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HOWTO: Use LiveCD in PXE booting environment
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Kalin
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Joined: 22 Dec 2002
Posts: 109
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: HOWTO: Use LiveCD in PXE booting environment Reply with quote

Hello!

I am proud with myself, because after a few sleepless nights, I could convert the LiveCD 2004.2 so that it can be booted via PXE. I neede this in order to boot my Toshiba SS/S5 (PORTEGE 2001) laptop, as it does not have (bootable) drive, but has Intel PXE built in. (Another way was to boot from USB FDD, but I just hate diskettes (lately)).

After a long search and a lot of reading, I decided to start from here: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=151242, but due to some problems like the new format of the LiveCD (squashfs support, etc) I had a hard time. Now that everyhting seems to work, I decided to write this short HOWTO.

I had to patch the linuxrc script found on the LiveCD with two patches. The first is to make it boot from PXE and the second is adding a default parameter for keymap (may be not needed on normal boot). Patches are available separately from ftp://ftp.tar.bz/pub/my_software/LiveCD+PXE/misc/ for review.

First setup the server for DHCP and tftp. On your PXE-to-be server do (as root):
Code:
emerge -av dhcp tftp-hpa


Then (possibly on another machine) download ftp://ftp.tar.bz/pub/my_software/LiveCD+PXE/LiveCD+PXE-0.0.1.tar.bz2
and do as root:

Code:
tar xjvf LiveCD+PXE-0.0.1.tar.bz2
cd LiveCD+PXE-0.0.1


There is a directory called SRV_ROOT with some example files for your PXE-to-be server. Have a look and edit them as appropriate.

Edit the top part of LiveCD+PXE.sh to suit your needs and

Code:
./LiveCD+PXE.sh smp init
./LiveCD+PXE.sh smp finish


Start the dhcp and tftp services (on the server):
Code:
/etc/init.d/in.tftpd restart
/etc/init.d/dhcp restart


If everything went OK, you are ready to boot.

As, always any comments/suggestions/bugfixes are welcome!

TODO list:
0. Fix inevitable bugs.
1. Change the linuxrc script in the original LiveCD and try to boot (i.e. my patches should not harm the original LiveCD).
2. Write some more documentation/links about PXE, GRUB+PXE, etc.
3. Can I use the minimal iso image?
4. Check/fix the "Failed to unmount initrd" error MSG on boot.
5. Add "clean" command to remove temp files.
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LinuxRocks
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Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 397
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice. I want to try this as soon as I can. I needed something like this this last weekend, but unfortunatly, I didnt know it existed and used a flash rom to install the base system (My mobo has a flash reader builtin and was able to boot from it).

This will be very handy as we plan to migrate several servers and machines over to Linux.

Thanks a million :)

Joe
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someguy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i cant get the file from your server keeps sqaying file doesnt exist or may be moved hope you can get it back up being as id like to use this lol :-P thanks buddy
_________________
print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>
)]}\EsMsKsN0[lN*1lK[d2%Sa2/d0<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<J]dsJxp"|dc`
while [ 1 ] ; do echo "*" | telnet ip.of.print.er 9100 ; done
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troffe
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Joined: 22 May 2004
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Location: Greenwich, London

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

Thanks for the howto, it had some good infomation. i like you had to PXE boot my system to install gentoo. although i did'it using a Knoppix Live CD and the Knoppix Terminal Server (PXE booting my laptop off my deskyop computer) and then used the alternative installation guide
( http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/altinstall.xml#doc_chap3 ) .

worked a dream, on my IBM Thinkpad X24 and Compaq EN 733. i have also used it on a large amount of different hardware with no problems including H(D)ell's :)
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Kalin
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Joined: 22 Dec 2002
Posts: 109
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, sorry about my server not responding, it was down for some unknown reason, checking it now.
At the moment it should work.

troffe, the alternative instal guide had some good info as well, I just wanted to use the LiveCD (i.e. not make another system).

someguy, please try to get the files again, sorry :-|
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Lightspeed
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Joined: 21 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there, nice to see that my initial effort with the 2004.0 Live CD has proved to be useful :D

Last week I did actually update my own procedure to work with the slightly changed format of the 2004.2 CD, though I didn't get round to posting the changes here - and I used it to install gentoo on my lovely new Centrino laptop (it does actually have a CD drive, but I find it more fun to use PXE!).

Anyway, by the looks of things your script for modifying the CD etc seems a lot more organised than the poor explanation I gave in my earlier thread, though I haven't got round to trying yours out yet.

Considering that this really doesn't require much alteration to the standard Live CD in order to get it to work, it would be nice if it could eventually become a supported installation option.

Regarding your TODO list... I see no reason why this won't already work with the minimal iso, so I don't think #3 is a problem.
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someguy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks
_________________
print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>
)]}\EsMsKsN0[lN*1lK[d2%Sa2/d0<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<J]dsJxp"|dc`
while [ 1 ] ; do echo "*" | telnet ip.of.print.er 9100 ; done
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Dragonlord
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Joined: 22 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tried this out on my machine because i need to setup my new server on a machine i've no floppy and cdrom on it.

the old-server hosts the DHCP/TFTP and the new server should boot-install from it.

now i tried everything to no avail. whenever i boot from my new server i either get a kernel panic with something like "root=NULL is not valid" or such a crap or i get some hang with "unsupported fs" or something along that (sorry for the lack of info but it's 5am here and still no solution).

i guess the problem must be in the grub.lst file i need to get the pxegrub bootloader fired up. the loader works and he also fetches the image (i spezified the smp image from the livecd manipulated with your script) but during boot it hangs.

that's my grub.lst... wtf is not correct on this one? i've copied this one together snooping on the livecd but somehow shit works.
Code:
default 0
timeout 30

title=Diskless Gentoo
root (nd)
#kernel /newserver/boot/smp ip=dhcp root=/dev/nfs nfsroot=192.168.1.10:/diskless/newserver
kernel /newserver/boot/smp initrd=/newserver/boot/smp.igz root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc acpi=off looptype=squashfs loop=/newserver/livecd.squashfs  cdroot


if i use the /dev/nfs line i get an error that the device 'nfs' is not found or not working. and if i use the second line i end up with that 'root=NULL' crap.

somebody has a working grub.lst file for me? i need a solution to that one quickly (my first attempt was using a USB-Memstick image but the howto failed due to an invalid script in the portage tree).
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vh1
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Joined: 04 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey there

with minor modifications I've gotten your script to run on my ubuntu (breezy) system with the minimal cd. it was very simple, instances of livecd.squashfs had to be changed to image.squashfs and I had to use cpio instead of mounting the "old" kernel image" snf everything builds fine.

using pxelinux I can get the desired computer to boot and download the gentoo.igz file, but then it complains about there being no init found and suggest I put an init option in my boot options. but the problem is, that exists

Code:
label gentoo
  kernel gentoo
  append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc ramdisk_size=80000  dokeymap looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs  cdroot initrd=gentoo.igz vga=791 splash=silent,theme:livecd-2006.0 CONSOLE=/dev/tty1 quiet


would anyone happen to know what's going on?
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pentium4borg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same problem as vh1. Can anyone provide insight? Are there other methods for booting a Gentoo LiveCD image over PXE?
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Kalin
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Joined: 22 Dec 2002
Posts: 109
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:07 pm    Post subject: Need info! Reply with quote

Well, if you post a bit more info, like more of the MSGs that are shown on the screen, etc. I might be able to help you.
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pentium4borg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally figured out how to modify the LiveCD to boot over PXE. I was going to past a few days ago, but I've been in and out.

I did some searching and after some trial and error I got through the problems I was having, thanks in part to the original patch provided by Kalin. gentoo.igz is a multipart cpio archive, which the cpio I had (2.7-r1) didn't like, but I was able to get this to work using cpio-2.6-r5. I extracted and made a patch for the linuxrc file that allows the system to boot from the squashfs when image.squashfs is put inside gentoo.igz.

I wrote a script that does everything for you with the 2006.1 LiveCD. It's attached in a tar file along with the patch. Remember to have cpio-2.6-r5 installed when you run this, for some reason 2.7-r1 doesn't like the multipart archive:
Code:
emerge =app-arch/cpio-2.6-r5


Here's the full text of both files:

linuxrc.patch
Code:
--- linuxrc   2007-04-25 12:03:42.000000000 -0400
+++ linuxrc   2007-04-25 12:04:19.000000000 -0400
@@ -51,6 +51,14 @@
 CMDLINE="`cat /proc/cmdline`"
 # Scan CMDLINE for any specified real_root= or cdroot arguments
 REAL_ROOT=''
+
+#Override cdroot if defined after PXE
+if [ "${PXE}" = 1 ]
+then
+   REAL_ROOT="PXE"
+fi
+
+
 for x in ${CMDLINE}
 do
    case "${x}" in
@@ -74,6 +82,10 @@
          CDROOT=1
          CDROOT_DEV=`parse_opt "${x}"`
       ;;
+      # PXE
+      PXE)
+         PXE=1
+      ;;
       # Start livecd loop and looptype options
       loop\=*)
          LOOP=`parse_opt "${x}"`
@@ -361,6 +373,10 @@
          read REAL_ROOT
          got_good_root=0
 
+      elif [ "${PXE}" = 1 -o -b "${REAL_ROOT}" ]
+      then
+         got_good_root=1
+
       # Check for a block device or /dev/nfs
       elif [ -b "${REAL_ROOT}" ] || [ "${REAL_ROOT}" = "/dev/nfs" ]
       then
@@ -486,7 +502,7 @@
       fi
    fi
 
-   cache_cd_contents
+   #cache_cd_contents
    # Setup the loopback mounts
 
    if [ "${LOOPTYPE}" = 'normal' ]
@@ -500,7 +516,15 @@
    elif [ "${LOOPTYPE}" = 'squashfs' ]
    then
       good_msg 'Mounting squashfs filesystem'
-      mount -t squashfs -o loop,ro ${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/cdrom/${LOOPEXT}${LOOP} ${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/livecd
+      #The image is in different place on the real LiveCD
+      if [ "${PXE}" = 1 ]
+      then
+            squash_prefix=''
+            mount -t squashfs -o loop,ro ${LOOP} ${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/livecd
+      else
+            squash_prefix="${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/cdrom/${LOOPEXT}"
+            mount -t squashfs -o loop,ro ${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/cdrom/${LOOPEXT}${LOOP} ${NEW_ROOT}/mnt/livecd
+      fi
       
       test_success 'Mount filesystem'
       FS_LOCATION='mnt/livecd'


gentoo-pxe.sh
Code:
#!/bin/bash

this_iso="install-x86-minimal-2006.1.iso";


if [ -d pxe_temp ]; then
   echo "!!! Directory pxe_temp already exists."
   exit
fi
if [ -d pxe_out ]; then
   echo "!!! Directory pxe_out already exists."
   exit
fi

mkdir -p pxe_temp/{iso,cpio}
mkdir -p pxe_out

if [ -e $this_iso ]; then
   echo "Found LiveCD iso"
else
   echo "Downloading LiveCD iso ..."
   wget 'http://bouncer.gentoo.org/?product=gentoo-2006.1-minimal&os=x86'
fi

cd pxe_temp

echo "Mounting LiveCD"
mount ../$this_iso iso/ -o loop

cd cpio

echo "Unpacking gentoo.igz"
zcat ../iso/isolinux/gentoo.igz | sed -e 's/TRAILER/notTRAILER/g' | cpio -idv 2>/dev/null

echo "Patching linuxrc"
patch -p0 < ../../linuxrc.patch >/dev/null

echo "Copying files"
cp linuxrc init
cp ../iso/image.squashfs .

echo "Repacking gentoo.igz"
find * | cpio --quiet --dereference -o -H newc 2>/dev/null | gzip -9 > ../gentoo.igz

cd ..

echo "Wrapping up"
cp gentoo.igz ../pxe_out
cp iso/isolinux/gentoo ../pxe_out

echo "Unmounting LiveCD"
umount iso/

cd ../

rm -rf pxe_temp

echo "DONE"
echo
echo "PXE files gentoo and gentoo.igz are in directory pxe_out"
echo "To use, put the following into your PXE configuration:"
echo
echo "LABEL gentoo"
echo "   kernel gentoo"
echo "   append initrd=gentoo/gentoo.igz root=/dev/ram0 init=linuxrc loop=/image.squashfs looptype=squashfs cdroot=1 vga=791 real_root=/dev/ram0 PXE splash=silent,theme:livecd-2006.1 CONSOLE=/dev/tty1 quiet"


To use these, put them both in the same folder and then run gentoo-pxe.sh. If you get error(s) about there not being a linuxrc when the script runs, you have to downgrade your cpio to 2.6-r5.
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