NFS-Root Mini-Howto: Booting the workstation

prev-6260572 next-5282358 toc-5313569

As I have not used such a beast myself yet, I can give you only the following tips (courtesy of Christian Leutloff ):

  • You can’t use « normal » bootroms.
  • There is a netboot packet by Gero Kuhlmann, that provides for bootroms for Linux, and further information. netboot is available from the local Linux mirror, or as a Debian package (netboot-0.4).
  • Read the documentation coming with your boot rom carefully.
  • You probably will have to enable the tftpd on the server, but this depends upon your boot rom’s way of loading the kernel.
  • Any informations on bootrom vendors of these Linux variety, mentioned above, as not everybody has access to prom burner 🙁 (especially in europe, as I’m located there.) welcome, I’ll include them then here.

4.2 Using a raw kernel disc

If you have exported the root filesystem with the correct name for the default naming and your NFS server is also the RARP server (which implies that the boxes are on the same subnet.), than you can just boot the kernel by cating it to a disc. (You have to set the root device in the kernel to 0:255.) This assumes, that the root directory on the server is /tftpboot/IP-Address (this value can be changed when compiling the kernel.)

4.3 Using a bootloader & RARP

Give the kernel all needed parameters when booting, and add nfsroot=: where server-ip-addr is the IP-address of your NFS-server, and /path/to/mount is the path to the root directory.


  • When using LILO consider using the « lock » feature: Simply type in once all the correct parameters and add « lock ». Next time when booting let LILO timeout.
  • When generating a workstation specific boot disk, you can also use the append= feature in lilo.conf.

4.4 Using a bootloader without RARP

In addition to nfsroot give a nfsaddrs=:::: commandline argument for the kernel. The kernel will setup eth0 with the given parameters:

READ  Book Review: Networking Printing LG #65


machine’s IP-Address


NFS-server IP-Address






machine name

prev-6260572 next-5282358 toc-5313569