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[K12OSN] x86 thin client apparently ignoring DHCPOFFER from LTSP svr



Hello folks,

I have set up three thin client machines, one a Pentium/133, one a K6-2/400, and the third a K6-3+/450, and neither of them boot without I see the following in the K12LTSP server's /var/log/messages during a tail:

/ Jan 18 12:07:32 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:07:32 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:08:53 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:08:53 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:01 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:01 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:18 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:18 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:35 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:35 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:48 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPDISCOVER from 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0
// Jan 18 12:09:48 myltspserver dhcpd: DHCPOFFER on 192.168.0.2 to 00:04:76:c9:8e:f9 via eth0/

I have seen this with the following NICs:

3Com 3C905
3Com 3C905b
Intel EtherExpress PRO/100+

I have done this with the following versions of K12LTSP: 2.0.2, 2.1.2 (well, actually stock RHL 7.3 with the K12LTSP RPMs for 2.1.2, since I already had RHL 7.3), and the new 3.0.0. The K12LTSP server is a K6-III+/500 with 384MB RAM and 36GB of disk. Its NIC is a 3c905.

For the two 3Com NICs, I used the Rom-O-Matic boot floppy for 3c905 and 3c905b, as well as the various 3Com boot floppy images for 3c905 and 3c905b cards that come with the K12LTSP distros. The Intel EtherExpress PRO/100+ has a built-in boot ROM and therefore doesn't need a floppy-based boot image. The PRO/100+ will eventually time out; the boot floppies for the 3c905's just appear to keep trying forever. I've never seen DHCP clients ignore a DHCPOFFER before. It was really funky.

Since I have more than one of the above-named NIC models, I tried several of each. Same reaction.

*** BEGIN ANOMALY ***

However, in one instance, with one of the 3c905 cards (not the "b" model) plugged into the K6-2/400, the box would indeed netboot all the way to runlevel 3, and even 5 (another problem then surfaced at runlevels 4 and 5, which I'll post in a different thread). It was neat to actually watch the boot process and see what happens, and that told me that the TFTP server must be configured properly. So, of course I tried another 3c905 NIC in that same box (the K6-2/400), and we went back to ignoring the DHCPOFFER. So I put back in the NIC with which things actually did netboot, and no luck, we were back to ignoring the DHCPOFFER once again. Yep, a card that worked once would not work again in even the same machine, let alone in another machine.

*** END ANOMALY ***

I said, OK, maybe dhcpd itself is having challenges in some subtle way (BTW, I'm using the stock /etc/dhcpd.conf--no need for IP adrs changes on an isolated test bed). Fortunately, all of these thin clients actually do have hard disks in them with operating systems on them (I had unplugged the hard disks to force netbooting). So, I reconnected the hard disks, configured the OS's to use DHCP, and watched what happened. All three computers (one Windows XP, the other two Slackware Linux 8.1) got a valid DHCP address and were able to ssh into the K12LTSP server. During this whole deal, I made sure to double-check that the NICs were indeed fully inserted into the PCI slots. I also tried multiple PCI slots on each machine, remembering the bad old days when the slot you put a given PCI card into really did matter.

This is being done on an isolated test network with a 10BaseT hub, so there are no other DHCP servers available to the thin clients. I find it really odd that three models of NIC are having trouble netbooting like this. Can anyone help me out with this? I would like to try out K12LTSP at work, and we have a lot of older (Pentium and PII) boxes with built-in 3c905b and Intel Pro/100 cards.

Thanks in advance,

--TP





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