[mythtv-users] [OT] Diskless front end (using PXE) - Fedora Core?

Brian Webb webbbn at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 16:36:00 EDT 2005

Fedora Core 3 includes a GUI utility called system-config-netboot that
simplifies creating diskless clients.  The basic procedure is:

1)  Install Fedora on a temporary hard disk on your (soon to be)
diskless client.

2) Copy the installation into an NFS mountable directory on your server.

3) Fire up system-config-netboot on your server, fill in some basic
information about the diskless install directory. 
system-config-netboot creates a kernel and initrd image that you then
boot using PXE boot.

4) Setup dhcpd/tftp boot for netbooting and point your diskless client
at the created kernel/initrd.

On first boot of each diskless client Fedora creates a directory
structure that contains the client specific files and the rest of the
files are shared.

I was able to get this working, for one diskless client, and it works
very well.  The only thing that I'm not sure about is what happens if
one wants to upgrade any packages on the diskless clients.


On 7/7/05, Micah.Wedemeyer at gtri.gatech.edu
<Micah.Wedemeyer at gtri.gatech.edu> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm getting ready to split my current Myth box (a combined
> frontend/backend) into two separate machines.  As part of the split, I'm
> planning to move to a diskless front-end configuration where it boots
> over the network from the server.
> I've checked in the BIOS and my soon-to-be frontend does indeed have
> PXE, and LAN is an option for boot device.  So, on that front, I think
> I'm in pretty good shape.
> However, I'm not much of a Linux expert, and the distro I'm most
> comfortable with is Fedora Core.  I used Jarod's guide to get my current
> setup running, and I would probably follow it (or use FC4) when I split
> to the client/server model.
> My question is: Does anyone know how to setup a network boot using
> Fedora Core?  From the client's perspective, I'd like to have it start
> up and fetch grub or something to allow further booting.  From what I
> understand, I can specify a NFS location in grub for the kernel and
> such.
> What I'm not clear on is how to install all the Fedora Core stuff in
> such a way as to support 2 machines (the client and server) from a
> single HDD.
> Ideally, I'd like a way to share certain things (window manager,
> applications like mysql, etc) between the different machines.  However,
> there will also be things that could be distinct (kernel, modules,
> X-windows settings, /proc filesystem, and such) since the 2 machines
> will not be the same hardware.
> A second and less ideal approach is to have nothing shared.  In this
> case, both installations reside on the same partition but are completely
> distinct.
> The easiest, but least ideal, approach (that I know of) is to have
> separate partitions for each machine.  In this setup, I could take the
> HDD and partition it with multiple separate partitions representing each
> machine.  Then I could physically connect the HDD to the client and
> install FC on one partition.  I could transfer the HDD to the server and
> install FC again on the other partition.  At that point I've got 2 fully
> functional FC installations and I could use grub to choose which to go
> to.
> Am I making this too hard?  Is there an easier way that I'm just not
> seeing?
> Thanks,
> Micah
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Brian Webb
webbbn at gmail.com

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