This is an old revision of the document!


What Is gPXE? in Brief

gPXE is a boot-loader: a program that allows your computer to load either another boot-loader or your Operating System. gPXE, however, is a very special kind of boot-loader that allows the computer to boot via a network, rather than a disk. gPXE is the direct descendant of Etherboot; both are part of the Etherboot project, though Etherboot is no longer maintained.

Download Protocols

gPXE features several download protocols:

TFTP
NFSNot by default
HTTP
HTTPSNot by default
FTPNot by default
TFTMNot by default
SLAMNot by default
FSPNot by default

SAN-Boot Protocols

gPXE features two SAN-booting technologies:

iSCSI
AoE

Name Resolution Protocols

gPXE features name resolution protocols:

DNS
NMBNot by default

Booting Protocols

gPXE is a boot-loader that is capable of booting programs of several different formats:

NBI (Network Boot Image)
ELF
FreeBSD Kernel
Multiboot Specification-Conformant Image
a.out
WinCE
PXE
gPXE Script
Linux bzImage (Kernel)
COMBOOT/COMBOOT32
EFIOnly Applicable on EFI Platform

gPXE Shell

gPXE has a command-line interface (CLI), also called a shell, which allows you some manual control over what gPXE does. Shell commands can be grouped together, one per line, into a file called a script. In order for a script to be recognized by gPXE as a bootable image, you must put the following as the first line in the script:

#!gpxe

Some of the command categories are:

Automatic Booting
Non-Volatile Option Storage (NVO)
Option Configuration
Network Interface Management
Network Routing Table Management
Bootable Image Management
DHCP Configuration
SAN-Booting

gPXE Formats

The Prefix

In order to allow a variety of methods for loading and running gPXE, the core of the program is prefixed by another program which is specific to a particular booting scenario or bootable media. These different prefii are:

ROMFor flashing gPXE onto a chip or as a loadable module from BIOS
PXETODO
KPXEFor loading gPXE from a PXE boot-loader via a network
ELFTODO
ELFDTODO
LMELFTODO
LMELFDTODO
LKRNFor loading gPXE as a pseudo-“Linux Kernel”-format file in a compliant boot-loader (LILO, SYSLINUX, EXTLINUX, ISOLINUX, PXELINUX, GRUB, etc.)
bImageTODO
DSKFor loading gPXE from a floppy disk with no filesystem on it
NBIFor loading gPXE from a PXE boot-loader via a network
HDFor loading gPXE from a hard disk drive with no filesystem(s) on it
RAWTODO
COMFor loading gPXE from a DOS prompt (Jan-7-2009: Broken)
EXEFor loading gPXE from a DOS prompt (Jan-7-2009: Broken)

Each of these different formats for gPXE are available as compressed or uncompressed.

The Drivers

When gPXE is compiled, it contains drivers or notTODO


QR Code
QR Code concepts (generated for current page)