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Network Installations

You can easily do a network installation from a floppy disk. You first need to get a good floppy disk. In order to to the network boot the disk needs to have only good sectors on it. Next you need to find the boot image on the install device. If you have the Red Hat installation CDs you can go to the images directory on the first CD and then find the bootnet.img file. In Linux you can copy this file to a floppy using the following command:

bash# dd if=bootnet.img of=/dev/fd0
2880+0 records in
2880+0 records out

The the file bootnet.img contains the format information and everything else, so you do not need to worry about formatting the disk first. Once you have copied this file to the disk everything that was there before is gone. There is no real way to recover the data that was there before. If you get any output that looks a little bit different then it is possible that you have a bad floppy disk. Output for a bad floppy would look something like this:

bash# dd if=bootnet.img of=/dev/fd0
dd: writing to `/dev/fd0': Input/output error
2289+0 records in
2288+0 records out

If you get this kind of output then you need to look for another disk to do the job. It should be pretty easy to find a good disk if all of them are new, but even some of the new disks are not good enough for an install.

After the disks you need to decide what type of network install you are going to provide. It is possible to offer all three types (ftp, http, nfs) from the same server with the same set of files, but some of these services are easier to setup than others. With ftp you have to allow connections to your ftp port. That is not always safe, but it is fairly easy to do. With NFS you have to export the file partition that contains the install directory tree, but you have to specify which machines to export to. NFS is a fast way to do a network install, but sometimes it takes a long time to get things working correctly. HTTP is one of the easiest and most secure ways to do a network install. In order to do a HTTP installation you need to copy the files from each of the CDs into a directory on the HTTP server. If you were going to put the install image in a directory called /var/www/html/cdrom/ you could use the following command if the CD were mounted:

bash# cp /mnt/cdrom/ /var/www/html/ -r

You would have to mount each CD, run the command, then unmount the CD in order to get all of the installation packages in a subdirectory. If you do not have the CDs but you have the CD images instead you could use the create a temp directory called cdrom/ and then mount the image instead:

bash# mkdir cdrom/
bash# mount -t iso9660 -o ro,loop=/dev/loop0 cdromimagefile.iso cdrom/
bash# cp cdrom/ /var/www/html/ -r

You would then have to mount, copy, and unmount the images instead of the CDs.

next up previous contents index
Next: Dual Boot Machines Up: Installing Red Hat Linux Previous: Kickstart   Contents   Index
Joseph Colton 2002-09-24