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Re: [K12OSN] PXE vs Etherboot

I would suggest to get NICs with PXE support. 1 method of configuring PXE involves soft links to config files in /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg (using the syslinux/pxelinux rpm package). This gives you an extra layer of configurability without having to modify the dhcpd.conf file if you want to load a different image for a box. Also PXE doesn't require you to make nbi images, you just directly use the initrd, vmlinuz, and syslinux.cfg files as is off the tftp server.

I see the wiki document that says you can get PXE to do etherboot (http://etherboot.augustinnetz.de/wiki.pl?UsingPXE). I actually need/want the other way around, I want etherboot to do PXE. i.e. I want to get away from making nbi images at all other than 1 generalized nbi image that is smart enough to go back to the tftp server, find the config file based on IP address (/tftboot/pxelinux.cfg/AC3001FC -> syslinux.cfg), then understand from the syslinux.cfg where/how it should load vmlinuz and initrd and any kernel parameters from syslinux.cfg.

The reason I have such a request is due to my test environment. My tests require me to install a version of Red Hat Linux, perform tests on that OS, then this cycle repeats with the next version of RHL. I support several versions of RHL, so I keep changing what will load on the box by manipulating the soft links in /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/. I also set PXE to boot order first. When I need to boot a box to its local hard drive I soft link to a config file called localboot.cfg which gives instructions via PXE that the box should boot to the local hard drive.

So I have a few etherboot boxes (non-PXE) and I would like to control them just the same (as my PXE boxes) without making any nbi images. Using several nbi images would require me to modify the dhcpd.conf file and notify the dhcp server each time I want to load a different OS on an etherboot box. With PXE I do not have to modify the dhcpd.conf file to load a different OS, I only modify the soft links in /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/.

Probably this has already been done and I just haven't found it yet, then again, maybe not. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.


Nate Davis wrote:

Hello Everyone,

I have search the web and I have not found much information for my question. I am now working for a Private school that has about 40 computers. The fastest of which is a P1 233mhz machine. So, naturally I am a Linux Guru and hope to set up LTSP for these clients. Most of them don't have network cards in them. So, should I buy network cards with PXE or Etherboot? What the are strengths or weaknesses of each? Or does it really matter?


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