[NCLUG] Question: Linux as a PXE Server

Marcio Luis Teixeira marciot at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 29 06:34:33 MDT 2009

To see whether your boxes can PXE boot linux, you might want to start by trying the k12linux server live CD. You basically hook up your clients to a hub, hook up a PC as the server (one with a CD-ROM drive), boot the live CD on that one, and then you can PXE boot the clients. It's very easy to set up. The liveCD is preconfigured with DHCP, TFTP and all that required components.

This won't help you with actually installing linux on those clients, but it will help verify whether you can PXE boot. There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make a PXE install server once you're ready for that.

Or, you can use a pre-built PXE install server virtual machine such as this one:


I haven't tried it myself, but it looks fairly cool.

-- Marcio

----- Original Message ----
From: DJ Eshelman <djsbignews at gmail.com>
To: Northern Colorado Linux Users Group <nclug at nclug.org>
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 11:15:42 AM
Subject: Re: [NCLUG] Question: Linux as a PXE Server

I was hoping to find some better solutions myself- I even tried using a TFTP client to hand out the DHCP but had problems with it actually working.

I have a few small laptops that won't boot from CDROM or USB that I'd love to put a very cut down OS (like Puppy) onto their drives without relying on a PXE boot environment all the time.

But then again I don't know how much time I can actually devote to the project- as time goes it may be cheaper just to get an Eee PC or the Inspiron Mini.  The main appeal to these units (Fujitsu B2630) is they have passive touchscreens, which is pretty rare in a laptop format.  So all I'm trying to do is install Linux on them.  I was hoping I could bring them to the next install fest but I've been unable to get to the last few.


Marcio Luis Teixeira wrote:
> openthinclient.org is distributed as a Java jar file, it doesn't even need to run on Linux, although it can. I think they wrote the TFTP, BOOTP and Management interface portions in Java, and the only true Linux-based component is the boot-image which gets downloaded to the PXE clients. But the part which is important for me, the server side, isn't Linux at all. It's an interesting way of packaging it, as it runs out of the box anywhere where Java is supported, but it is fairly opaque and you really can't tweak it much (I suppose unless you download the code and modify the java source).
> I've lately sort of gone down plan B and am playing with Fedora 10 with LTSP (namely, the K12Linux distro). I've resigned myself to simply setting the boot options on the Windows DHCP server. It's not as clean as a separate PXE server, but it does get the job done. Now I can PXE boot into my LTSP box anywhere in my corporate network, which is actually pretty darn sweet! Not all hardware does it successfully, and sometimes the boot is a bit flaky will timeout, but as a proof-of-concept, it works well. It's not as easy to manage as the openthinclient.org solution, but it is more tweakable.
> -- Marcio
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Sean Reifschneider <jafo at tummy.com>
> To: Northern Colorado Linux Users Group <nclug at nclug.org>
> Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2009 7:55:51 AM
> Subject: Re: [NCLUG] Question: Linux as a PXE Server
> Marcio Luis Teixeira wrote:
>> Definitely worth a try. Putting in individual MAC addresses would be a
>> major pain-in-the-ass though. My dream scenario would be one in which
> You say you have that openthinclient thingie that does it -- have you
> looked at what DHCP process it's running and it's config file to see how
> it's achieving it?
> Sean
NCLUG mailing list      NCLUG at nclug.org

To unsubscribe, subscribe, or modify your settings, go to: http://www.nclug.org/mailman/listinfo/nclug


More information about the NCLUG mailing list