Network Boot and Exotic Root HOWTO

Brieuc Jeunhomme



Logilab S.A.

Revision History
Revision 0.32002-04-28Revised by: bej
Many feedback inclusions, added links to several projects
Revision 0.2.22001-12-08Revised by: dcm
Licensed GFDL
Revision 0.2.12001-05-21Revised by: logilab
Fixed bibliography and artheader
Revision 0.22001-05-19Revised by: bej
Many improvements and included Ken Yap's feedback.
Revision 0.1.12001-04-09Revised by: logilab
First public draft.
Revision 0.12000-12-09Revised by: bej
Initial draft.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1. What is this all about?
1.2. Thanks
1.3. Diskless booting advocacy
1.4. Requirements
1.5. Acknowledgements and related documentation
1.6. Feedback
1.7. Copyright Information
2. Diskless booting operation overview
2.1. Obtaining IP parameters
2.2. Loading the kernel
2.3. Mounting the root filesystem
2.4. Terminating the boot process
3. Building the kernel
3.1. When the root filesystem is on a ramdisk
4. Daemons setup
4.1. NFS daemon
4.2. BOOTP daemon
4.3. TFTP
5. Clients setup, creation of the root filesystem
5.1. Creating the first files and directories
5.2. The /var and /etc directories
5.3. Last details
5.4. Trial...
5.5. And Error!
6. Several ways of obtaining the kernel
6.1. BOOTP or DHCP capable NICs
6.2. Kernel on a local floppy or hard drive
6.3. Bootloader without kernel on a local floppy or hard drive
6.4. Creating ROMs for the clients
6.5. Local CDROM
7. How to create diskless MS-Windows stations?
8. Troubleshooting, tips, tricks, and useful links
8.1. Transparently handling workstations'specific files
8.2. Reducing diskless workstations'memory usage
8.3. Swapping over NFS
8.4. Swapping over network block devices
8.5. Getting rid of error messages about /etc/mtab or unmounted directories on shutdown
8.6. Installing new packages on workstations
A. Non-Volatile Memory chips
B. Determining the size and speed of EPROMs to plug in a NIC
C. Companies selling diskless computers