Months ago, I put an old laptop (with a broken case) into a deep picture frame, as a picture frame PC (for video’s, pictures etc)
I went to uni soon after, and didnt really have time to do anything with it (Plus the HDD crapped out, and so I lost the OS. and as it does not have a CD Drive anymore, it was sat doing nothing)
This week, i’ve been helping some friends with a few servers that needed desperate attention (for a uni radio station, that goes on air 2nd Nov (www.shockradio.co.uk)) We ended up having to also fix (read as remake :P) a desktop machine that netbooted from the fileserver.
This got me thinking about my driveless pictureframe PC, and with 2.5Ghz P4, and 512DDR, it should run a net booted OS from a 100Mb/s network quite well.What I needed was an OS that loaded into RAM, as this would be speedier than pulling bits of a standard linux filesystem from accross the NFS share.
So I grabbed a copy of knoppix (Not my ideal choice, but it’s only a quick project, and I wasnt in the mood for gentoo fiddleage) and copied it to my solaris NAS (the boot folder under the tftp root folder, and the rest under a dir I later shared via NFS as ‘diskless’)
After some quick DHCP option bodging, The system was booting pxeboot (I also had this in the tftp dir) and then was trying to boot knoppix, but no matter what options I was passing to the kernel at boot, it would not mount an NFS root.
Turns out knoppix’s on CD kernel does not have the ability too mount an NFS path at bootup, you need the kernel that the ‘knopix-terminalserver’ app spits out when you configure it.
Booted the knoppix image in a copy of vmware server, and ran the ‘knoppix-terminalserver’ command, started the terminal server, and then pinched vmlinux and miniroot.gz from the /tftpboot folder, and copied them over the net to my tftp boot server.
Rebooted the pictureframe and voilia! The system came up.
Now im pondering having another bash with linuxMCE and using this as a viewing node. So films and music will follow me round the house.. Ahh how one thing leads to another.. It’s like wikipedia 😛
If you want config details feel free to leave a comment / email me, but it’s all out there on thwe web.. google ‘Gentoo diskless howto’ for a starting point 🙂