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Diskless client with Debian


A very brief introduction to Debian

If you've been reading Slashdot recently, or the Freshmeat editorials and

following various developments in the world of open source, its difficult

to have escaped the mention of Debian.

So, what is Debian? To quote from the Debian FAQ,

Debian GNU/Linux is the result of a volunteer effort to create a free,

high-quality Unix-compatible operating system, complete with a suite of

applications. The idea of a free Unix-like system originates from the GNU

project, and many of the applications that make Debian GNU/Linux so useful

were developed by the GNU project.

I could keep going on and on about Debian and why it is so cool, but I bet you

already know that. If not, You should check the Debian FAQ which is an

excellent starting point to find out about Debian and its goals.

http://www.debian.org/ is your best starting point.

I've usually found Debian to be the best, when it comes to doing a particular

job quickly. In this article, I'll relate to you my experiences in setting up

diskless workstations using Debian. I assume that you are familiar with debian.

Packages required for the diskless setup

There has already been a very good article by Amit Chattopadhyay on Sept 27,

2000. So, now lets see how using Debian, one can do the job faster and easier.

In this article, any reference to 'server' means the computer that boots off

the diskless workstations, and 'client' of course, is the diskless workstation.

You need the following debian packages to get started :

* diskless # Contains the tools for diskless images

* diskless-image-simple # Contains the skeleton diskless image

* netboot / etherboot # Tools for tagging images and programming EEPROMS

* dhcp / bootp # Allocate IP addresses to clients

* tftp # Used to get the kernel

* nfs-user-server # Serve files using NFS from the server, of course.

* make-kpkg # For compiling the kernel

* bin86 # This somehow isn't satisfied by the dependencies

of make-kpkg, so we add it by hand

You can install the packages with :

# apt-get install netboot diskless tftp netboot bootp nfs-user-server