[K12OSN] Support for Etherboot on 486's with ISA NICs

Doug Simpson simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
Mon Jul 2 17:43:11 UTC 2007

I was referring to booting with Etherboot floppies like you can get from Rom-O-Matic. These have always worked for me in the past, but not at all in 6.0.0.

One one particular one, for example, it boots from the floppy, (normal) gets an IP via DHCP, (normal) loads the kernel, (normal) and then fails with the "kernel panic" because it can't load the NIC.  I know how to configure for that and it is done, but it doesn't work. There is a 3com card in there and the option lines are configured, and the workstation has entries in the /etc/lts.conf to load the 3com card. like"NIC=3c509". And it doesn't work.  I have tried several different cards, adjusting the configs for each but to no avail.

It says:

ERROR! Could not automatically detect the network card.
input:ImPS/2 Generic Wheel Mouse as /class/input/input1
PCI cards. . .etc.etc.etc
Usually specified in option-129, in the
/etc/dhcpd.conf file. See . . . docs for info. . .

Kernel Panic - not syncing: Attempting to kill init!

I have the option-129 line set correctly.

I have the right computer name set in dhcpd.conf and also in the lts.conf for this particular workstation.

All to no avail.

Thanks for the reply. . .

Doug Simpson
Technology Specialist
De Queen Public Schools
De Queen, AR
simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
>>> "James P. Kinney III" <jkinney at localnetsolutions.com> 07/02/07 11:50 AM >>>

Once you get into antique hardware :) the rules change. PXE and
etherboot were not around at that time (I don't think) so getting them
to work is a serious challenge. The most used process is to have some
other method of booting available (floppy or CD or even a hidden flash
card with an IDE adapter.)

Some really old stuff _may_ be able to netboot _if_ the add-on network
card has a boot rom AND the mainboard is able to handle that. You would
need to have the "corporate" pc's as the home user style would not have
the BIOS capability.

By the time you get to an ide-flash adapter plus flash card you are
halfway to a new, tiny thin client that is very low power and fanless.
The power savings alone would cover the additional cost over a couple of
years. Plus desktop real estate is at a premium as well.

On Mon, 2007-07-02 at 09:27 -0500, Doug Simpson wrote:
> Hey guys!
> Has support for 486 computers and ISA NICs been dropped from K12LTSP?
> I have been unable to get it to work with many different NICs and several computers.
> When you say use "old hardware" I take that to mean "old hardware". Some of the stuff they talk about on there as being "old hardware" is generations newer than the newest stuff I have.
> Being able to "just upgrade the server" when you need newer stuff, should be just that. There are a lot of 486s that work great as terminal clients, but if they will no longer work, there goes the ability to use "old hardware" which really puts poor people like me at a disadvantage.
> I have ran versions from 3.x and up and have been very satisfied. Install, and within a few minutes, I can usually get the "old hardware" working. A few more minutes and I can get sound working (usually).
> Hasn't happened yet with version 6.0.0.
> Could it be simple as making it boot a slightly older kernel than 2.6.x?  Will 2.4.x work on a 486 where 2.6.x won't?
> Getting thin on top. . .
> Doug
> Doug Simpson
> Technology Specialist
> De Queen Public Schools
> De Queen, AR
> simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
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James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney at localnetsolutions.com>
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7

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