http://boot.fedoraproject.org/ is a boot method similar to pxeboot. It uses very small images (iso, floppy, disk) to bootstrap a machine that then contacts a remote server for boot information. This is a Fedora branded version of http://boot.kernel.org/.
Long term it is our hope this method may completely replace DVD downloads. The Fedora specific version is to raise awareness of the technology as well as provide additional boot options. gpxe (the technology that makes this possible) can even be burned to nic ROMs or BIOS's.
- Name: Mike McGrath
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Targeted release: Fedora 13
- Last updated: 2010-01-22
- Percentage of completion: 80%
Note about percentage of completion: What is there generally works fine and relies on mirrors. The last step of this is to determine whether or not we want to try to host the live images. We may decide this is not worth it because it's possible it will require us to run nfs or iscsi somewhere. Not that we can't do that, it's just that it is more of a commitment then the current installer images which are pulled from the mirrors.
After booting from the boot media, users will be prompted with a fully available install menu for all currently supported versions of Fedora (i386 and x86_64). I'm also hoping to get rescue options as well as all of our available live media. This is obviously targeting reliable high-speed networks. The technology will be more compelling as internet speeds get faster.
- create boot medium as per http://boot.kernel.org/index.html#howtouse
- Boot from downloaded gpxe image (be it floppy image, ISO or disk image)
- GPXE configures network dhcp or static (includes wireless!)
- User is prompted with a pxe menu to select various boot options
- Depending on boot option selected, the host then boots vmlinuz and initrd into anaconda and installs / rescues / boots as normal.
Benefit to Fedora
- Only need to download one very tiny image to get started with Fedora almost immedlately
- Only one image to boot all of Fedora's current options including live media.
- Might actually replace iso images one day
- Get gpxe package into Fedora
- Get branded screens for the menus - https://fedorahosted.org/design-team/ticket/115
- Finish configuration
- Decide how viable the live image boot is (relies on httpfs or iscsi)
How To Test
Any x86 hardware should work here. The below steps could be virtualized for those wanting to test in a virtual machine. Since users will be booting from CD/DVD, no prep work is required on the host machine other than to burn the images to disk.
- First go to http://boot.fedoraproject.org/download and download the iso image
- Burn this iso to CD
- Boot from the CD
- Watch for DHCP to configure network.
- If no DHCP is available you can hit ctl+c to exit out and manually configure your network settings
- Once booted, you will be presented with a screen similar to the screenshot on http://boot.fedoraproject.org/
- Select options from the menu to verify they work properly. Options include install or rescue mode.
- If you get to an anaconda install screen, boot.fedoraproject.org has worked.
Users will see something very similar to a grub boot screen with options to boot from. They can use this often (as in booting live media) but users who chose to install will only see it once while installing.
They will notice it takes longer to boot the initrd and kernel images because it has to download them instead of booting them from an iso. Once booted though their experience should be identical to a normal network install.
- May require changes to the ks scripts in our isos include some additional modules:
If it's not ready really it's just a matter of not announcing it. Aside from the initrd changes there shouldn't be any changes to the actual OS.
http://boot.fedoraproject.org/ provides an easy way to upgrade and install Fedora on network capable hosts via a small download. Once burned to USB or CD/DVD, boot.fedoraproject.org can be used to install future versions of Fedora when they are available without having to burn new media. It is based on http://boot.kernel.org/.