)
  • ☐ Arbitrary EFI application load
  • ☑ Fallthrough to next boot option

ELILO screenshot

(eventually I'll document what's required to get it working end-to-end…)

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Is the ELILO project still alive? It almost looks dead, very very little activity in the last 3-4 years. – Stefan Lasiewski Jan 11 '12 at 21:46

I don't think there is a specific piece of software that accomplishes this. Here's an article that might help you out: PXE Magic: Flexible Network Booting with Menus

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That's what we have right now - menus using syslinux. However, these tools do not support EFI. – MikeyB Nov 16 '11 at 1:08

Even tough it would be more or less trivial to implement such a thing with the uEFI framework there are only toy uEFI applications which will boot a kernel image via http or tftp out there.

Also most uEFI machines only have a BIOS-like text mode UI, so no graphical stuff there - but I'd expect some to appear soon as the uEFI adaptation has now progressed into mainstream desktop/laptop machinery.

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Or: They don't exist yet, but they will probably exist soon. – sysadmin1138 Nov 22 '11 at 23:49
Let's not forget the UEFI Zork Interpreter. – MikeyB Sep 27 '13 at 21:07

From my understandings of the standards, PXE doesn't really care if there's an EFI or plain old BIOS underlying.

You (may) just need to make sure that the image you're loading over the network is compatible with EFI. GRUB2 is EFI-ready, can't confirm it for SYSLINUX, as the site is currently down (I do know however, that it was worked on).

Looks like you can even reuse most of you already existing system by just swapping out the bootloader image.

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if u use something lik iPXE/gPXE you can't call an uEFI application from it, but yes u can boot PXE and let it load syslinux. – pfo Nov 24 '11 at 11:32
All the syslinux apps are not EFI applications and hence cannot be used. – MikeyB Nov 24 '11 at 13:21

The sad truth: This isn't currently possible. There is some work being done to support EFI in Syslinux, but my impression that it is far from complete.

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