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Booting LessLinux via network

As mentioned previously, support for netbooting LessLinux was recently introduced. In builds from 20100528-000000 it works stable and can be used in production environments. So please test the new function with this build:

Currently for netbooting a DHCP and PXE server are required, a HTTP daemon should be present, although it is possible to load the ISO directly from download.lesslinux.org. For now the ISO is completely stored in volatile memory — future versions will probably also allow NFS access. To load an ISO via HTTP just one additional parameter is necessary:

     wgetiso=http://host/path/lesslinux.iso

Of course you can use the download link above for your first tests, but please remember to change it to a local HTTP server as soon as your setup works to keep traffic at an acceptable level. Now you may combine the information from the last post with a PXE server to build a netbooting, remote accessible version of “LessLinux Search and Rescue”. Take a look at the documentation of PXELINUX and you determine when which system boots via network.

1. Setup a PXE boot environment

German speaking readers might head here, where I describe the setup of a DHCP-PXE-TFTP-boot-chain. Build the setup and test with a simple OS like memtest to confirm that it works flawlessly.

2. Copy the boot files from the LessLinux CD

Our example expects the contents of /boot/isolinux in /llsar within the TFTP root directory, so just use rsync or cp to copy all files contained in this directory.

3. Setup the boot loader

Use isolinux.cfg as a template for your entry in pxelinux.cfg/default. Make sure that earlynet is not contained in the services to skip (upcoming releses will skip this service since it waits for about 15 seconds for DHCP configuration). Then decide which options you want to add. I ended up with three entries. One for a local desktop, two to encrypted and unencrypted VNC access:

LABEL llsar
MENU LABEL LessLinux Search and Rescue LOCAL
KERNEL /llsar/l2634vn
APPEND initrd=/llsar/devs.img,/llsar/initram.img,/llsar/i2634vn.img ramdisk_size=100000 vga=788 
    ultraquiet=1 security=none skipcheck=1 quiet lang=de ejectonumass=1 
    skipservices=|installer|xconfgui|firewall|mountdrives| hwid=unknown laxsudo=1
    wgetiso=http://192.168.1.56/ll.iso 
TEXT HELP
  Start LessLinux Search and Rescue with local desktop.
ENDTEXT

LABEL llsarvnc
MENU LABEL LessLinux Search and Rescue VNC
KERNEL /llsar/l2634vn
APPEND initrd=/llsar/devs.img,/llsar/initram.img,/llsar/i2634vn.img ramdisk_size=100000 vga=788
    ultraquiet=1 security=none skipcheck=1 quiet lang=de ejectonumass=1
    skipservices=|installer|xconfgui|firewall|mountdrives|runtimeconf| hwid=unknown laxsudo=1
    wgetiso=http://192.168.1.56/ll.iso xvnc=|remote|1280x800|24|                  
TEXT HELP
  Start LessLinux Search and Rescue with insecure VNC desktop.
ENDTEXT

LABEL llsarvnc
MENU LABEL LessLinux Search and Rescue SSH
KERNEL /llsar/l2634vn
APPEND initrd=/llsar/devs.img,/llsar/initram.img,/llsar/i2634vn.img ramdisk_size=100000 vga=788
    ultraquiet=1 security=none skipcheck=1 quiet lang=de ejectonumass=1
    skipservices=|installer|xconfgui|firewall|mountdrives|runtimeconf| hwid=unknown laxsudo=1
    wgetiso=http://192.168.1.56/ll.iso xvnc=|local|1280x800|24|
    rootpwhash=$1$ILXt/Dc3$DmYp.51WCDNjGuTL90eju/ 
TEXT HELP
  Start LessLinux Search and Rescue with VNC-over-SSH desktop.
  (SSH password is "test", please change!)
ENDTEXT

Please note that the indented lines after APPEND are part of the append parameter line. I had to break the lines to prevent the formatting from exploding. With this setup you can try the full netboot of “LessLinux Search and Rescue”.

Eine Antwort auf “Booting LessLinux via network”

  1. Das Rootserver-Experiment » Blog Archive » Status-Update LessLinux (May 31st, 2010 um 7:01 pm)

    [...] Systemstart per Netzwerk: Es ist nun kein lokaler Datenträger mehr nötig. Stattdessen kann beim Systemstart ein ISO-Image per WGET heruntergeladen werden. Das landet im Arbeitsspeicher und wird Loopback gemountet. NFS-Boot folgt, mein Testbuild hier zu Hause macht es schon… Weiter im LessLinux-Blog [...]