Subject: Re: Net boot question
To: NetBSD <>
From: Christopher Schultz <>
List: port-cobalt
Date: 11/14/2005 14:16:41
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> I would like to create restore cd like environment
> hosted by windows host. You know for the people that don't have a spare
> unix box.

Maybe I'm missing the point, but the restore CDs don't need a UNIX
environment... they provide their own since they're bootable.

Don't get me wrong... I use windows as my primary computer for desktop
work, and I don't exactly want to shut it down and restart it just to
netboot the cube (or any other device for that matter). I keep a lot of
stuff running all the time and don't restart my computer unless I get a
windoze update that requires it.

Some interesting things to note, however, about netbooting from a
Windows box without disturbing your configuration:

1. You can hibernate your windows box (often by pressing the power
   button on your machine while it's running), boot the restore CD,
   let the Qube do it's thing, and then restart your host computer.
   Windows will come back exactly as you left it.

2. You can use a virtualization package like VMWare (with bridged
   networking) to launch the restore CD and use that as a netboot
   host. I can't recall if I've actually done this... I've restored
   my cube a handful of times but it's been a while.

3. (Your suggestion) Use cygwin and an NFS server to do it. I'd love
   to see a set of scripts that can basically take either an ISO
   image of a restore CD (or use the actual CD itself) and make
   everything available for netbooting.

One potential problem with not booting into a "pure" restore-CD
environment is that you may not be able to control the IP address of the
NFS host. I think that the Qube expects the NFS server to live on the
10.x.y.z network, and my network (for example) uses 192.168.x.y. I fyou
have more information on how the Qube does its netboot host
determination, I'd love to hear about it.

> It gets nfs server name from dhcp server, so I was able to suppy my own server. 

Is this accurate? I've used the restore CD on my own network with my own
DHCP, which has no configuration for NFS. Does the restore CD provide
its own DHCP intended for the Qube's netboot mechanism?

> The other reason I want to do this is to make a generic install/recovery
> platform so I can install and recover my qube with any version of netbsd
> which can be easy updated.

This is great. Often, someone on the list declares that they're going to
publish a set of easy-to-follow instructions that will let someone with
slightly less impressive '1337 h4x0r credentials create their own
restore CD. I can't say that I've been exactly vigilent about following
up on those threats, but I haven't seen a set of "create your own
restore CD" instructions lately.

> Also original restore cd does not support my dell laptop and does
> not support PCMCIA network adapters automatically.

Yeah, this is because they wanted to keep the restore CD as small as
possible, and so picked a very popular set of NICs (3Com and some
others, I think) to build-into the CD. Being able to bundle your own NIC
driver would help a lot.

I'm looking forward to reading the results of your work. Thanks!


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