SUMMARY: Transfering install image to Linux

From: Martin Schmitt <>
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 05:13:00 EST
Hello everyone!

To my amazement, I got several very informative replies on this one, but 
none from anyone who had done it in reality. Especially Sam Horrocks' 
message which was the first reply, was very, very, informative. Thanks go to 
Randy Romero, Tim Wort and Darren Dunham (also very informative) as well. 

Executive summary: Installing Solaris from Linux works like a charm.

First, I've set up a Solaris box as the install server, using the scripts
provided on the Solaris CDs.

Then I tarred and zipped the install directory and copied it to the Linux
fileserver (Debian Woody, custom kernel). I untarred it under the directory
/usr/local/install/solaris/07_01 there.  

The Linux box needs working TFTP, RARPD (Userspace RARP, not Kernel RARP,
which has been removed from Linux 2.4), Bootparamd and NFS (doh!). The image 
needs to be shared via NFS:

Excerpt from /etc/exports:

/usr/local/install                      (ro)

That's it. Done. Ready to slap Solaris on those clients.

Here are the steps required for installing a client:

All of this needs to be done inside one broadcast domain, in case you
didn't notice.

- First make sure that the hostname resolves properly in all directions. 
  This can be done either via /etc/hosts or via DNS. I did it with DNS.

- Add MAC address and hostname to /etc/ethers:

  00:11:22:33:44:55:66		mybox

- Add an entry for mybox to /etc/bootparams:

  mybox root=fileserver:/usr/local/install/solaris/07_01/Solaris_8/Tools/Boot \
        install=fileserver:/usr/local/install/solaris/07_01 \
        boottype=:in \

  The options seem to be the same for all architectures. At least the 
  original install server had set them identical for both the vintage 
  Sparcstation and the new Netra. I don't care about anything beyond that, 
  but for details on what to put there, digging around in 
  "add_install_client" might be a good starting point.

- Set up TFTP - This is the tricky Part, especially because the pathnames 
  get pretty funky. ;-) 

  Translate the new box's IP address to Hex. -> C0.A8.01.0E -> C0A8010E

  Find out, what platform you're dealing with. For my test client - a
  Sparcstation 5 - this is sun4m. The name for the TFTP boot image is 
  composed from the translated IP address and the architecture:


  Create this TFTP image as a symlink in /tftpboot:

  ln -s /usr/local/install/solaris/07_01/Solaris_8/Tools/\
  Boot/usr/platform/sun4m/lib/fs/nfs/inetboot /tftpboot/C0A8010E.SUN4M
  Note the platform specific directory component.

  I'm not completely sure about the naming convention here. My Netra X1 was
  satisfied with just its hexed IP address without the "SUN4U" extension.
  In fact, the original install server creates a whole bunch of symlinks,
  maybe to fit different firmware flavors.

  If you're too lazy to think about determining the right filename and 
  architecture for TFTP, don't do it. Just type "boot net" on the install 
  client and tail -f /var/log/messages on the server to see what has been 
  requested from TFTP. Set the symlink accordingly.

- Bring your install client to the firmware prompt and type "boot net".   

There is one very little problem. During early installation (when booting
the install system), the client hangs after "Configured interface le0" with 
a twirling baton. The last thing to be seen on the network is:

	10:20:41.344387 arp who-has mybox (Broadcast) tell mybox

Something's garbled here wrt to ARP. Installation continues immediately 
after pinging the client IP address on the network. Reproduced with the
Sparcstation as well as the Netra. 

I would go on trying to set up an install server on Linux from scratch, but 
having seen that the Netra X1 patches' postinstall scripts have difficulties 
to install even on Solaris/386, I don't think this can be done without major 

Can someone enlighten me on the ARP issue? If you can, or if you have other
suggestions, please mail me, so I can hack up a little webpage on this.

BTW: I wasn't really able to go through a complete install on my Netra X1. 
This was because of the crappy disk I tried to use with it. When the copying 
started (moving bar from 0-100%), everything slowed to a crawl.  Since the 
disk in question produced IDE resets by the dozen when I had it in my Linux 
box, I think this is just a hardware problem and the Netra should install
fine with a proper disk.

If you made it down to the last paragraph, maybe you can also answer me a 
last question: What's all this talk about "Jumpstart"? Is Jumpstart Sun's 
marketing speak for a network installation like the one presented above? I 
have no trainings or certs, so I'm not indoctrinated by Sun's product names. 
The above looks like a fairly standard netboot procedure to me.


* Martin Schmitt wrote/schrieb:

> Hi!
> I have an old PC on Solaris/386 set up exclusively for acting as an install
> server, which appears to me like a blatant waste of resources, especially
> with regards to the 60GB disk that's holding the 1GB install directory. ;-)
> While I believe it's impossible to run "setup_install_server" and its
> friends on Linux, I'm wondering if it's possible to move the install image
> to my Linux file server and install from there. RARP, TFTP, NFS are there 
> and I've already done NetBSD/Sparc and Sparc-Linux Installations from it.
> What does a Solaris network install consist of?
> - Assigning an IP address to the install client
> - Providing the right inetboot-Image via TFTP (i guess that's the easy
>   part, even the right name can be determined by looking a what gets
>   requested from TFTP)
> - Providing the installation files via NFS
> How do I provide the IP address? RARP? What's the role of /etc/bootparams?
> What needs to be shared via NFS?
> Any hints appreciated. Will summarize & tell how it went. ;-)
> -martin
> -- 
> COBOL programs are an exercise in Artificial Inelegance.
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Received on Sun Feb 17 04:14:18 2002

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