PXEBOOT based upgrade/install

Tim Judd tajudd at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 19:49:10 UTC 2009

As a very brief instruction to setup a single-PC diskless boot
(because of the pid files, mostly.  But files in /etc are also the
same concern) do the following on your NFS exported filesystems..

cd /path/to/installation/medium
cd 7.2-RELEASE/kernels
cat generic.?? | tar --unlink -xpzf - -C /path/to/exported/mountpoint
cd ../base
cat base.?? | tar --unlink -xpzf - -C /path/to/exported/mountpoint

Add some NFS server functionality (file locking [for editing
/etc/passwd], mostly) by adding to the server's rc.conf and starting
the services:

Create the client's files:

The client ALSO needs statd and lockd in order for file locking to
work... don't forget to add it.

And create optionally the serial console ability as outlined in the handbook.

My ALIX (aka new PC Engines' WRAP boards) routers both have this
diskless setup.  If you're running it off Compact Flash, keep in mind
the limited write cycles.  I have them both running off Microdrives
now (1" hard disks at 3600RPM)

If anyone gets stuck, as I'm writing this from memory while I'm at
work, let me know.  I'll double check my config at home and update it
if I need to.  This does not add the manpages, the source files,
ports, or anything.  It's the same as sysinstall's "minimal" config.
This will boot to a Multi-User Interface (MUI) and you can run
sysinstall after logging in with root with no password.

On 6/18/09, Bruce Ferrell <bferrell at baywinds.org> wrote:
> Tim Judd wrote:
>> If you're going to setup a netbooting server (congrats!), why are you
>> trying to limit yourself to what seems to be the bootonly CD?
> Uh... 'cause I don't know any better? :)  Point me to docs so I can do
> better!
>> There are some people who complain about broadcom cards, in the fact
>> that they're buggy support/nonexistant support.  Maybe your NIC
>> chipset is one of those.
> I don't know about that.  This is in a Dell Power Edge 850 running
> FreeBSD 5.4.
>> The loader.rc is told to mount a memory filesystem from ufs formatted
>> disk located at /dev/md0c (a memory disk that is populated from the
>> previous line, a file-based filesystem).
> So, I need to get rid of the set line?
> before I added that (done by rote from googeling) I was getting a panic
> about no init.
>> So your system wouldn't be able to hit sysinstall or the /etc files
>> (as I'm seeing the boot process) to do the install or configuration.
>> Overall, what's to stop you from doing a diskless boot?  the handbook
>> makes it for a multi-PC setup, but for a single setup, it's quite
>> easy.
> I need the stuff on the local disk as it runs an application that needs
> local postgres and other stuff.  Yes, I could put it elsewhere, but it
> would mean flying 5 hours to do it.  Rather just do an upgrade.
>> On 6/18/09, Bruce Ferrell <bferrell at baywinds.org> wrote:
>>> Hi all!
>>> I'm new in these parts, but not new to *nix.  I'm trying to upgrade a
>>> system with FreeBSD 5.4 to 7.2.
>>> I've gotten the pxeboot to work, but somehow the network interface isn't
>>> seen by the installer.
>>> loader.rc:
>>> ===========
>>> include /boot/loader.4th
>>> include /boot/beastie.4th
>>> \ Reads and processes loader.conf variables
>>> start
>>> load /boot/kernel/kernel
>>> load -t mfs_root /boot/mfsroot
>>> set vfs.root.mountfrom="ufs:/dev/md0c"
>>> boot
>>> loader.conf:
>>> ============
>>> mfsroot_load="YES"
>>> mfsroot_type="mfs_root"
>>> mfsroot_name="/boot/mfsroot"
>>> if_bge_load="yes"
>>> I added the if_bge line at that seems to be the module used on 5.4.
>>> Any other leads?
>>> Thanks in advance
>>> Bruce
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