A file system can be configured to span a complete disk, omitting any partition table. Notice intentionally the command to do so does not use
/dev/sda1 but the raw, unpartitioned device instead.
The Idea is mentioned in the Arch Linux Wiki article about btrfs. I tried this in a virtual machine using a btrfs file system as only storage. It can even be booted from using grub, following the instruction in the wiki. ext3, ext4 and jfs also work that way. I only tested these, but most filesystem place the first block with an offset and thus leave enough space for a boot record.
Now I would like to use syslinux instead of grub. The aforementioned wiki already indicates that this makes a dedicated placement of the
ldlinux.sys neccessary, but does not include instructions to solve this. I highly suspect that the usual
mbr.bin file would also not be appropriate, because it is normally responsible to read the partition table and find an active bootable partition. Now, there is not partition to be found.
Does someone have any experience with using syslinux with a partitionless disk? Can a partitionless disk be booted using syslinux?