[syslinux] RIS and PXELINUX

H. Peter Anvin hpa at zytor.com
Fri Mar 15 10:51:22 PST 2002

Mark Dieterich wrote:

> Hi folks,
> I'm finally tired of dealing with floppy disks to control our remote installs
> and thought that PXELINUX sound like a great way to go.  However, I've got
> multiple hurdles and I'd like some advice before I get myself dug in too
> deep...  We currently have Solaris Jumpstart and Windows RIS running in the
> department and now we would like to intermix Linux PXELINUX booting.  
> Any suggestions on how this should be designed?

What DHCP server do you use?

> I tried a really quick test, following the instructions to set up a tftp
> server and dhcp server, but the windows RIS server always answered the tftp
> request.

The TFTP request is a unicast, not a broadcast.  The PXE stack will 
download from whereever it is requested.  This probably means the RIS 
server is answering the DHCP request, or possibly the followon 
pseudo-DHCP request to port 4011 which is part of the PXE protocol.  The 
latter is usually unicasted, but can be multicasted if the original DHCP 
reply contained the appropriate magic.

  We did have the next-server option listed in the DHCP server conf,
> it's almost as though it is ignoring this option.  How are other people dealing
> with RIS and PXELINUX in the same environment?  I looked through the past
> archives and couldn't find anything really appropriate.  Any help/suggestions
> would be greatly appreciated.

A good question is perhaps: what do you expect to be keeping them apart? 
    Unlike the Solaris case there isn't a hardware difference to cue off 
the servers.  If you have a list of hosts, for example, that is RIS vs. 
PXELINUX, make sure that *all* DHCP servers (including RIS, if 
applicable) respect it and don't answer requests not directed to it.  If 
RIS is set up to answer all requests with a "PXEClient" tag, then RIS is 
going to run on all PC machines.


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