Linux Remote-Boot mini-HOWTO: Configuring Remote-Boot Workstations with Red-Hat Linux, DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95: Discussion

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We here discuss some theoretical issues related to our configuration.

5.1 Bootproms and Hard Disks

Bootproms exist for quite a long time, but they are usually used for diskless computers only. In our opinion, bootproms are even more interesting for computers which have a local harddisk, since they allow to take profit of both sides:

  • A bootprom make the configurations more robust, since it ensure that the computer will always boot the same way, no matter any virus or partition table crash. It can be used, as we did, to cleanup the harddisk even before the operating system is loaded.
  • A local harddisk make the configuration more efficient, since it can reduce the network trafic through caching, and allows for efficient swap.

5.2 Which Bootprom ?

Several bootproms are available for PCs. We had several reason for choosing the TCP/IP Bootprom from Köppen EDV GmbH:

  • It is based on the BOOTP/DHCP protocol, which is publicly defined by RFCs. The definition states that when a BOOTP/DHCP server receives a request from a client that he doesn’t know, the server will not answer. This avoids interferences between multiple servers, as you might sadly experience with the MSD boot server. Moreover, since IP broadcasts are confined to the local subnet, they produce less noise than their IPX counterpart.
  • It is not bound to a specific operating system.
  • Technical informations and API informations are available on request.
  • Home-made boot loader can be written (as we have done)
  • The boot process can be parametrized on many ways. Specifically, it allowed us to forestall floppy boot on old-fashioned AST computers, which BIOS did not include this feature.
  • Tools are provided for building and maintaining boot menus.
READ  Linux Netstation HOWTO

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