Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boot Linux Mint via PXE and NFS

Linux Mint is a linux distribution based on Ubuntu, which in turn is based on Debian.

Linux Mint does not use Unity as desktop manager, but instead uses a extended Gnome3 desktop manager with many additions, so it can be used by most peoples.

Naked Unity and Gnome3 desktops are somewhat confusing for normal and experienced users (At least this is how we did see reactions of users)

When you wish to netboot Linux Mint via PXE and NFS you need the following components:

1. A DHCP server which assigns the correct boot options
2. A TFTP server for loading the pxe environment and loading kernel and initrd
3. A NFS server to deliver the normal Mint squashfs

The setup is identical as for net booting ubuntu, you only have to make sure you specify the correct paths.
A typical pxelinux.cfg entry for mint looks like this:

LABEL Linux Mint 12 64-Bit
    kernel mint12-amd64/vmlinuz
    APPEND boot=casper netboot=nfs nfsroot=192.168.1.200:/srv/nfs/mint/12-amd64 initrd=mint12-amd64/initrd.lz --

In this case we have:
- On the tftp server we make a subdirectory called linux12-amd64
- In that directory we put the vmlinux and initrd.lz from the ISO image /casper/ directory
- On the NFS server we just expand the content of the mint iso file into /srv/nfs/mint/12-amd64

It should then work just fine