[mythtv-users] Netboot <> FC2&3

Brad Templeton brad+myth at templetons.com
Mon Dec 20 23:48:01 UTC 2004

On Mon, Dec 20, 2004 at 04:52:56PM -0500, PAUL WILLIAMSON wrote:
> People,
> I've been trying to get netbooting working under both FC2 and FC3 
> with no success.  I've been able to track down that somewhere between 
> RH9 and FC2, Red Hat screwed up netbooting.  I've found a number 
> of problems relating to specific issues with the kernel, and I'm
> currently 
> getting a kernel panic because FC3 thinks that XFree86 is trying to
> access 
> something in the hardware layer directly.  At least that's what the
> error 
> says. 
> So, I'm now thinking I will punt for now and just do an install of the
> os and 
> install myth onto an nfs partition.  Does this make sense?  I'm
> interested 
> in doing this mainly for the frontend to be quiet.  If I can boot the 
> machine and then spin down the hard drive, it would be a nice
> compromise.
> Do I have any other options?  Can I netboot Debian or Gentoo from
> Fedora?

I also gave up for now, as I was getting hangs when starting X.  (You
are running XFree86 under Fedora instead of X.org?)

There are several ways to do a net boot:

    a) Full ethernet boot, PXE or etherboot -- no disk at all.  Can be
	hard to set up.
    b) Boot from local disk but have root filesystem on NFS -- generally
	easier to set up, good idea if you have an old small disk you
	don't use any more that can be spun down later.   You can boot
        this way from CD/DVD-ROM, but must pull the disk later if you
	want to play or rip disks.
    c) Boot from local disk, then remount filesystems, spin down disk:
	Problem:  Existing processes, like init and others, have files
	open on the boot filesystem.  If they try to access them, the
	disk will spin up again.
    d) Boot from flash card with tiny root filesystem, NFS mount
       the rest of the filesystem.   Silent and low power.   Flash
       drives are cheap.  USB thumb drive may be easiest if you can
       boot from that, or you can get IDE/flash adapters for cheap.

Most people focus on (a) because the want totally diskless but in fact
the others may be easier and more flexible.   Notably the IDE flash drive
will work even on ancient systems that can't ethernet boot.  Buying an
etherboot room for your network card seem silly in comparison with the
price of flash these days.

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