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My dedicated hosting provider has a "Netboot" option so people can boot to their own compiled Kernels. How do I do this? I am running Debian-Squeeze (6.0.1), if that's relevant ...
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  1. #1
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    How to netboot to kernel?


    My dedicated hosting provider has a "Netboot" option so people can boot to their own compiled Kernels. How do I do this? I am running Debian-Squeeze (6.0.1), if that's relevant at all.

    Please don't hesitate to ask me for extra information, I'm not lazy or anything, I just wouldn't know where to begin. Not even sure if I need Netboot at all, maybe it's possible with just altering Grub?

    I want to refrain from re-installing the OS, because that would mean moving 500GB here and back again.

  2. #2
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
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    If you just want to try your own kernels, be it different versions and/or features, then configuring/compiling/installing it and then modifying the grub config is enough.
    This page explains the main steps
    FAQ/KernelCompilation - Linux Kernel Newbies


    For completeness sake, as this is probably not neccessary in your case:
    For a network boot you need at least these on the server side:
    - a configured dhcp server
    - a tftp server
    - pxelinux
    - kernel(s) and initial ramdisk(s)
    - e.g. nfs for a diskless setup

    The client aka the machine you want to netboot, needs a network card with PXE.
    This should get you started
    Setting up a server for PXE network booting
    PXELINUX - Syslinux Wiki


    Another point:
    If you partition your harddiscs, so that system and data are on different partitions, then a OS reinstall is relatively painless.
    Last edited by Irithori; 03-02-2012 at 10:07 PM.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    See the documentation for PXE boot. This may help you to understand the issue: Preboot Execution Environment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irithori View Post
    If you just want to try your own kernels, be it different versions and/or features, then configuring/compiling/installing it and then modifying the grub config is enough.
    This page explains the main steps
    So essentially, all I do is "make config" the kernel, then make + make modules_install + make install and then point GRUB to the directory? Is it possible to just get a pre-configured version somewhere? One that has the default Debian-Sqeeze settings maybe?

    Because answering all the "make config" questions will take me hours, and half the time I don't even know what I'm doing. And all I want is the default debian 6 kernel anyway (my dedi host uses a custom one by default).

  5. #5
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
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    Using a standard kernel does not involve compiling at all.
    I am not a debian user, but I believe these two lines should do it:
    Code:
    apt-cache search linux-image
    apt-get install linux-image-<version>
    The first will list all available kernels.
    Choose one and use its name in the second line.
    After an succesfull installation, reboot.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

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    Seems to be working just fine, thanks! Although I do wonder why apt-cache search linux-image only showed 2.6.32-* kernels when the dedi-hoster's custom one was at 2.6.38 . Oh well

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