Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Booting From A Network

At this months GTALUG meeting, Scott Sullivan gave a talk and demonstration on setting up network booting using Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) and then using it to install from the network. He explained that PXE capability exists in all PC BIOSes these days and the server side requires both a DHCP server and a TFTP server. The demo up to this point worked well and we were shown the client booting from the network, but when he booted a Fedora Core 12 installation CD, it refused to recognize the projector, so he had to abandon that part of the demonstration.

Finally, Scott explained how he uses net booting and Kickstart to handle Fedora Core upgrades, which are really reinstalls. Apart from automating the install, Kickstart allows him specify the packages he wants added or removed after the install so that he gets exactly the same software after every reinstall. Net booting isn't necessary for this, but it is useful for netbook computers which do not normally have CD drives.

It was an interesting talk and Scott made a good effort to try and demonstrate PXE.

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