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Re: Getting started netbooting a NeXTcube

Hi David,

When booting from disk, BOOTP is a critical step to getting on the network, and things like NetInfo won't even work without it.

However, I'm not sure what happens if there isn't a BOOTP response. I assume that the NEXTSTEP OS on disk would still launch, but the network would not function, and all configuration from NetInfo would necessarily be absent.

Since netboot has no disk to fall back on, I'm going to assume that BOOTP is absolutely essential to get working before the netboot can even begin.

I became very familiar with BOOTP while creating my own multi-tier NetInfo hierarchy of NeXTcube, NeXTstation, and even SPARCstation machines. Some of the information is duplicated on multiple machines in case one machine goes down, because things won't boot if the BOOTP server is down. Obviously, I had to toss all that knowledge and learn DHCP with newer systems. I seem to recall that DHCP is a superset of BOOTP, and it might even be true that some or all DHCP servers have the ability to respond to BOOTP requests.

I have very little knowledge of netboot, but I would recommend that you set up a BOOTP server in conjunction / coordination with the netboot server. Once the machine receives a BOOTP response, it will probably then continue on to load the OS from the netboot server.

Just remember: NEXTSTEP is older than DHCP, and certainly older than ZeroConf (Bonjour).


On Sep 26, 2021, at 15:53, David Ross <randomdross00%gmail.com@localhost> wrote:
> Hey port-next68k,
> I've managed to acquire a NeXTcube and I'm playing around with getting
> the old netbsd port up and running on it.  Since it was only ever set
> up to netboot, I'm starting there.  Unfortunately I'm seeing some
> really weird behavior...
> The ethernet network connection seems to work fine.  When I boot up
> via the hard drive, I see it recognizes when it's plugged in and
> attempts to retrieve network configuration.  Sniffing on the network I
> see BOOTP packets.
> However, when I attempt to netboot from the ROM monitor, I'm seeing
> that the network only comes up for a brief period of time, if at all.
> During that time, in some cases a BOOTP packet manages to make it out.
> I haven't gone any further to try to respond to the BOOTP packet yet.
> Any idea what might be causing this behavior, or how it might be
> fixed?  Can anyone attest to what the normal behavior is when
> netbooting?  (I'd expect the network comes up & stays up, and BOOTP
> packets continue to get sent on some interval until there's a
> response.)
> David Ross
> dross%pobox.com@localhost

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