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RE: Automatic initrd.gz pxeimage update with non-free drivers


From: viniciusferrao@if.ufrj.br
To: debian-enterprise@lists.debian.org
Subject: Automatic initrd.gz pxeimage update with non-free drivers
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2012 22:16:27 +0000

Hello Folks,

We have a network installation server named Stormwind with some pxeimages for Network Booting and local repositories. But we have a problem that makes the network installation completely useless. The non-free drivers are not included in default installation.

Since we have a lot of IBM Bladeservers we cannot install it due several bugs in Debian Netinstall. When Squeeze was stabilised I've followed this guide (http://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/NetbootFirmware#The_Solution:_Add_Firmware_to_Initramfs) and everything was fine, until the arrival of the Bladeservers.

Due some obscure bug, the net install fails on this hardware and even the CD installation failed too. So we run out of possibilities and installed Scientific Linux, a shi*** RHEL clone created by the physicists in CERN.

After some digging in the internet a new version of Net install was launched and finally supporting other machines, so I've re-downloaded all the pxeimages and created an script to check if a new version of net install is available and if yes, download it and put everything in place.

The script is here:
# Update Script para atualizacao do PXEBoot das distribuições
# Debian 6 "Squeeze" amd64/i386
# Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" amd64/i386
# Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" amd64/i386



for ((i = 0 ; i < ${#dir[@]} ; i++)) do 
        wget --timestamping --no-directories ${url[i]} -P ${dir[i]}


The problem now is the inclusion of non-free drivers in the inited.gz images. We gonna format all the Scientific Linux machines and "Debialize it". But changing the network images manually will be a PITA, and if the upstream upgrades the network install it will be rewritten and the non-free drivers will be gone.

The question is: how can we automate this patching? Any suggestion would be fine. I can modify the pxeupdate.sh file to handle this, but I'm lacking knowledge in shell scripting to do this. I don't know how to make the patch only if the image was downloaded.

And of course: I'm doing this right? There's a specific tool to handle PXE Images update that I don't know?

Thanks in advance,

Vinícius Ferrão: Administrador de Sistemas

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