NFS-Root Mini-Howto: General Overview

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Generally speaking there are the following problems for the workstation:

  • It must find out it’s own IP-address, and if needed also the rest of the Ethernet configuration.
  • It must know the NFS-server and the mount path to it’s root filesystem.

The current implementation of NFSROOT in the Linux kernel (as of 1.3.7x) allows for the following « solutions »:

  • The IP-address may be discovered by RARP, or the full ethernet configuration may be passed to the kernel via kernel parameters by LILO or LOADLIN.
  • The NFS-path to mount can be passed via kernel parameters. If this is not done, the kernel assumes the RARP-server also as NFS-server, and uses compiled in default for the path part. (current default value in the kernel: /tftpboot/.)
  • The client configuration may be discovered by BOOTP.

Before starting to setup a discless enviroment, you should decide if you will be booting via LILO or LOADLIN. The advantage of doing so is flexibility, the disadvantage is speed. Booting a Linux kernel without LILO is faster. This may or may not be a consideration.

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