Diskless client with Debian
installations for machine-specific stuff like /, /etc, /var etc.
To create the basic image, you will need the following:
base2_2.tgz is available on any Debian installation CD or Debian archive
online. (The first one). You would usually find it in
In case of 'potato' (The recent stable release from Debian), this would be :
The other package, diskless-image-simple, we just got using apt-get. Put both
of these in the same directory and then run
It will ask you a few questions, which you should reply to carefully, as they
will be used by all the clients. You should try to use the default paths
unless you have a reason, as this makes things easier. After this, a base
image is created, usually in /var/lib/diskless/default. This is the NFS-Root
Image. We will now assume that this directory is $NFS-Root.
This doesn't install a kernel. To do that, change to the directory $NFS-Root.
# dpkg --root imagedir --install kernel-image-*.deb
The NFS-Root image directory has to be NFS-exported. You can find a sample
entry in $NFS-ROOT/etc/diskless-image/exports. Simply add it to your
Add and remove any packages or files from this NFS Root image as per your
taste. For instance, you might want to add the /etc/XF86Config, if all your
workstations are homogeneous and other such files. This image will be cloned
for all the clients.
Configuring a diskless Client
Now, we are ready for installing diskless workstations. Before you do that,
though, make sure you add the required entries to /etc/hosts. To install a
diskless workstation called m1, you would now say :
You can use the defaults for the questions, and in the end, you have m1
configured for remote booting. Repeat the process for all clients.
In every client's Root directory, will be
Simply copy the contents of this file to the /etc/exports of the NFS Server.
Once you've done this, you are ready for diskless booting.
Why is this process so appealing ? Because, now for every new client you want,
all you have to do is run diskless-newhost and add an entry to the exports
file. The standard machine specific files are taken care of automatically, and