ipxe + EFI loading FreeBSD - should/will this work?

Rick Miller vrwmiller at gmail.com
Sun Feb 25 14:29:27 UTC 2018


On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 11:43 AM, Keve <keve at keve.hu> wrote:

> Hi,
> I am booting several different OSes cleanly with ipxe (http://ipxe.org)
> in both physical as well as virtual environments. The only system
> resisting so far is FreeBSD.
> I can easily boot it from iso (e.g. the excellent mfsbsd isos), but this
> reduces flexibility in giving kernel command line arguments, etc.
> ipxe can boot multiboot kernels on x86, there are traces of multiboot in
> FreeBSD, but I have not succeeded in getting it up. ipxe lacks direct
> support for loading the FreeBSD kernel.
> With the advent of loader.efi I have tried my luck again - with moderate
> success.
> On amd64 I can boot loader.efi as the "kernel" passing kernel command
> line arguments, but any attempt to pass an initial ramdisk fails.
> I tried passing no initrd, a small UFS (40MB) with /boot, a small disk
> image with gpt freebsd-ufs partition (50MB), a big UFS (mfsroot), but I
> consistently get the same result:
> * "Found 1 disk(s) but no logical partition" message, "can't load 'kernel'"
> * lsdev shows only the network card
> * loader.efi tries to nfs mount / on the tftp-server
> The whole point of my investigation was to avoid the nfs-root by
> providing a memory disk.
> Hence my questions:
> Am I missing something in my approach above (some parameter to
> loader.efi that will make it use the memory disk) or some other magic to
> use the memory disk as the root filesystem?
> Are you considering to enrich loader.efi to be able to work with an
> initial ramdisk, if yes, where can I sign up to support the process?
> Any guidance on how to proceed, what to try is highly appreciated.

iPXE can boot an ISO. My use-case simply uses iPXE to load and and boot
FreeBSD's bootonly ISO via HTTP (which is modified to perform OS
installation). IIRC correctly, iPXE had to be recompiled for EFI booting,
but don't recall how as I was not directly involved from that perspective.
FWIW, I too was using mfsbsd disk images previously and switched to the
bootonly ISO due to similar challenges.

Take care
Rick Miller

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