[syslinux] Etherboot & pxelinux (was: thank you)

Peter Lister P.Lister at sychron.com
Thu Feb 7 02:35:44 PST 2002

> > This means that (a) I don't mind fairly complex DHCP config and (b) I
> > know there's a better future.
> > 
> On PXELINUX, all configuration information is server side in the form of
> (optionally!) per-client configuration files.  You don't have to interrupt
> a common server (dhcpd) to install a new configuration either.  Obviously,
> once you're server side, you can create arbitrary complex configuration.

Granted; my point is that we (Sychron) have crossed over into the realm
of getting our hands dirty with DHCP anyway, and we need to maintain a
server side db of all our hardware; we do clusterwide resource control,
so how a node should boot is all tied in with e.g. speed, memory rather
than it's NICs MAC address, so it makes sense to do so in one place.
This is an argument for better a DHCP server which can create options on
the fly.

pxelinux's ability to have different configs based on IP address is
neat, but I really want choices based on arbitrary information (e.g.
hardware that is aware of the rack/chassis/slot where it lives) - we
also may have systems with no fixed IP address.

> So what was the point of this again?

My reason for asking the original question was curiosity - I'd like to
give a balanced view to anything I contribute on the pxe howto, so when
someone expresses a view I find counterintuitive, I'd like to know why.
And, I guess a bit of crude "market research", since we may provide our
software with a bootable kit.

When someone else commented that pxe chaining to etherboot was written
because we "don't like pxe", I thought I should explain that there was
more to it than just pxe hatred.

Likewise, when asked about preferring DHCP to a config file it seemed
reasonable to explain why (issues of ISC dhcpd apart) DHCP seems to be a
much better long term solution. For what it's worth, I think that
Etherboot's DHCP could do with restructuring.

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