booting zipslack over nfs overview, part 1 of 4

Alex Snow alex_snow at
Mon Nov 10 15:12:47 EST 2003

Hi Greg,
Thanks for the info. I'll give it a try soon as I get an extra power 
supply for the terminal. If I'm successful I'll clean it up and put it 
into a howto.
i'll be sure to include you're name in the credits section.
On Sat, Nov 
08, 2003 at 09:57:20PM -0600, Gregory Nowak wrote:
> Hi all.
> As promised, here is my very  brief explanation of what needs to be
> done to modify zipslack to boot over nfs. As mentioned previously,
> this is very brief, and could really use major expanding.
> First, grab and unpack zipslack.
> Since the ip address of the client I was using was, I
> unpacked zipslack into /tftpboot/
> While this sounds simple, in reality it isn't. This is for a couple of
> reasons. The first reason is that remember that zipslack was designed
> to run on top of umsdos. This means that when it unpacks, some
> directory/file names will be mangled, and there will be an extra
> "---linux---" file in each directory. 
> So, what needs to be done, is to create a 200Mb or so file with dd,
> and format the file by using mkfs.msdos. Then, mount the file via loop
> back as type msdos, and unzip zipslack onto the just mounted msdos
> mount point directory. Once this is done, you need to umount the loop
> back device, remount it as type umsdos, and then copy the linux
> directory containing zipslack into /tftpboot.
> I mentioned there was another reason which makes unpacking zipslack
> not so simple. This is however, no big deal. You need to simply rename
> /tftpboot/linux to be /tftpboot/, replacing
> with the ip address your dumb terminal will be assigned, and yes, your
> terminal will need to have a static ip assigned via dhcp for this
> particular setup to work. I'll touch on this later on.
> Also, your main directory has to be /tftpboot, and not something
> else, since this is where tftpd will look for kernel images to send to
> the client. The permissions of /tftpboot need to be 777, since tftpd
> needs to have access to the /tftpboot directory. I mostly found this
> out by looking at the tftpd man page, and by trial and error. You may
> find that lesser permissions work, if this is so, then it certainly is
> different from what I found to work.
> Your /tftpboot/ directory needs to have rwxr-xr-x
> permissions. Both /tftpboot and /tftpboot/ need to be owned
> by root.
> Now that we've got zipslack unpacked, it's time to make some
> modifications to it.
> First, you need to edit /tftpboot/ You need to
> change the root device, and comment out the swap file line, since nfs
> will not allow you to swap over it.
> /dev/nfs         /                nfs      defaults         0   0
> #/root/swapfile   swap             swap        defaults         0   0
> Note that /dev/nfs is a fake root device, and I will cover this topic
> later.
> Before I go on, I forgot to mention that I had done this with zipslack
> 9.0, and linux 2.4.21.
> Since I of course built my own kernel, I commented 
> out in /tftpboot/ any modules which I didn't use.
> Since the kernel will automagically configure your interface card,
> you will not be able to run netconfig. Because of this, you may want
> to edit /tftpboot/ to reflect the proper name
> of your machine.
> You will also want to edit /tftpboot/, and
> put in your dns info.
> -- 
> Free domains: or mail dns-manager at
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