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Dear all, I am testing a cluster debian and I want to boot all the client via LAN. I have created a floppy bootROM using NetBoot (and all the instruction ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Diskless workstation


    Dear all,
    I am testing a cluster debian and I want to boot all the client via LAN.
    I have created a floppy bootROM using NetBoot (and all the instruction given by the NetBoot how to).
    The master has installed and configured a dhcp server and a tftp protocol.
    I have created a tagged image for the boot.

    When I tried to boot the slave usinf the floppy bootrom it does not work and the slave pc does not boot via LAN.

    The slave has a 3c905 tx network card.

    I do not know if I made some errors in the configuration or in the procedure.

    Thank you.
    FT

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    First thing I'd look at is did you enable boot from nic in the BIOS? Many BIOSs allow you to turn that on or off, especially if the Nic is on the MB.

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    Yes we have set the boot from Floppy (in the first stage, i.e. in creating the floopy boot rom) and after the boot from LAN (in thw second step).

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    Quote Originally Posted by francesca.tosi
    Yes we have set the boot from Floppy (in the first stage, i.e. in creating the floopy boot rom) and after the boot from LAN (in thw second step).
    Two questions actually. The first, did you look in the BIOS to see if the machine allows booting from LAN?

    2nd given the cost of CDRoms today and the fact that floppies will cease to be even made soon. Why not a CD based distro? In Slashdot I saw where one of the biggest PC parts resellers will no longer even carry floppies on their inventory. Most machines today come without a floppy drive. Failing a CD boot a USB boot device if you have a newer BIOS that allows boot from USB devices. True for some RT applications or specialized hardware this might not be an option. If it is I'd suggest going that way. Both give you considerably more data space and will preclude the need to even connect to LAN except to mount drives and such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Draciron
    Two questions actually. The first, did you look in the BIOS to see if the machine allows booting from LAN?

    2nd given the cost of CDRoms today and the fact that floppies will cease to be even made soon. Why not a CD based distro? In Slashdot I saw where one of the biggest PC parts resellers will no longer even carry floppies on their inventory. Most machines today come without a floppy drive. Failing a CD boot a USB boot device if you have a newer BIOS that allows boot from USB devices. True for some RT applications or specialized hardware this might not be an option. If it is I'd suggest going that way. Both give you considerably more data space and will preclude the need to even connect to LAN except to mount drives and such.

    1- The BIOS af my machine allows booting via LAN.

    2- I agree with you about the future of the IT. But we venture into the construction of a diskless workstation, taking into account all the future hardware (and not anly ...) problems.

    Thank you,
    Francesca

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    Quote Originally Posted by francesca.tosi
    1- The BIOS af my machine allows booting via LAN.

    2- I agree with you about the future of the IT. But we venture into the construction of a diskless workstation, taking into account all the future hardware (and not anly ...) problems.

    Thank you,
    Francesca
    Ok so we've ruled out that the bios is blocking the boot. Next step I'd try is if Debian has a live CD I'd boot from that and see if the nic card is talking. See if you can ping your server. Or you can look at your server logs and see if the machine in question is contacting the Master. Your nic card might be bad. I assume that you just copied the config files from working members of the cluster. Though with DHCP there's not alot that can go wrong in that respect. Long as you can actually see the nic card and the drivers work for it.

    The problem mgiht be the nic card. The hardware might be dead or you might need a driver to get it to even talk to the net.

    Might be the cable you have attached to the card. Always the last thing you check but cat 5 cables do fail.

    The port you have the machine plugged into on the router. Ports do die sometimes.

    Might be the firewall on the Master.

    If you have other machines that work then it's not the firewall. It also rules out things like not having Bind actually running and dchp running.

    If your Master is indeed getting traffic from the slave then you can rule out the hardware issues and drivers issue. It could not talk to the Master at all if that was a problem. If you are not getting anything from the slave then check those aspects. Switch ports to a known good port on the router. Try that just to rule out the port. Try a known good cable. Those are simple and easy things to elimanate as potential problems.

    Next do you have any other machines talking yet? If not is Bind running? Do you have the firewall configured to allow DHCP requests? I'd start looking at the Master to make sure it is actually getting anything from the slave.

    I haven't worked with Debian in a long time but in the really olden days the default firewall required modification on some distros to do DHCP outgoing. Just something to consider and easy to check.

    If you are able to boot into Debian on a live cd and ping the Master, even get a DHCP lease then it's deffinitely in your floppy image.

    You'll want to post you ifcfg-eth0 file in any case. You might have a typo or something. Though strange that your not getting an error message. Makes me think it's the hardware or the driver.

    If you can't see the network using the live CD it's the driver or the nic card itself. Easy enough to slap a known good nic card in there and try that. If Debian doesn't have a live CD try Knoppix, Ubuntu or Fedora's live CDs. Debian might not support that specific nic card. Worth doing a Google search on that Nic card before doing much else and Debian and see if Debian doesn't like your nic card for some reason. Dell likes to use Intel nic cards designed just for Dell. They are sometimes a pain for example. Many distros do not support them out of the box and you have to go to Intel to download a driver.

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