syslinux in momentum
At this year's FOSDEM we finally had H. Peter Anvin to come over and discuss the syslinux project to a wider audience and I had been waiting for that day for about 3 to 4 years. (Even though I sadly missed hpa on one occasion before :-/)
It was great to see the project blossom again after some years of diminished interest and getting some developers together (not me, I am just a humble user) was very productive. One of the developers I enjoyed talking to, Erwan Velu, out of the blue revealed he had some unfinished work I was very interested to test.
Well, that unfinished work is close to be completed and is already shipping as part of syslinux. It is called HDT or Hardware Detection Tool. Basicly it is a syslinux (com32) bootloader program showing you the complete internals of your system before booting from the boot-prompt. What's more, if you exit HDT you end up back on that same boot-prompt !
This is so useful it deserves to be on every bootable Linux image (distributions, rescue images, ...)
Much more is happening within the syslinux project, gpxelinux improvements, more com32 programs, moving code from ASM to C to assist other features, ext4 support and hopefully soon lua scripting support ! (And Google is sponsoring some development through Google's Summer of Code.)
The ability to have a dynamic environment that you can tweak and customize as you wish, where you can interact with the user before booting opens so many possibilities that I don't know where to start :-) And I hope we can see more of it. The sooner the better.
I am very grateful to Peter, Erwan, and all the other developers for making syslinux sexy again :-)