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Re: [K12OSN] Booting the thinclient from harddrive, not floppy.

Others have responded with workable solutions, which is good.  I am
working on packaging some code I put together to do something along
these lines, but it will take me a while longer and will have to
pass certain corporate gatekeepers (the main gating factor is my
current heavy workload).

The code I have is kind of a framework around etherboot.  It is a
combination of Makefile, scripts, and code to generate an image
that can be written to a floppy.  When the floppy is booted in a
computer with a (IDE) hard drive, it writes a boot sector into
the MBR and preserves the partition table.  Etherboot is written
into the remaining sectors of the first track of the disk.

Since fdisk and friends typically don't use the extra sectors in
the first track, etherboot is sort of hidden in there.  The rest
of the disk can contain whatever sorts of partitions you wish.
Once etherboot has loaded a kernel, it can mount these partitions
if desired.  (Note that there are some applications that do use
those sectors, but I couldn't name any of them.)

Anyway, my plan is to contribute what I can back to etherboot.
Since I wrote the code I have changed projects and am no longer
involved directly with anything etherboot related, so I will have
to rely on an interested volunteer to put a little polish on what
I can contribute.

I'll try to remember to make an announcement here as well as on
the etherboot list when it's ready.


PS.  You might want to reconsider using the hard drives if you only
plan to put etherboot on them.  You would be surprised how much of
the noise some computers make is from the hard drives.  Also, unless
the drives get spun down after booting, they will be sitting there
sucking juice needlessly.  Maybe not a whole lot, but it adds up.

Klaus Ade Johnstad wrote:
> I have a bunch of small harddrives 100-200 MB, and I wonder if I could
> boot from them instead of from floppy, and thus saving me the money buying
> bootroms. Can I simply but the Etherboot ROM images on the harddrive?
> Klaus
> GnuPG v1.0.6 Fingerprint = 67E6 1D18 B2C4 4F8A 3DA3  5C6D 849F 9F5F 26FA 477D
>         Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics

Don Christensen       Senior Software Development Engineer
djc cisco com         Cisco Systems, Santa Cruz, CA
  "It was a new day yesterday, but it's an old day now."

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