Long time folks here will have familiarity with my “gaggle of old junk” computer farm. Not being fond of tossing out things that work, and from a “family restaurant” background where you have roast turkey one day, turkey sandwiches the next, then “turkey ala king” and finally turkey soup… BTW, the profit is in the soup and the ‘ala king’… I’m loath to toss out a box just because, say, the DVD drive dies (which they do rather more often than I like).
One box, in particular, that I like is the Compaq Evo (Yes, from before HP bought Compaq…) as it has very little fan noise. Nearly none. Fan noise, at 2 am in particular, drives me up a wall… “A fan is an admission of Engineering Failure. -E.M.Smith”. Why on God’s Earth put a fan in a box when simple physics can fix it? A rotating whirring power consuming failure prone mechanical thing. You don’t see fans in high end stereo gear and it runs at hundreds to thousands of watts. The old “Grid Computer Company” made a hand held with a magnesium case and no fan. With heat pipes and aluminum you can passively, and silently, cool just about any hardware that needs it. Or just design for lower power consumption. The Raspberry Pi does that.
In any case, the Evo is a nice, small, quiet and fairly good CPU box with a nice chunk of memory. It also is my Emergency Windoze Box if for some reason I can’t get a thing done on a Linux machine and simply MUST use a Windows box. It has XP on it, wich I like a lot more than anything since. Though the last time I needed that Windows “feature” was a few years back, there are still a fair number of archived things that I’ve not converted away from MS formats, yet. So I keep it.
It also has / had a very nice DVD RW drive in it. That has started to be “sporadic”. Some days fine, some days ‘No Joy’. As booting from CD / DVD releases was my favorite way to get ‘variety linux distros’ to run, that crimps my style. Knoppix, Puppy, SystemRescue CD, Slitaz, and so many more. Nice for doing “financial things” with a known clean OS / Browser. Nice for general browsing without infestation accumulating. Etc. etc. But with the CD / DVD drive dying, not exactly reliable. About 50:50 right now. It being very ancient, not exactly worth putting money into a replacement drive, either. I can get a whole system for less as the local recycle computers shop Weird Stuff. As I noted here:
Though in the process of trying to boot another of my machines I found that SLAX Linux CD does a nice thing, it has a PXE boot server version on the disk… So I might try just booting that on one of them and call it my PXE server, for now. Eventually I want a R.Pi version PXE boot, but the Evo has, once again, stopped talking to the CD drive, and an update of Debian on it did not fix the “occasionally hangs” due to the video driver having issues, so I need a PXE boot target for it, now. As a ‘quick fix’ it would let me get the Evo running (hopefully more stable) and get more experience with the PXE set up process and use. Then that Pi solution can take it’s own time.
Well, without the CD working that SLAX CD didn’t help much. The Antek / ASUS 64 bit box had problems with the disk interface, moving the disk to the second spigot fixed it, for a while… so it’s not a good candidate (and makes noise like a 60 MPH wind tunnel from the fan…) it, too, to become a ‘boot from PXE’ box as that disk is failing.
So I decided to make it a PXE Boot machine. Pre Execution Environment – aka netboot – aka booting over the network.
So I was left with “Then that Pi solution can take it’s own time.” Which time had come. So I set about working on it. A bit more sedately than usual (my motivation was fine, but my ambition was lacking… and some Apple Cider was calling my name, and the TV was teasing me with Mr. Robot and some nice movies on HBO…) Besides, At each step I needed some “think time”. So that’s where I’ve been the last couple of days. Finally deciding to just “push through it” and not do other things until done.
Normally, I’ll just do a web search for folks posting on what they did, ‘gotchas’ they encountered, tricks and methods. Then make up my own recipe if one of them doesn’t stand out as clear and clean. Often there is one stellar example and you can just ‘cook book’ off of it.
Turns out that was a bit more of an adventure than I’d expected. PXE isn’t a service so much as a bag of tools and part of the raw materials you need. Everybody using different parts to build a different structure. Like so many things in the world of people, strongly diverging from the UNIX Way of “do one thing and do it well” (that also means doing it clearly), PXE boot tries to be many things to all people, so “it just growed” into a bit of a mess. At some point I’m going to come back and put up some of the half dozen links to ‘other ways to do it’ that I explored.
For now, I’m just going to “stream of consciousness” put some notes down here. The “Here There Be Dragons” bits.
General Macro Issues
The first thing you run into is the general attitude of postings. PXE boot is something used by SysAdmins in large shops to deploy / configure a hundred machines at a crack. The postings that I found are generally not oriented toward the home gamer with just one box to bring up. So they are terse, leave out a lot of stuff that “the experienced Sys Admin will know”, and revel in offering dozens of options that you might need in a huge shop, but are irrelevant for a shop of a half dozen boxes. Things like how to configure a dozen different architectures of machines with selection of OS to install via MAC address or IP address or HW Class or … Generally NOT just a “get the box working quick”.
Then there is the “go hunt” attitude. For example, you find that you need to put “pxelinux.0” in a particular directory. Where do you get “pxelinux.0”? “Go Fish!”. Eventually you find it is at the SYSLINUX web site. And you can download their tarball and unpack it… and it does have preconfigured binaries for x86 boxes. Somewhere in the file system tree…
Then there are the endless variations of DNS Server,DHCP, TFTP / FTP server, and even HTTP server possible. Originally designed for “Trivial File Transfer Protocol” TFTP, some folks wanted other protocols with higher security or the wiz-bang feature of using a web server to serve their OS. So various reference pages use different DNS configs for different DNS server types. Some Microsoft centric. Some use THE most complicated DNS / DHCP services on the planet. All configured differently and all using somewhat different commands and syntax.
I chose to simplify a lot of that by using “dnsmasq”. It is a ‘lightweight’ DNS, DHCP, TFTP server, but for being “lightweight” has a few hundred levers to pull and settings to set. Now you can ignore 99% of them. But which 99%? Oh, you get to learn about a lot of the others to decide to ignore them…
Lucky for me, I’d already done some dnsmasq setup for my Pi Model B DNS server that blocks ads, so I wasn’t starting from scratch.
Then you get to the PXE Boot part… and again a hundred and one settings. Worse, some can be defaults, some are set in dnsmasq as forced options, or they can be set in various files and flags in the PXE tftp name space. Or some combination of all that. In short, at least 3 places you can set things and they interact. Lord save me from folks adding “feature creep” with multiple places to set ONE configuration. It just cries out “Confusion and conflicts ahead!”… here there be dragons…
So the major part of the workload is just cutting out a lot of that redundant, unnecessary, confounding, weedy crap and finding just what little bit DOES matter and where to get it.
Oh, and most of the path names for directory structure is user configurable so every web page has a different idea of what all the name space ought to be. This can lead to ‘leveling’ issues, and one bit me. Things ‘base’ off of where pxelinux.0 is located, and I got one of the things ‘off by one’ and put files/Puppy in a place that needed /Puppy… that was an hour or two.
So I’m going to leave out a lot of wandering in circles and sorting out useless complications and focus on “what does it take to get PXE up on a Raspberri Pi?” Suited for use with older hardware (i.e. not exploring how to make it ‘go’ with UEFI machines) and with Puppy in particular and direct booting live CD / DVD .iso’s without burning them to a CD.
Syslinux / pxelinux.0
This drove me around the bend for a while. Some pages saying to take it from Their Special Place and others complaining that some releases, like Ubuntu, seemed to have different versions or changed in some way. Others admonishing that all the bits have to match or Bad Things Happen. Since one end goal is to PXE boot some raspberry Pi images too, that they were all using x86 or AMD64 binaries didn’t please me. Since I was running this as server ON a Pi, compiling from source for the PC was not an option I wanted to follow. Many hours pondering and wandering in the desert followed… This is made much much worse by the way SYSLINUX, ISOLINUX and PXELINUX are freely intermingled in most of the pages and docs. All made by the same folks, with the clear dominant use being SYSLINUX as a generic boot loader. PXELINUX a ‘glue on’ afterthought. So you get to wade through dozens of pages of stuff about all sorts of irrelevant SYSLINUX features and options and requirements, only to find out PXELINUX may not need them. Thus the odd .c32 and related files still lying around in my current configuration. Likely not needed and I drug them in when things were NOT working to see if “maybe that will fix it”.
So, you get syslinux from here:
but only for the recent development version.
The latest official version of Syslinux can be downloaded in .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.xz, and .zip formats from kernel.org. This download includes both the source and official pre-compiled binaries that should work for most users (See also Official Binaries). Version changes are available in the .LSM files.
The Syslinux download includes PXELINUX, ISOLINUX and MEMDISK as well.
Official Testing versions (aka pre-release), when available, can be downloaded from:
It does have the helpful note:
At least SuSE, Mandriva, and Ubuntu use a version of SYSLINUX modified with a patch called “gfxboot”. This is a highly invasive and unsupported modification of SYSLINUX. Please avoid these versions if possible.
As of 2010-10-19, Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) uses Syslinux 4.01 with GFXBoot.c32 (now officially included) and includes several special patches to allow gfxboot to use some configuration directives that were originally intended to be used only with the Simple Menu modules (menu.c32/vesamenu.c32). Some patches are upstreamed, but some of them might not.
So Ubuntu will be later in my PXE boot additions…
Then it sends you off to a different link to actually get the download you most likely want:
This kind of “wade through three things and four links to get to the actual place you wanted” is pervasive in the whole SYSLINUX / PXELINUX design and web pages and more. Royal PITA and clearly a difference between “bootloader people” and “UNIX guys”…
FWIW, there is a watershed at about 5.0 release. That’s where the whole UEFI extension was added. SYSLINUX breaks up into several different forks then and the files multiply like rabbits. Then you must pick the RIGHT version for your system. BIOS vs UEFI vs… and 32 vs 64 bit hardware. This, then, reflects into the PXELINUX area…
Despite that, I chose a recent 6.x release and and odd number (even are often ‘feature releases’ in the land of *nix and the odd releases ‘bug fixes’ for those features…) then download it. Copy it to the working directory for syslinux and unpack it. I chose the .gz compression version just because the .xz is not as easy to type… I also snagged a slightly older one, just in case. Unpacked with something like “tar -xvzf syslinux-6.03.tar.gz” it makes it’s own directory.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux# cd syslinux root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux# l syslinux-5.10 syslinux-5.10.tar.gz syslinux-6.03 syslinux-6.03.tar.gz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux# ls -l total 19496 drwxrwsr-x 29 11341510 501 4096 Jun 4 2013 syslinux-5.10 -rw-r--r-- 1 chiefio chiefio 8281150 Jul 14 01:31 syslinux-5.10.tar.gz drwxrwxr-x 33 1026 1026 4096 Jul 14 00:18 syslinux-6.03 -rw-r--r-- 1 chiefio chiefio 11671940 Jul 13 22:53 syslinux-6.03.tar.gz
Once you go inside, you find a nice dense forest of all sorts of stuff, almost all of it not what you wanted. Where’s pxelinux.0? Nobody seems to tell you…
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux# cd syslinux-6.03 root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux/syslinux-6.03# l bios core dos efi32 gnu-efi linux mbr mtools sample version win64 codepage devel dosutil efi64 gpxe lzo memdisk NEWS syslinux.spec version.pl com32 diag dummy.c extlinux libfat Makefile mime now.pl txt win6 COPYING doc efi gen-id.sh libinstaller man mk README utils win32
Now if you happen to be an experienced sys admin, which is their target audience, no worries. But for the home gamer, it’s opaque. I poked around for about 5 minutes thinking I’d have good intuition about where it ought to be. No joy. Why? “Because a find is a terrible thing to waste!” of course! ;-)
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux/syslinux-6.03# find . -name pxelinux.0 -print ./bios/core/pxelinux.0
Now in the world of Unix, naming ANY file “core” is a Very Bad Idea. IF you are running a program, and it crashes, it dumps a file named “core” in your present working directory. It is just asking for that file to be nuked. Here, they have a whole directory named “core”. Sigh. Any experienced sys admin or sys prog would generally presume that ‘core’ was a left over core file and ignore it. (I have no idea what happens if I’m running a program as ‘root’ and it core dumps AND there is a directory named ‘core’ in that space…)
Yet there it is. OK, snag a copy and put it in your PXEboot root tree…
Now at one time I thought I might need the lslinux.c32 file. Why? Because when attempting to PXEboot I’d get the DHCP done, and then the prompt menu, and then it would crap out saying it didn’t find ‘ldlinux.c32’. So I added it. And that didn’t fix it. I suspect a SYSLINUX error message from the boot process. I’ll be removing it later to see if it is really needed… BUT, in case anyone wants to know where to find it… My guess is that pxelinux.0 has that inside of it, but that the error message doesn’t know that. at any rate, changing the place where pxelinux.0 was located in the file system name space made boot work and the error message go away.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/syslinux/syslinux-6.03# find . -name ldlinux.c32 -print ./bios/com32/elflink/ldlinux/ldlinux.c32
The “elf’ is one “object file format” for assembler language. Others are a.out and more. They make several versions of ldlinux and you need the one for your object format, which they then name with the .c32 suffix and put in a com32 directory…
Similar find commands can be used to find any other bits you might need for whatever you choose to do…
The key take away here is just that you need to download this tarball and compile to get the one for the Raspberry Pi chip, or do a find to get the one for the right Intel chip and assembler combo for your PC hardware. (Learning that cost me about 4 hours…)
DHCP DNS FTP TFTP dnsmasq
Originally I’d thought of setting up the Pi with a WiFi dongle and having it be the router to my WiFi network as well. Due to some bad behaviour at boot time with my WiFi dongle, I scrubbed that (at a cost of 1/2 a day…) All the more frustrating as this particular SD chip had been working as my emergency router to the hotspot… I suspect maybe a different dongle has confused it, or the wifi software was not happy booting without the hotspot in existence. At any rate, it was taking 1/2 hour or so to boot, so I just started turning things off. Unplugging the dongle, I got to where I could config it (and another few hours gone…) and took the easy way out. The old D-Link spare WiFi router from the parts box. I shut off DHCP on it, and use the Pi for DHCP. It also provides a “hub” function so the stand alone ethernet hub went into the parts box. (Who knows how much time saved… yeay!!)
Many of the ‘how to’ pages go out of their way to explore the intricacies of leaving your present router as your DHCP source via indirection configuration. As I wanted a very private network behind its own router, that didn’t interest me… but did keep getting in my face…
FWIW, this site has a nice write up for dnsmasq with ubuntu:
For the dnsmasq config, I’m just going to ‘diff’ the old and new. Realize that I’m still playing with “menus”. I’ve shut off the ones from dnsmasq, but not yet got the ones from files in the pxe-root working as desired. Oddly, this results in a boot prompt on the EVO where just typing “Puppy” works, as the pxelinux.cfg is ‘correct’ for Puppy.
This may have some artifacts and junk in it, but is still illustrative. The actual file has a LOT more lines in it (678) and most of them are comments or command commented out. Since dnsmasq handles all of DNS, DHCP, TFTP and PXE stuff, showing all that in one go is likely best. This is NOT an ideal layout, but is a test / working layout. Final production gets a cleaning and preening pass and the ‘pxe root’ will end up on a USB dongle as something like /PXE/boot_files.
For those unfamiliar with ‘diff’ output, it gives the line number of the change, then gives the ‘out’ and ‘in’ as angle brackets. Since wordpress will try to steal anything between those as HTML, Im changing them to O and I. This is showing what changed between the old basic dnsmasq config, and the one working now as a DNS, DHCP, TFTP and PXE boot server.
I MAKE NO REPRESENTATION THAT THIS IS IDEAL, OR EVEN VERY GOOD. It was “hacked together on the fly” as the base router when AT&T service suddenly died. I just “got it to work” and moved on. I’m sure there is plenty of tuning and preening that could be done.
This first batch mostly protects against some odds and ends of bad practice. Like not forwarding partial domain names for resolution (i.e. don’t do a DNS lookup ‘forward’ out of your network on ‘servername’ without a .foo.bar part) and don’t forward 192 and 172 and 10. block addresses) Lines with a # at the start, like “#resolv-file=/etc/resolv.dnsmasq” are commented out. This one shows where I was testing using an external file for my resolver listing of hosts names to kill, then changed my mind and went to ‘in line’ (see down below). Note that there is copious description of all of these in the dnsmasq.conf file, so I’m not going to explain them all here.
diff dnsmasq.old.conf dnsmasq.conf 19c19 O #domain-needed --- I domain-needed 21c21 O #bogus-priv --- I bogus-priv 30c30 O #filterwin2k --- I filterwin2k 34c34 O #resolv-file= --- I #resolv-file=/etc/resolv.dnsmasq 46c46 O #no-resolv --- I no-resolv 50c50 O #no-poll --- I no-poll 54c54,63
Here is my list of name servers. The old router had been 192.168.0.1, but that changed when it died. It looks like I need to take that out. 192.168.0.253 is my Pi filtering DNS, while .254 is the AT&T box (that I likely ought to deprecate at this level). IF it gets stuck, it can go looking in The Big Bad World on the other servers. Due to Google being “Less Than Trustworthy”, I’ve commented out their 220.127.116.11 server.
O #server=/localnet/192.168.0.1 --- I #server=127.0.0.1 I server=192.168.0.253 I server=192.168.0.254 I server=18.104.22.168 I server=192.168.0.1 I #server=10.11.11.254 I server=22.214.171.124 I #server=126.96.36.199 I
Then, after a couple of ‘junk lines’ we get into the list of domains to ‘ground’ to my own local web server that just says “It Worked!” instead of a load of ads and tracking… This is a partial list…
I #server=/localnet/192.168.0.253 67c76,121 O #address=/double-click.net/127.0.0.1 --- I I address=/website-error.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/double-click.net/127.0.0.1 I address=/.chartbeat.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/packages-seo.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.doubleclick.net/127.0.0.1 I address=/doubleclick.ads.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.pixel.quantserve.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.bluekai.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.ubertags.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.google-analytics.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.googlesyndication.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/googleusercontent.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/l.google.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.l.google.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.ads.google.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.googleapis.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.googletagservices.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.facebook.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.twitter.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/amazonaws.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.amazonaws.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.moatads/127.0.0.1 I address=/.microsoft.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.bing.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.medianetadvertizing.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.doubleverify.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.akadnds.net/127.0.0.1 I address=/.gravatar.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.adnxs.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.advertizing.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.godaddy.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.adadvisor.net/127.0.0.1 I address=/.adtechus.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.simpli.fi/127.0.0.1 I address=/.amazon-adsystem.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.criteo.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.mathtag.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.adform.net/127.0.0.1 I address=/.asdrvr.org/127.0.0.1 I address=/.adsymptotic.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.chango.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.rfihub.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.sitescout.com/127.0.0.1 I address=/.akadns.net/127.0.0.1 90c144
Customize to my own domain name inside the office, and use the ethernet port for DNS DHCP.
O #interface= --- I interface=eth0 119c173 O #expand-hosts --- I expand-hosts 128c182 O #domain=thekelleys.org.uk --- I domain=chiefio.global 141c195
This part starts DHCP services, sets up default routers and assigns address ranges. Numbers to be changed to whatever you use.
O #dhcp-range=192.168.0.50,192.168.0.150,12h --- I dhcp-range=188.8.131.52,184.108.40.206,48h 311c365 O #dhcp-option=option:router,220.127.116.11 --- I dhcp-option=option:router,18.104.22.168 331c385 O #dhcp-option=42,0.0.0.0 --- I dhcp-option=42,0.0.0.0 364c418 O #dhcp-option=252,"\n" --- I dhcp-option=252,"\n" 396c450 O #dhcp-option-force=208,f1:00:74:7e --- I dhcp-option-force=208,f1:00:74:7e 398c452 O #dhcp-option-force=209,configs/common --- I dhcp-option-force=209,configs/common 400c454
Here, DHCP starts to interact with PXE. I played with forcing the PXE root directory, but decided to leave it alone for now. Letting it default to the TFTP root (see below). The “pxe-service” lines force PXE menu lines for boxes of the type “x86PC”. They worked, but I’ve commented them out as I’m working on that files based menu config. For a first bring up, using lines like them is fine.
O #dhcp-option-force=210,/tftpboot/pxelinux/files/ --- I #dhcp-option-force=210,/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files 408c462 O #dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0 --- I dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0 446c500 O #pxe-service=x86PC, "Install Linux", pxelinux --- I pxe-service=x86PC, "Run / Install Linux", pxelinux 465c519
Here we turn on TFTP service. “Someday” it will become shorter on that USB dongle…
O #enable-tftp --- I enable-tftp 468a523 I tftp-root=/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files
I made cache size and timeouts bigger as I wanted more persistent DNS caching. Especially when it was routing over the WiFi Hotspot…
520c575 O #cache-size=150 --- I cache-size=10000 525c580 O # Normally responses which come form /etc/hosts and the DHCP lease --- I # Normally responses which come from /etc/hosts and the DHCP lease 530c585 O #local-ttl= --- I local-ttl=10000 537c592 O #bogus-nxdomain=22.214.171.124 --- I bogus-nxdomain=126.96.36.199
You might be wondering what that last line is about. I’m just going to quote the comments in the dnsmasq.conf file. It is a good exmple of their stuff anyway:
# If you want dnsmasq to detect attempts by Verisign to send queries
# to unregistered .com and .net hosts to its sitefinder service and
# have dnsmasq instead return the correct NXDOMAIN response, uncomment
# this line. You can add similar lines to do the same for other
# registries which have implemented wildcard A records.
Just shutting of yet another data leak…
Puppy In Particular
For Puppy, there is an added complication. Puppy uses an ‘odd’ structure where it writes out information to a .sfs file AND reads it in at startup. So when you get the kernel to boot, it still wants that file. It then proceeds to hunt for it on any disk it can find. To stop this, you must bundle it into the initial RAMdisk in memory. This page had a decent formula for it, but there may well be better. I followed a slightly different path, that also worked.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# pwd /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files
Note that my prompt includes a listing of what directory I am in. I’m running as root (superuser) and the # shows that too. It saves a LOT of typing “sudo blah“.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# ls ldlinux.c32 memdisk Puppy pxelinux.0 pxelinux.cfg
So I stuck a ldlinux.c32 here at one point, thinking it was the problem. It wasn’t, so likely needs to be removed. My ‘tftp’ directory is “/WD/ext/pxelinux/files” and that is where pxelinux.0 goes. In here is also the pxelinux.cfg directory where you put the directions for PXE to follow. I made a directory named ‘memdisk’ preparatory to the bring up of an iso image boot (later) and a Puppy directory for my particular Puppy release.
After editing the dnsmasq settings “this time for sure” you must restart it. This is a SystemV Init box, not Systemd. If running systemd, you are on your own for the service starting.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# service dnsmasq restart [ ok ] Restarting DNS forwarder and DHCP server: dnsmasq.
Here’s what my owenership and permissions look like at present. They can likely be tightened up considerably, later. Perhaps via a PXEboot user who owns things…
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# ls -ld . drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Jul 14 01:34 . root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# ls -l * -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 122308 Jul 14 01:34 ldlinux.c32 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 26140 Jul 14 01:12 memdisk -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 46909 Jul 14 00:09 pxelinux.0 Puppy: total 2852 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1287530 Jul 13 16:45 initrd.gz -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1627180 Jul 13 16:45 vmlinuz pxelinux.cfg: total 8 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 257 Jul 14 01:14 default -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 234 Jul 14 01:13 old.default
The “default” file in pxelinux.cfg directory is where you put your recipe of what is to be done. You can make dozens of layers of other recipes, too. Complicaions on complications. Just ignore them.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/pxelinux.cfg# df Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on [...] /dev/loop0 103422 103422 0 100% /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy /dev/loop1 713980 713980 0 100% /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Knoppix /dev/loop2 660480 660480 0 100% /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Debian /dev/loop3 164418 164418 0 100% /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Slacko
To make things easier, I’ve mounted several CD .iso images as file systems. Lets me root around inside them if I like. You can also see what else is going into my PXE Boot server over the next few days ;-)
Here’s the /etc/fstab entries for those mounts:
# Mount ISO Images as disk <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> # /WD2/ext/pxelinux/isos/puppy-4.2.1-MULTIUSER-r3.iso /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy udf,iso9660 ro,user,loop 0 0 /WD2/ext/pxelinux/isos/debian-7.8.0-i386-xfce-CD-1.iso /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Debian udf,iso9660 ro,user,loop 0 0 /WD2/ext/pxelinux/isos/slacko-5.7-NO-pae.iso /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Slacko udf,iso9660 ro,user,loop 0 0 /WD2/ext/pxelinux/isos/KNOPPIX_V7.0.5CD-2012-12-21-EN.iso /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Knoppix udf,iso9660 ro,user,loop 0 0
One must also make the directories as mount points, so here’s what the name space looked like after that:
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux# ls Debian files isos Knoppix pup_421.sfs Puppy Slacko syslinux TESTING_menus
The iso images are in ‘isos’ and they get mounted on a directory with their name in it. The directory “files” is where I finally landed the start point for PXE boot (and likely needs to be ‘up leveled’ to a shorter path name in the final version). The directory ‘syslinux’ was where I unpacked the syslinux download to extract the needed file(s?). I’m still working on the whole menus thing, so they are set aside at the moment with the TESTING prefeix… That whole interaction of “menus from files” vs menus from dnsmasq… That “pup_421.sfs” file is just ‘passsing through’ on its way from the iso image to the ‘final initial ram disk’ that is accurate in an oxymoronic kind of way…
Essentially, this shows my workspace layout. Syslinux unpacked in one directory. Isos as isos in another. Mounted where it’s easy to rummage around in them AND they are inside the tftp export space if for some reason I need that. All the actual PXE working bits in the ‘files’ space as I whacked on it to to get it to go.
Here is where I went into the CD image and pulled out that .sfs file and moved it ‘up one’:
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/pxelinux.cfg# cd /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy/ root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy# l boot.cat boot.msg help.msg initrd.gz isolinux.bin isolinux.cfg logo.16 pup_421.sfs vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy# ls /WD2/ext/pxelinux Debian files isos Knoppix Puppy Slacko syslinux TESTING_menus root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy# cp pup_421.sfs .. ls .. root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy# ls .. Debian files isos Knoppix pup_421.sfs Puppy Slacko syslinux TESTING_menus root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy# cd ..
That way I’m not at risk of messing up anything. Yes, the iso is read only and mounted read only, but paranoia knows no bounds… so I made a copy (later to be deleted… scratch disk is free).
Next we go into that PXE files Puppy directory where you can see that I’ve already got a copy of the vmlinuz kernel and the initrd.gz initial RAM disk. Now we need to glue onto it that .sfs file…
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux# cd files root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# ls files ldlinux.c32 memdisk Puppy pxelinux.0 pxelinux.cfg root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# cd Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls initrd.gz vmlinuz
I’m going to do the work in /tmp. That’s on the SD card. It would likley be better to do it on the hard disk, but habit is comforted by the /tmp path name…
First we look around to make sure we are not doing to step on anything. Then make a working directory and do the “unpack merge repack’ on the intird.gz file. Again, I’m making copies so the original copies are intact. I’ll delete them later.
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls /tmp cKpNC8hq.part serverauth.J6jRRzXQn0 ssh-fmlNhwZBCwcw root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# mkdir /tmp/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# pwd /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls initrd.gz vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# cp initrd.gz /tmp/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls .. files ldlinux.c32 memdisk Puppy pxelinux.0 pxelinux.cfg root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls ../.. Debian files isos Knoppix pup_421.sfs Puppy Slacko syslinux TESTING_menus root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# cp ../../pup_421.sfs /tmp/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# cd /tmp/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls initrd.gz pup_421.sfs
So this puts the two files that need a merge in one temp directory where I can play with them. We then make a working directory inside that one. Yes, you could cut out half of these copies and moves and still be fine. The original originals are still on the CD iso. But my habit of always flowing away from the pure source was set in Chem Class… you never back contaminate…
The process is pretty simple. The initrd.gz file is a compressed cpio archive. We uncompress it, take it out of cpio format, add the .sfs file, then put it back in a cpio archive.
root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# mkdir working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls -ld working drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jul 14 18:07 working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# chmod 777 working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# cd working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# mv ../initrd.gz ../initrd.gz_old root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# zcat ../initrd.gz_old | cpio -i 3754 blocks root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# l bin init proc pup_ro1 pup_ro12 pup_ro15 pup_ro18 pup_ro20 pup_ro3 pup_ro6 pup_ro9 README.txt tmp dev lib pup_new pup_ro10 pup_ro13 pup_ro16 pup_ro19 pup_ro21 pup_ro4 pup_ro7 pup_rw sbin var etc mnt PUPPYVERSION pup_ro11 pup_ro14 pup_ro17 pup_ro2 pup_ro22 pup_ro5 pup_ro8 pup_z sys root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# cp ../pup_421.sfs . root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# find . | cpio -o -H newc | gzip -9 > ../initrd.gz 203970 blocks
That’s it. Now we swap that initrd.gz in for the old one. (At this point, I’d already gotten the PXE boot to try booting Puppy, but it failed on that missing .sfs file, so this whole process was after hitting that wall…) Again, my usual overly careful “move to the side don’t delete until the end” so I end up with two “old” copies (in addition to the one on the iso…), verfy all the files are where I think they are, then make the move. All this could be shortend to one move command.
root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy/working# cd .. root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls initrd.gz initrd.gz_old pup_421.sfs working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy initrd.gz vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# mv /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/initrd.gz /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/Old_initrd.gz root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls -l initrd.gz_old /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/Old_initrd.gz -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1287530 Jul 14 18:03 initrd.gz_old -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1287530 Jul 13 16:45 /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/Old_initrd.gz root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls -l total 201716 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 102749687 Jul 14 18:13 initrd.gz -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1287530 Jul 14 18:03 initrd.gz_old -rwxr--r-- 1 root root 102510592 Jul 14 18:04 pup_421.sfs drwxrwxrwx 37 root root 4096 Jul 14 18:12 working
the actual move…
root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# mv initrd.gz /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/ root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy/ initrd.gz Old_initrd.gz vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls /WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy/ boot.cat boot.msg help.msg initrd.gz isolinux.bin isolinux.cfg logo.16 pup_421.sfs vmlinuz
Then I clean up by removing the stuff in /tmp.
root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# pwd /tmp/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls initrd.gz_old pup_421.sfs working root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# rm -rf working/ root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# rm * root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# ls root@RaPiM2:/tmp/Puppy# cd .. root@RaPiM2:/tmp# pwd /tmp root@RaPiM2:/tmp# ls cKpNC8hq.part Puppy serverauth.J6jRRzXQn0 ssh-fmlNhwZBCwcw root@RaPiM2:/tmp# rmdir Puppy/
Again, all that could be shortened to “rm -rf /tmp/Puppy” in the blind… but I don’t like flying blind…
Then I clean up those excess “old” copies (after the PXE boot actually worked ;-)
root@RaPiM2:/tmp# cd /WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls initrd.gz Old_initrd.gz vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# rm Old_initrd.gz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls initrd.gz vmlinuz root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/Puppy# ls -l total 101936 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 102749687 Jul 14 18:13 initrd.gz -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1627180 Jul 13 16:45 vmlinuz
CD .iso images for Live CDs
The next step will be getting a “Live CD” image to boot. I’m basically going to follow the guide here:
as it looks like a well written and clean process.
In the file /var/lib/tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default, add this menu entry. Replace the ISO and menu labels accordingly.
menu label WDE Recovery
append iso initrd=other/SymantecEncryptionDesktop10.3.0MP1Win32_WDE_Recovery.iso raw
I’ve already got the memdisk part done, and it does boot memdisk, so all I need to do now is add the iso file in the append line.
Here’s my pxelinux.config file as of right now (note short on menu stuff…)
root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files# cd pxelinux.cfg root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/pxelinux.cfg# ls default old.default root@RaPiM2:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/files/pxelinux.cfg# cat default menu title PXE Boot Menu by EMS label Puppy menu label Puppy kernel Puppy/vmlinuz append initrd=Puppy/initrd.gz method=nfs:188.8.131.52:/WD2/ext/pxelinux/Puppy lang=us keymap=us ip=dhcp noipv6 label memdisk menu label memdisk kernel memdisk
I’m not sure that “method -nfs” is actually doing anything at this time… it was another debugging attempt…
Still To Do
Clean it up. I’ve left all sorts of non-harmful but untidy bits laying around.
Get better files based menus working right.
Move the TFTP directory onto a USB Stick (so it doesn’t need a USB Hub to power the hard disk). For this, I need to empty one of my USB sticks… Most likely the PNY that isn’t too swift on writes, but is OK on reads. It presently holds a Centos copy that I was using with a Plop boot CD to run on the EVO, but that now I can’t get to reliably via that CD… So a prime candidate for PXE boot instead.
Assure it boots headless correctly so I can just power up and go without moving my monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. from my desktop Pi onto it. This will be my second “infrastructure Pi”, but one that doesn’t need to be “up” all the time so will need to take power on cycles in the blind.
Then write a script to rebuild one from scratch (and test it) without all the fumbling and drama. MUCH easier now that I’ve got a working copy. Oh, and I need to clone the Chip to disk as a backup while I’m at it…
But for now, I’m just going to “pop a cool one” (home brew cider ;-) and catch up on some web page reading and comments … maybe from that new Puppy running on the Evo ;-)