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4. Booting the workstation

4.1 Using a boot ROM

As I have not used such a beast myself yet, I can give you only the following tips (courtesy of Christian Leutloff <>):

4.2 Using a raw kernel disk

If you have exported the root filesystem with the correct name for the default naming and your NFS server is also the RARP server (which implies that the boxes are on the same subnet.), than you can just boot the kernel by cating it to a disk. (You have to set the root device in the kernel to 0:255.) This assumes, that the root directory on the server is /tftpboot/IP Address (this value can be changed when compiling the kernel.)

4.3 Using a bootloader & RARP

Give the kernel all needed parameters when booting, and add nfsroot=<server-ip-addr>:</path/to/mount> where server-ip-addr is the IP address of your NFS-server, and /path/to/mount is the path to the root directory.


4.4 Using a bootloader without RARP

The ip and nfsroot kernel parameters (which can be hardcoded into the kernel, interactively entered at some bootloader prompts, or included in lilo.conf via the append= parameter; see the next subsection) provide all of the information necessary for the client to set up its ethernet interface and to contact the NFS server, respectively. The parameters are fully documented in Documentation/nfsroot.txt, which is included in the kernel sources (usually found under /usr/src/linux). Here's the format for a machine with a static (pre-assigned) IP address:

DHCP is much simpler:

4.5 Sample kernel command lines

Here's an example of a complete kernel command line such as you might include in lilo.conf or equivalent; only the IP numbers and NFS path are bogus:

That uses DHCP to assign an IP address to the machine and puts its boot messages (console) on the second serial port. The following is the corresponding example using a static IP address; it also explicitly specifies Busybox's (non-standard) location for init:

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