freebsd tftp server for hetrogenous diskless clients

Daniel Feenberg feenberg at
Mon Jun 14 15:56:46 UTC 2021

On Mon, 14 Jun 2021, tech-lists wrote:

> On Sun, Jun 13, 2021 at 12:02:49PM -0400, Daniel Feenberg wrote:
>> We have more than 30 Linux clients PXE booting from a FreeBSD server. This
>> is not a network install, /bin /sbin etc are NFS mounts.
> Hi Daniel,
> Thanks for confirming this. Can you recommend any guides/how-tos as

I wrote up diskless booting of freebsd clients, but someone else here 
handled booting Linux clients, and hasn't documented the procedure. There 
are some web postings that seem to address this, such as:

I am pretty sure that the Linux client won't care that the DHCP server is 
FreeBSD. I know the freebsd dhcp serve won't care that the files are
> One issue is that there is already a dhcp server active on the router.
> If the freebsd tftp/pxe/nfs server is another dhcp server on the same
> network, they'll clash. How can this be avoided?

Put the Linux configuration information in the FreeBSD DHCP server. That 
information is only the "next-server"  for tftp loading pxelinux. Any DHCP 
server can offer that. For years we had the kernel and root filesystem on 
a propietary NetApp fileserver, now it is on a FreeNAS server - the 
clients don't care.

If for some reason you don't have control of the DHCP server, that would 
be a problem. If you can turn it off, then run your own. If you can 
restrict the MAC addresses it responds to, you could do that and run a 
separate DHCP server for your diskless client. But we boot freebsd and 
linux clients off the same dhcp server, just with different

Daniel Feenberg

> thanks,
> -- 
> J.

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