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[20090830] netboot.me - Netbooting over the internet
From the netboot.me homepage: ``netboot.me is a service that allows you to boot nearly any operating system or utility on any computer with a wired internet connection - without having to know ahead of time what you'll want to boot. Once you can netboot.me, you never need to update your boot disk again!

netboot.me works through the magic of netbooting. There are a number of ways to boot a computer with netboot.me. The simplest is to download a bootable image and burn it to a CD, USB memory stick, or floppy disk. Boot off it on any networked computer, and it will automatically fetch the latest boot options from netboot.me and let you choose from dozens of installation, recovery, testing, portable desktop and other tools. You can also start netboot.me from any computer running gPXE, or from any netbootable computer with some simple tweaks to your DHCP server.''

A nice idea, BUT... there's not NetBSD. Yet. Anyone feel like adding it? Drop me a line when it's there! :-) (And maybe make sure it doesn't immediately panic with "ACPI autoload failed - no such file or directory" like that other BSD version there does for me ;)

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[20050517] Playing with PXE - netbooting NetBSD
I always wanted to play a bit with PXE, and I finally borrowed my SO's laptop to do so. I found setting up a PC to netboot NetBSD via PXE pretty trivial with the instructions available. It's really just:

  1. setup tftp, dhcpd and nfs servers
  2. have proper DHCP setup, i.e. include something like this in dhcpd.conf:
     	host pxehost {
     	  hardware ethernet 01:23:45:67:89:ab;    # MAC address of PXE host 
     	  fixed-address 192.168.17.42;            # IP address of PXE host
     	
     	  # stage 1:
     	  filename "pxeboot_ia32.bin";            # relative to /tftpboot
     	
     	  # stage 2:
     	  next-server 192.168.42.1;               # IP of NFS server
     	  option root-path "/nfsroot";            # path on NFS server
     	}

  3. copy pxeboot binary from /usr/mdec to /tftpboot (for boot stage 1)
  4. setup and export root filesystem via NFS (/nfsroot, for stage 2)
  5. tell PC to use PXE
The PC will then issue a DHCP request from which it knows which pxeboot binary to load (via tftp, stage 1), and that binary will then go and load a NetBSD kernel from NFS (stage 2). The NetBSD kernel in turn mounts the root filesystem via NFS, too, and starts /etc/rc as usual.

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Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

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