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Diskless boot NFS server image


I have been developing perl scripts that enable easy to configure and
maintain NFS images for diskless clients. I have packaged these into
a debian package, and I can provide my current version on request if
anybody is interested. Currently they allow setting up different groups
of clients, each with there own settings. Multiple architectures should
be supported, but I cannot test this. For extra security and less
diskspace usage, / is mounted read-only from a shared mount point,
and /etc, /var, and /tmp are mounted as read-write on boot.

Is anyone interested in such a Debian package? Should I contribute
it to the Debian project?

There are some difficult issues I have with it:

- I would like to be able calculate MD5sums for certain files, in order
to be able to check if the contents have changed or not (eg similar to
how dpkg handles configuration files). How do I do this from perl? Do
perl packages already exist to do this?

- as / is mounted R/O, this means /lib/modules is also R/O, and the
boot process cannot calculate the module dependancies. ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!
I do not know how to get around this, other then to mount / as R/W
for the first boot. Is it possible to get module dependancy information
written to some other directory??? Is there another better way? IMHO,
it should be possible to mount /lib, /bin, /sbin, /usr, /boot, as
read only (and possibly /etc too), but FSSTND only seems to mention /usr.

- Linux defaults to mounting root from "/tftpboot/<IPaddress>", however,
I don't think that this is allowed by FSSTND. Hence I have used symlinks
from /tftpboot/<ipaddress> into and under /var/lib/diskless/. This
allows booting Linux without giving it command line arguments, but it
still breaks FSSTND.

Brian May <bam@snoopy.apana.org.au>

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