Remote Booting PCQLinux 2004

Diskless Clients

Set up Diskless Thin Clients  

Creating Remote Boot Clusters

Terminal Server

We will show you how to create diskless PCQLinux 2004 node, using LTSP (Linux Terminal Services Project). The USP of the setup is that the diskless node will load Linux completely with KDE or Gnome GUI. A diskless machine is a PC without any usual boot devices such as hard disks, floppy drives and CD-ROMs. The diskless node boots off the network and needs a remote boot server to provide it with storage space, as a local hard disk would. It needs a network adapter that supports PXE (Pre boot-eXecutable Environment) booting. Most modern network cards support PXE. The diskless machine boots from the PXE network card and gets on the IP from the remote boot server. The server thenprovides required booting and system files of the OS to the diskless node.Before setting up diskless nodes using LTSP, try and keep similar hardware in all the nodes. We used an Intel board with a built-in VGA and network card. 

Direct Hit!
Applies to: System administrators
USP: Saves the cost of using a hard drive and reduces the hassles of managing multiple Linux workstations 

To set up a diskless node on PCQLinux 2004, install PCQLinux 2004 on a server-class machine. Then, you need to configure its LAN settings. Give a static IP to the server. From the GUI select Start Menu>System Tools> Networks. It will open a window showing you the status of active/inactive network card. Double click on the network card and select ‘Statically set IP Address' radio button. Give the static IP address to the server and the default Internet gateway. From the same window, select DNS tab and give the DNS address of your ISP, and save the network config by clicking on File>Save and quit from the program. Now open a terminal window and give the following command.

#su (this will ask for the root password)
# wget -q -O - | sh

This will directly connect your machine to the LTSP's site and run the latest LTSP installer off the Net. The installer will ask you to give the install path, give /opt/ltsp. Now sit back for some time. In our case it took about two hours. Next, go to http://belnet.dl.sourceforge. net/ sourceforge/ltsp/ ltspcfg-0.5-0.noarch.rpm, and download ltspcfg-0.5-0.noarch.rpm. Then go to and select the entire text and copy-paste it to gedit editor. Now, save this content with a file name ‘build_x3_cfg' (script file). Now, you need to configure the LTSP server, for which you can use a tool called ‘ltspcfg' (ltspcfg-0.5-0.noarch.rpm) from Install it on the server and run it as: 

# rpm –ivh ltspcfg-0.5-0.noarch.rpm
# ltspcfg 

The above command will run the tool for you to configure LTSP. The tool has three options, out of which only the first two function. Select the second option ‘Configure the services manually'. This will show you 11 services. Select all the services one by one and enable them by pressing the Enter key. This will automatically configure the selected services. To configure the DHCP server for remote boot, open /etc/dhcpd.conf and add the following lines. 

ddns-update-style none;
default-lease-time 21600;
max-lease-time 21600; 
option subnet-mask;
option broadcast-address;
option routers; #<: Router or Gateway IP
option domain-name-servers; #<: LTSP Server IP
option domain-name “ltsp.pcquest.local”; # <: domain name 
option root-path “”; #<: NFS Share
option option-128 code 128 = string;
option option-129 code 129 = text;
subnet netmask { 
range dynamic-bootp; # <: DHCP IP Ranage
filename “/lts/2.4.22-ltsp-2/pxelinux.0”; #<- Boot image File

Once you have edited the dhcpd.conf file, issue the following commands.

# service dhcpd start

To configure Xserver for diskless clients, open an editor and edit /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/lts.conf file and check the entries as given below. 

XSERVER = i810 
X_MOUSE_DEVICE = “/dev/psaux”
X_MODE_0 = 800x600 
SCREEN_01 = startx

Copy the script file ‘build_x3_ cfg' (that you created earlier) to /opt /ltsp/i386/etc and issue: 

# chown root:root /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/build_x3_cfg
# chmod 0755 /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/build_x3_cfg

With this, your LTSP server is ready to serve the diskless nodes. Connect the diskless nodes to the network and boot them from their PXE LAN card. In few seconds you will get a GUI login screen on the diskless nodes. Give the user name and password to login and you will get default Gnome interface on the diskless nodes. 

Sanjay Majumder

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