3.2. PXE Boot Configuration

The next step is to copy the files necessary to start the installation to the tftp server so they can be found when the client requests them. The tftp server is usually the same server as the network server exporting the installation tree.
To copy these files, run the Network Booting Tool on the NFS, FTP, or HTTP server. A separate PXE server is not necessary.
For the command line version of these instructions, refer to Section 3.2.1, “Command Line Configuration”.
To use the graphical version of the Network Booting Tool, you must be running the X Window System, have root privileges, and have the system-config-netboot RPM package installed. To start the Network Booting Tool from the desktop, go to Applications (the main menu on the panel) => System Settings => Server Settings => Network Booting Service. Or, type the command system-config-netboot at a shell prompt (for example, in an XTerm or a GNOME terminal).
If starting the Network Booting Tool for the first time, select Network Install from the First Time Druid. Otherwise, select Configure => Network Installation from the pulldown menu, and then click Add. The dialog in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup” is displayed.
Network Installation Setup

Figure 3.1. Network Installation Setup


  • Operating system identifier — Provide a unique name using one word to identify the Red Hat Enterprise Linux version and variant. It is used as the directory name in the /tftpboot/linux-install/ directory.
  • Description — Provide a brief description of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux version and variant.
  • Selects protocol for installation — Selects NFS, FTP, or HTTP as the network installation type depending on which one was configured previously. If FTP is selected and anonymous FTP is not being used, uncheck Anonymous FTP and provide a valid username and password combination.
  • Kickstart — Specify the location of the kickstart file. The file can be a URL or a file stored locally (diskette). The kickstart file can be created with the Kickstart Configurator. Refer to Chapter 2, Kickstart Configurator for details.
  • Server — Provide the IP address or domain name of the NFS, FTP, or HTTP server.
  • Location — Provide the directory shared by the network server. If FTP or HTTP was selected, the directory must be relative to the default directory for the FTP server or the document root for the HTTP server. For all network installations, the directory provided must contain the RedHat/ directory of the installation tree.
After clicking OK, the initrd.img and vmlinuz files necessary to boot the installation program are transfered from images/pxeboot/ in the provided installation tree to /tftpboot/linux-install/<os-identifier>/ on the tftp server (the one you are running the Network Booting Tool on).

3.2.1. Command Line Configuration

If the network server is not running X, the pxeos command line utility, which is part of the system-config-netboot package, can be used to configure the tftp server files :
pxeos -a -i "<description>" -p <NFS|HTTP|FTP> -D 0 -s client.example.com \ -L <net-location> -k <kernel> -K <kickstart><os-identifer>
The following list explains the options:
  • -a — Specifies that an OS instance is being added to the PXE configuration.
  • -i "<description>" — Replace "<description>" with a description of the OS instance. This corresponds to the Description field in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup”.
  • -p <NFS|HTTP|FTP> — Specify which of the NFS, FTP, or HTTP protocols to use for installation. Only one may be specified. This corresponds to the Select protocol for installation menu in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup”.
  • -D <0|1> — Specify "0" which indicates that it is not a diskless configuration since pxeos can be used to configure a diskless environment as well.
  • -sclient.example.com — Provide the name of the NFS, FTP, or HTTP server after the -s option. This corresponds to the Server field in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup”.
  • -L<net-location> — Provide the location of the installation tree on that server after the -L option. This corresponds to the Location field in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup”.
  • -k<kernel> — Provide the specific kernel version of the server installation tree for booting.
  • -K<kickstart> — Provide the location of the kickstart file, if available.
  • <os-identifer> — Specify the OS identifier, which is used as the directory name in the /tftpboot/linux-install/ directory. This corresponds to the Operating system identifier field in Figure 3.1, “Network Installation Setup”.
If FTP is selected as the installation protocol and anonymous login is not available, specify a username and password for login, with the following options before <os-identifer> in the previous command:
 -A 0 -u <username> -p <password>
For more information on command line options available for the pxeos command, refer to the pxeos man page.