[rescue] Generic netboot image (Was: Emulators)

David Brownlee abs at absd.org
Tue May 13 15:16:52 CDT 2014

On 13 May 2014 20:52, Steven M Jones <smj+rescue at crash.com> wrote:

Some of you on the list are aware of a VM image with scripting
> specifically to support the oddities of netbooting/installing classic
> SGI systems. DINA (http://dina.harrydebug.org, will deregister at end of
> May but I've mirrored it) has some rough edges I've been meaning to go
> back and fix, but is a lifesaver compared to CD installs. The original
> DINA image is VMware flavored, but I've gotten it running under
> VirtualBox and I think others have done the same for one or two other
> platforms. More info about DINA is available here:
> http://www.nekochan.net/wiki/Using_DINA_for_network_installation_of_IRIX
> DINA can't include the IRIX software, though that's all a user has to
> add. But VM images setup to serve various architectures of free
> operating systems (Linux, *BSD) certainly could. How about a
> netboot/install server for NetBSD that included VAX, SPARC, MIPSco, x86,
> etc? Maybe, like DINA, it's already out there and it just hasn't been
> publicized outside of a given circle. Heck, maybe I'm the only one
> unaware of it. ;)
> Including a runtime environment for IRIX or SunOS within the VM...
> interesting. Distribution of a VM image including the software would
> again be "problematic" - at least from a copyright/IP perspective. But
> technically I don't see why you couldn't serve a SunOS 4 runtime
> environment from an x86 *BSD VM, for example.
> > Are we tending towards the lean single use box, or the kitchen sink
> > approach? Given the relative size of the emulators and modern disk
> > space the latter might make more sense...
> I'd be thinking of netboot/install server images as separate from
> emulators intended for end-users to fiddle with. Maybe that's just an
> old sysadmin reflexively wanting to keep the regular users away from
> where the infrastructure services are running...

I was referring to the 'many emulators' above. I agree that a generic
netboot server is quite distinct from a 'cornucopia of emulators in a box'.
They could be on the same image, but its not necessarily a good fit.

Based on that assumption - I've adjusted the subject to try to keep them in
separate threads...

I like the idea of a generic netboot server image, my thoughts on features

- x86 (initially, though should be possible to build for other
- support as many netboot hardware targets as possible
- include a minimal image for each target hardware (eg: one free kernel and
install ramdisk), but should know how to download many other images
- could be fed cd or cd images of non free OSs and know how to serve them
for netboot/install
- customisable, both at image build and at runtime
- runnable in VM or on bare hardware (USB key)

what do people think?

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