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Old 9th December 2005, 10:27 AM
donn Offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 14
Unhappy Network booting old PCs - to install Linux on them.

(This post was originally on ubuntuforums.org, but I could get no help. I am hoping that there will be better feedback here.)
Hello there,
I have always installed from a CD, but this time there is no CD. Let me describe my setup and then beg for some help. Please understand that I am a network nitwit, I used binary years ago to create sprites on my home computer, but netmasks and subnets all sound like so much fishing-tackle to me!

My main desktop box (DB) is Fedora 3. I want to install Kubuntu onto a very old machine that has no CD ROM drive.

The box on the floor (BOF) is a donation for education in computer literacy. It's literally 10 years old and has never been opened, when I did, it was horrible; an even gray pelt of luxurious dust and hair on all the cards, wires, drives, the motherboard, everywhere. Scary. Needless to say, I don't want to try and plug a CD ROM drive into that mess. I can't risk disturbing the little eco-system balance thing that's going-on in there! Still, it boots and up comes Win95 - amazing.

The BOF has a network-card (and I had to clean the chips to discover it was a Realtek 8019AS.) and 64Mb Ram and a 2gig HDD (I hope these specs will handle Kubu 5.10, but that's another issue)

I fetched the etherboot image from the automated web-form (and I think I matched the network card properly). The BOF boots from the stiffy and starts looking for the network, so that seems good.

My network is like this:
Wireless aerial from my WISP. It has an ethernet cable that comes from the roof and into my little 5-port hub. (A box with flashing lights...BWFL) From the BWFL I have cables going out. One to my DB, on to an Access Point for the XP-Home laptop that roams about. One to the BOF.

I connect to the WISP by VPN on ppp0 over eth0. I use "dhclient eth0" to get an IP address from the WISP.

ifconfig on my DB:
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:20:ED:91:49:5D
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:7666 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3957 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:4312828 (4.1 MiB)  TX bytes:467900 (456.9 KiB)
          Interrupt:11 Base address:0xe400

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:  Mask:
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:295 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:295 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:12005 (11.7 KiB)  TX bytes:12005 (11.7 KiB)

ppp0      Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
          inet addr:  P-t-P:  Mask:
          RX packets:3773 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3021 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:3
          RX bytes:3806677 (3.6 MiB)  TX bytes:246045 (240.2 KiB)
I hope that makes some sense.

Okay, so I am following the steps in the wiki:

I have installed tftpd (which has differing directories to the ones described for Ubuntu, but that's not too bad).

I mount the kubuntu5.10.iso on a loop on /tftpboot/kubu

I have apache running, and I make a symlink in /var/www from to /tftpboot/kubu
PROBLEM 1: I can't seem to go into http://localhost/kubu, but if I make the link inside /var/www/html then I can. Will this be a problem?

Then comes the great debacle - the DHCP-server. Hoo-boy am I up against my ignorance here! It's complete Greek. (Greek would make more sense - apologies to the Greeks out there!)

On Fedora, I installed "dhcp" (not "dhcp3" which was not available on yum). I then created an /etc/dhcp.conf as suggested in the wiki, (had to add a line at the end, hey - it told me to!).

But whatever numbers I use in 'subnet' and 'netmask' I just keep getting errors, even if I make them the same as the ifconfig readout.

Plus, I don't know what 'pxelinux.0' is, but I located it at the address you see below.

Example dhcp.conf file:
ping-check = 1;
filename = "/usr/lib/syslinux/pxelinux.0";
subnet netmask
ddns-update-style ad-hoc;
Now, when I do a "service dhcpd restart" I get messages like this:
No subnet declaration for eth0 (
** Ignoring requests on eth0.  If this is not what
   you want, please write a subnet declaration
   in your dhcpd.conf file for the network segment
   to which interface eth0 is attached. **

Not configured to listen on any interfaces!
And when I change "subnet to netmask" I get:
/etc/dhcpd.conf line 3: subnet netmask bad subnet number/mask combination.

Configuration file errors encountered -- exiting
Well, that's as far as I have gotten this thing. Can anyone enlighten me? Pretty please!
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Old 9th December 2005, 11:59 PM
w5set Offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: ark n saw out in the sticks
Posts: 2,316
read here
but it certainly looks easier to install a cd!!! then what you have done so far...
ecosystem and grass growing or not--I would clean the thing up!!
2 gig hard drive will do a really bare bones gnome install (and you had better be selective at that--the install needs more then just the "program" space--it needs a place to put the install image too)
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Old 10th December 2005, 06:10 AM
donn Offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 14

Okay - maybe it would be easier to go with the CD route, but surely there is a situation where one would run "thin" clients off a server?
Could the DB be the server and the BOF the client?

And when the BOF can login to the server and get some kind of bash prompt, could I not then "suck" then "mount" a CD on the server and install away!

This really is a practical question because the money is tight.

There is no money <- that's tight !

On the resources-front, I think I will clean and combine the two donation boxes I have so that I can have one with two drives and maybe 48Mb RAM and so on. It's for the best as I only have one mouse.

Okay, any thoughts would be great - I thought Linux was super-flexible and network-oriented and could not be stumped!

Last edited by donn; 10th December 2005 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 10th December 2005, 02:02 PM
simonn Offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 44
Posts: 217
http://www.ltsp.org/ ?
"Your attitude reminds me of a hairdresser who wonders why anybody took Einstein seriously with a haircut like that."
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Old 10th December 2005, 03:03 PM
donn Offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 14
Yea...ah - Ok Terminal Server, thin clients I see. Thanks for the link, it's new to me.
I was hoping to keep the focus on the OP and the issues with IP and netmask problems.
I's my fault for mentioning "thin" and "server" - I was just trying to prompt some ideas. So far it's looking like a CD install only world...

I have heard of companies that install to many (dozens, hundreds?) of machines all at the same time - perhaps this is some kind of hard-drive cloning thing?

Is the Net-boot-install-linux thing just a pipe-dream?
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Old 10th December 2005, 07:42 PM
w5set Offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: ark n saw out in the sticks
Posts: 2,316
hummmmm--read here..
I understand $$ limitations--I'm sitting on a bunch right now in my backpocket--but it's that "Holiday Seasons" (politically correct way to say--bah-humbug--it's Christmas time) time of year and I have to buy for others first and I did want to go look/buy that new 64 bit board and processor--but guess next year will bring more $$ to spend on myself...
network installs usually occur with a setup working network with some kind of OS already running (easier usually) or with a setup "server" (look at the thinnet stuff--it's interesting)
but the above link looks like it could help--and ya get the "latest" stuff if using yum/rpm to go fetch it with and don't have the overhead of install-than the update taking 2x as long as the install did..
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Old 11th December 2005, 08:03 AM
donn Offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 14
Well, have a great time spending your savings. Have fun!
Thanks for the info, am following it up as best I can.
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booting, install, linux, network, pcs

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