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Re: Fw: Working Network Installs

On Wed, 18 Dec 2002, Emile van Bergen wrote:

> Hi,
> On Tue, Dec 17, 2002 at 08:36:52PM -0800, Cassandra Lynette Brockett wrote:
> > I wrote this up a few days back, but no one seems to be interested... well,
> > I do happen to have this working now (at least for i386, sparc is something
> > I will work on when I get time).
> > 
> > So, a quick question... how would I go about getting the work I've done
> > submitted, I still need to document however (which should be in my opinion
> > additional documentation for the the debian install document), and I plan on
> > doing that during the rest of this week as time permits, but before I go on
> > with documenting and such forth, should I even bother?  Is anyone
> > interested?
> Definitely. I've used netbooting in the installer a lot, and was really
> bitten by the NFS locking bug in Woody's initrd, that prevented dpkg to
> work on an NFS root, because portmap and rpc.statd weren't included on
> the initrd. The documented workaround took a lot of work.

Well, I had an even bigger issue - I wanted to do an install on a i386 
that doesn't have anything other than a network card and a HDD - this 
causes plenty of hassles as Debian required a disk-image to load the 
kernel & drivers before I could get the network running... I've managed to 
make a work-around for that, but I still need to document and work on the 
initrd to handle that bit correctly.
> Especially on Sparc and Alpha, whose consoles allow easy netbooting, an
> image consisting of a kernel with IP autoconf (bootp/rarp/dhcp)
> capabilities and root NFS (+ locking this time) enabled and an initrd
> image, is very useful.

Depending upon the i386 network hardware (I use a lot of 3com and intel 
cards, which mostly now use PXE for booting, but the grub bootloader works 
with NBI loaders as well) it is quite simplistic to also do netbooting 
with the i386, but with a decently hacked initrd for the root filesystem 
it should be rather simple to work this on any architecture.  The biggest 
hassle was figuring out how to "dodge" the dbootstrap program's habit of 
not providing all the available options sometimes, so I had to work around 

> If you need someone to test on Sparc or Alpha, I'll happily do that.
> Especially Multias need network installs, as some don't have a floppy
> drive and none have a CDROM built in.

It would be nice to get someone to test this on the Sparc platform.  I 
have a sparc here, though it will be a little bit before I get it running 
again (I've been cleaning the garage, so I disconnected it out of my 
network rack and need to re-connect it sometime, it's nice having a neat 
play-area at home...).

I can build a basic initrd for you, (it is just a hack of a standard root 
disk image, so it isn't that hard to do up), however it won't be tested at 
all beforehand.

I wanted to post the reply to this to the list just so people can trace 
this as actually departing off-list if anyone goes searching though the 
back-listings, but until I actually have a package and additional 
documentation for installation documentation, then I'll keep the traffic 
flow to the list minimal, unless of course people want me to post updates 
to the list?


PS - Emile, I will get some basic doco arranged for you as well as an 
initial-test initrd sometime tomorrow, but it's way too late in the 
evening for me to be doing work on it tonight....

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