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Diskless X Server: a how to guide

Jerry Kendall


With the help of some friends on the FreeBSD-hackers list, I have been able to create a diskless X terminal. The creation of the X terminal required first creating a diskless system with minimal utilities mounted via NFS. These same steps were used to create 2 separate diskless systems. The first is A diskless X terminal that I run on my old 386DX-40. It has a 340Meg hard disk but, I did not want to change it. So, it boots from across a Ethernet. The second system is a 486DX2-66. I setup a diskless FreeBSD (complete) that uses no local disk. The server in that case is a Sun 670MP running SunOS 4.1.3. The same setup configuration was needed for both.

I am sure that there is stuff that needs to be added to this. Please send me any comments.

1 Creating the boot floppy (On the diskless system)

Since the network boot loaders will not work with some of the TSR's and such that MS-DOS uses, it is best to create a dedicated boot floppy or, if you can, create an MS-DOS menu that will (via the config.sys/autoexec.bat files) ask what configuration to load when the system starts. The later is the method that I use and it works great. My MS-DOS (6.x) menu is below.

Example 1. config.sys

    menuitem=normal, normal
    menuitem=unix, unix
    normal config.sys stuff

Example 2. autoexec.bat

    goto %config%
    normal autoexec.bat stuff
    goto end
    cd \netboot

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