More PXE Magic

Add Precise 64-Bit

Now that you have the 32-bit Precise install working, let's add the 64-bit release as well. You'll basically perform the same initial steps as before, after you remove any existing netboot.tar.gz files. The netboot.tar.gz file is structured so that it will be safe to extract it in the same precise directory:

$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot/precise
$ sudo rm netboot.tar.gz
$ sudo wget
$ sudo tar xzf netboot.tar.gz

Since you already copied over the boot-screens directory, you can skip ahead to copying and modifying the 64-bit txt.cfg, so it gets pointed to the right directory:

$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot/boot-screens
$ sudo cp ../precise/ubuntu-installer/amd64/boot-screens/txt.cfg 
$ sudo perl -pi -e 's|ubuntu-installer|precise/ubuntu-installer|g' 

Now, open up /var/lib/tftpboot/boot-screens/menu.cfg again, and add an additional menu entry that points to the precise-amd64.cfg file you created. The file ends up looking like this:

menu hshift 13
menu width 49
menu margin 8

menu title Installer boot menu^G
include boot-screens/stdmenu.cfg
menu begin precise-i386
        menu title Precise 12.04 i386
        include boot-screens/stdmenu.cfg
        label mainmenu
                menu label ^Back..
                menu exit
        include boot-screens/precise-i386.cfg
menu end
menu begin precise-amd64
        menu title Precise 12.04 amd64
        include boot-screens/stdmenu.cfg
        label mainmenu
                menu label ^Back..
                menu exit
        include boot-screens/precise-amd64.cfg
menu end
include boot-screens/gtk.cfg
menu begin advanced
        menu title Advanced options
        include boot-screens/stdmenu.cfg
        label mainmenu
                menu label ^Back..
                menu exit
        include boot-screens/adtxt.cfg
        include boot-screens/adgtk.cfg
menu end
label help
        menu label ^Help
        text help
   Display help screens; type 'menu' at boot prompt to 
    ↪return to this menu
        config boot-screens/prompt.cfg

Add a New Ubuntu Release

So, you were happy with your 12.04 PXE menu, and then Ubuntu released 12.10 Quantal, so now you want to add the 32-bit version of that to your menu. Simply adapt the steps from before to this new release. First, create a directory to store the new release, and pull down and extract the new netboot.tar.gz file:

$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot
$ sudo mkdir quantal
$ cd quantal
$ sudo wget
$ sudo tar xzf netboot.tar.gz

Next, copy over the quantal txt.cfg file to your root boot-screens directory, and run a Perl one-liner on it to point it to the right directory:

$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot/boot-screens
$ sudo cp ../quantal/ubuntu-installer/i386/boot-screens/txt.cfg 
$ sudo perl -pi -e 's|ubuntu-installer|quantal/ubuntu-installer|g' 

Finally, edit /var/lib/tftpboot/boot-screens/menu.cfg again, and add the additional menu entry that points to the quantal-i386.cfg file you created. The additional section you should put below the previous submenus looks like this:

menu begin quantal-i386
        menu title Quantal 12.10 i386
        include boot-screens/stdmenu.cfg
        label mainmenu
                menu label ^Back..
                menu exit
        include boot-screens/quantal-i386.cfg
menu end

The resulting PXE menu should look something like Figure 3. To add the 64-bit release, just adapt the steps from the above Precise 64-bit release to Quantal. Finally, if you want to mix and match Debian releases as well, the steps are just about the same, except you will need to track down the Debian netboot.tar.gz from its project mirrors and substitute precise for Debian project names like squeeze. Also, everywhere you see a search and replace that references ubuntu-installer, you will change that to debian-installer.

Figure 3. Now with Three Options


Kyle Rankin is a director of engineering operations in the San Francisco Bay Area, the author of a number of books including DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu Server Book, and is a columnist for Linux Journal.


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Preseed Enhancement

Anonymous's picture

If you wanted to add a preseed file for installation to a headless server, what would you add?


Boethius's picture

In the given append example you'd do the following:

append vga=788 initrd=ubuntu-installer/i386/initrd.gz auto url=http://serverhostingyourpreseedfile/preseedfile.cfg -- quiet

As for the actual preseed file itself, here's an excellent reference for Precise's preseed file:

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