source: trunk/README-pxemenu

Last change on this file was 184, checked in by ohnielse, 8 years ago

Updates for SYSLINUX version 4.02.
Some obsolete menus (UBC,Ghost) have been removed.

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1
2PXE-menu tools README file
3--------------------------
4
5Author: Ole Holm Nielsen
6        Dept. of Physics, Technical University of Denmark
7        E-mail: Ole.H.Nielsen@fysik.dtu.dk
8
9Version: 1.2
10Date: 15-Oct-2010
11
12Summary
13-------
14
15The PXE-menu tools are used to control the booting of networked computers
16directly from the computer's console at the BIOS level before any operating
17system has been loaded.  This is extremely useful for diagnostic purposes,
18or for selecting an operating system installation method, of an individual
19computer.  If you need to do the same operation on many computers, it is
20better to use the pxeconfig tools (https://subtrac.sara.nl/oss/pxeconfig)
21to control the booting from your network's DHCP/TFTP server.
22
23Additional information
24----------------------
25
26We provide further details on our Linux cluster's homepage:
27https://wiki.fysik.dtu.dk/niflheim/PXE-booting
28
29Prerequisite software
30---------------------
31
32We use some of the SYSLINUX tools for providing the PXE menus in this package, see
33http://syslinux.zytor.com/pxe.php and http://syslinux.zytor.com/menu.php.
34For your convenience the binary files are included with this package, but you can
35also build them yourself by following the instructions in the
36https://wiki.fysik.dtu.dk/niflheim/PXE-booting web-page.
37
38What's included
39---------------
40
41The pxemenu/ directory tree should be copied to your DHCP/TFTP server's
42/tftpboot directory (or wherever your TFTP server has its root directory).
43Please see the file INSTALL-pxemenu for detailed installation instructions.
44
45When your computer has been configured to do a PXE boot, it will automatically
46download the file pxelinux.0 by TFTP and execute it, and pxelinux.0 will
47download configuration files from the pxelinux.cfg/ subdirectory.
48In the pxelinux.cfg/* configuration files are references to files that
49should be downloaded by TFTP, and these files are all relative to the
50top-level TFTP directory.
51
52Here we assume that the file named "default" in pxelinux.cfg/ is a soft-link to
53the default.menu file so that the PXE menus will be loaded.  You could also let
54default.menu be one of the options which you configure by using pxeconfig.
55
56The most important files included in the pxemenu/ directory are:
57
58  pxelinux.0 memdisk Binary files from the SYSLINUX 4.02 which are needed
59         for the usual booting methods.
60  com32/*.c32: A few SYSLINUX 4.02 COM32 files, see the SYSLINUX source doc/comboot.txt.
61  pxelinux.cfg/default.menu: The main PXE menu configuration file which
62         loads all the other PXE menus listed below.
63         The default.menu has a timeout of 5 seconds configured so that you
64         may use the arrow buttons to select options; otherwise the default
65         boot from harddisk will be selected.  This is most likely what you want
66         to do on a Linux cluster for unattended operation, but for other uses
67         the timeout can be commented out so that the menus will wait forever.
68
69Example PXE menu files
70----------------------
71
72In the pxemenu/ directory are a number of examples that you may find useful
73for customizing your own PXE menu configurations.  They are:
74
75  x3455/: Example of PXE menus for an IBM X-series x3455 server.
76  mysystem/: Example of PXE menus for a generic server.
77          Copy this example and modify it for your particular server.
78          IMPORTANT: Always keep all images related to one type of hardware
79          in the same subdirectory so that you don't mix up different hardwares !
80  Tools/: Example of some diagnostics tools, including Memtest86.
81          The vendor disk diagnostics tools you must download yourself
82          (usually copyrighted), see links in tools.conf.
83  centos.conf: Start a CentOS Linux installation.
84
85SystemImager installation with PXE menus
86----------------------------------------
87
88SystemImager installation can be started as shown in the x3455/x3455.conf
89example file.  Each type of hardware is supported in SystemImager by a
90specially generated UYOK (Use Your Own Kernel) vmlinux kernel and
91initrd.img RAM-disk, see http://wiki.systemimager.org/index.php/UYOK.
92
93Therefore you must copy kernel and initrd.img from
94/var/lib/systemimager/images/<IMAGENAME>/etc/systemimager/boot/
95to the subdirectory for your hardware (/tftpboot/x3455/ in the present example).
96
97
98What you must supply yourself
99-----------------------------
100
101The simple PXE menu tools included in this package are just simple but useful
102examples that have proven useful in our Linux cluster and desktop environment.
103You should provide boot images for the tools that you want to run, such as
104vendor firmware upgrade diskettes or Linux installation kernels, for example.
105
106If you want to add a physical DOS boot diskette of your own to the PXE menus,
107you can create an image of the physical diskette by:
108
109  dd if=/dev/fd0 of=myimage.img
110
111(assuming that the diskette drive on your Linux PC is /dev/fd0).
112
113Special hardware issues
114-----------------------
115
116Broadcom network adapters:  It is known that certain Broadcom Ethernet
117adapters are buggy.  If your system hangs while you move up and down the
118PXE menus, then you've probably been hit by this.  Please upgrade the
119firmware on the Broadcom adapter to the latest release.
120
121In the case of IBM X-series servers, you MUST upgrade the Broadcom firmware
122to at least release 2.0.0.
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