Installing Linux (without CD/floppies)

John Brookes johnb at
Tue Feb 18 06:23:05 PST 2003

Even if you _do_ need stable addresses, you can still avoid the labour
involved in collecting the MACs. You can assign them addresses from a DHCP
pool initially, but set them permanently when they boot. All of that can be

Although these addresses'd be stable, they wouldn't be in order (confusing
for maintenance). You could turn them on at, say, minute intervals to get
the desired order, but - unless you've got some automated way of remote
booting (PD boxes with remote control; onboard out-of-band cycling) - it'd
probably be just as easy to collect the MACs.

Once the nodes are up, just leave them set to PXE-boot and get pxe to push
the nodes back to a local boot.

John Brookes
T: +44 (0)117 9155500
F: +44 (0)117 9075395
E: johnb at

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Hahn [mailto:hahn at]
> Sent: 18 February 2003 01:56
> To: beowulf at
> Subject: RE: Installing Linux (without CD/floppies)
> > >What's the best way to install Linux RedHat in a 40-node
> > >Beowulf whose nodes don't have neither floppy nor
> why *install* at all?  so far at least, I'm booting my new cluster
> entirely diskless.  each node actually has a disk, but nothing is 
> installed on it - everything is PXE and NFS.  obviously, this is 
> more network-intensive, but is it really an issue if your jobs last
> for more than a couple minutes?
> > As long as your network cards' support PXE (most do 
> nowadays), then it is
> is that really true?  great if so!  I haven't looked, but tend to only
> expect builtin eth to support PXE...
> > The only potentially laborious step is collecting the MAC 
> address first and
> > tweaking each BIOS to enable PXE booting.
> dhcpd can allocate IPs from a pool; if you don't need stable IPs,
> you don't need to collect the MAC...
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