Dockerized PXE server
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README.md

pxe-server

This repository contains PXE server that should help in installing, testing and developing operating systems and firmware for PXE-capable platforms.

It was inspired by effort required to test PC Engines apu2 platform.

Usage

git clone https://github.com/3mdeb/pxe-server.git
cd pxe-server
NFS_SRV_IP=<host-pc-ip> ./init.sh

init.sh downloads all necessary files, OS images, PXE and extracts them in proper directories.

init.sh script uses our netboot repository by default. It is the repository it should be paired with.

Please note that init.sh also download prepared Debian boot images. In root directory of those images you can find CHANGELOG document which briefly describe modifications.

APU2 development and testing

Setting up docker container

In order to set up isolated environment for pxe-server with nfs-server and http-boot, just run:

./start.sh

This script builds a container and runs it with correct configuration nfs-kernel-server.

run.sh is a script that runs at container startup, do not use it on Your host PC.

Chainloading over HTTP

In some situation it may happen that TFTP server may be unreliable. There are known network configurations where routers filter tftp traffic. Because of that we decided to switch over to HTTP.

Boot to iPXE and type:

iPXE> ifconf net0
iPXE> dhcp net0
iPXE> chain http://<http-server-ip>:8000/menu.ipxe

Of course please replace <http-server-ip> with address provided during initialization (NFS_SRV_IP).

Select options

Currently supported options are:

  1. Debian stable netboot - it is a Debian Stretch rootfs served over nfs with custom kernel
  2. Voyage netinst - a Voyage Linux network installation image
  3. Debian stable netinst - runs a Debian stable amd64 network installation from external repository
  4. Debian testing netinst - runs a Debian testing amd64 network installation from external repository

The credentials for Debian stable netboot are as follows: login: root password: debian

Those credentials are visible during boot:

Debian GNU/Linux 9 apu2 ttyS0 [root:debian]

apu2 login: 

Robot Framework

Some automation of above process has been prepared. Relevant source code can be found here

Issues

I have encountered issues with network interface configuration. The configuration is retrieved from DHCP 3 times:

  1. In iPXEshell
  2. Before nfs mount during boot time
  3. At system startup (defined in /etc/network/interfaces)

1 and 2 are necessary, 3 is only needed to get internet connection on booted system.

Requesting configuration that many times makes a little mess, so as a temporary workaround add a static IP for the net0/eth0 interface on Your DHCP server. The IP address requested will remain the same and so the problems will be gone too.