[ipxe-devel] any details about the state of KEEP_IT_REAL?

Klaus Espenlaub klaus.espenlaub at oracle.com
Mon Jun 11 17:40:39 UTC 2012

Hi all (and greetings especially to those who remember me from the 
Etherboot days),

we're working on updating the PXE support in VirtualBox to iPXE, and had 
to realize that the KEEP_IT_REAL support is broken. Does anyone know how 
far away it is from working state? Didn't find any information in the 
ipxe mailing list except 
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.network.ipxe.devel/66 - funnily again 
talking about VirtualBox.

It's the only relevant mode of operation which conforms to the PXE spec 
(so I was rather surprised that it's not working). It's vital for many 
DOS/Windows based or completely custom professional deployment solutions 
which expect the PXE stack, especially UNDI, to work from real mode, V86 
mode or 16bit protected mode.

So if iPXE wants to replace both Etherboot (which is also broken in this 
respect) and Intel PXE in VirtualBox this apparently otherwise unused 
feature will have to be resurrected. We're aware that this means kicking 
out any feature which isn't vital, and that's not a concern since in the 
worst case the people who need a more feature rich iPXE build can 
replace the ROM image, or use the simple one to bootstrap a build over 
the network which has everything enabled.

Thanks for any hints,

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