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Re: PXE boot after Flash boot? (was Re: Flash Drive)

Jason Kohles wrote:

On 11/17/05, *Mark Heslep* <mark mitre org <mailto:mark mitre org>> wrote:

    An aside to your aside on PXE:    I do the same when Im on a local net
    where I control the DCHP server and can set the 'next server'
    pointer to
    my PXE server. On that server I have archived dozens of linux
    Knoppix, Windows Unattended, etc. and can install all of them via PXE
    with customized kickstart files.   Problem is, on our  wide area net I
    dont  control the DHCP server.   Id like to still be able to boot a
    remove machine from flash drive with the smarts to get me to the PXE
    server.    A given RH/Fedora boot kernel + initrd will only allow
    you to
    install  its matching distro version.    Any thoughts on ways around
    this?*  Perhaps there's a way to  chain boot into a PXE 'like'  image
    with the IP address of the PXE server already dialed in.   It still
    needs to make the DHCP request though to get its IP, gateway router,
    maybe DNS, etc at the remote site.

The way I've done this is to have a boot cd (or flash disk), which downloads the initrd and vmlinuz necessary for the install you are going to do, creates a boot partition (or reuses the existing boot partition), puts the initrd an vmlinuz in there, configures grub, and then reboots, booting from the hard drive, but into an environment very similar to what you would have received from PXE.

Okay I think Im with you but it would be nice to do this in one pass. Im looking at loading all the kernels / initrds onto the flash disk but that also has troubles. Unlink PXElinux and isolinux, syslinux only supports 7 char. names so that makes for a messy flat file space with no sub directories. There's extlinux with long names but thats not working for me - seems to be very sensitve to the CHS drive geometry problem. Last, looks like the kernel/initrd built for the PXE load dont play well with being booted off the disk? At least that seems to be the case w/ a couple of FC and Knoppix sets I tried. So that means maintaining disk boot kernels for the flash disk and PXE boot kernels for the PXE server. Arg.


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