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What is?

Bebop is our PXE (read as in "pixie") system. We use it to install new machines over the network. If you want to install Linux on your box, you're welcome anytime to come, visit us and, of course, install Linux.

How does it work?

We have an OpenWRT[1] router offering DHCP 'round the network and a local server where the boot images are hosted. The images are mounted on the router via NFS and served through TFTP. That's all!

How can i reproduce Bebop in my local network?

Prepare a folder on your local server


  • You're running Debian[2] on your local server. If not, please refer to the documentation of your distro.


  • SSH to your local server with proper credentials:
   $ ssh user@server
  • Gain root privileges:
   $ sudo -i
  • Install NFS, if not installed:
   $ apt-get install nfs-kernel-server nfs-common
  • Create a directory wherever you want to store the boot images:
   $ mkdir /path/to/optimal/place
  • Make the directory accesible through NFS:
   $ echo "/path/to/optimal/place    *(ro,no_subtree_check)" >> /etc/exports
  • Logout form the server:
   Ctrl-D # exit from sudo
   Ctrl-D # exit from ssh login

Prepare your router to serve the files through tftp


  • You already have a configured router with OpenWRT


  • SSH to your router with proper credentials:
   $ ssh root@myrouter
  • Create a directory for mounting the files over the network:
   $ mkdir /mnt/tftpboot
  • Install the folowing packages to enable nfs features:
   $ opkg install nfs-utils kmod-fs-nfs kmod-fs-nfs-common
  • Edit fstab to automatically mount the nfs directory at boot time:
   $ vi /etc/config/fstab
   # add the folowing entry
   config 'mount'
       option 'target' '/mnt/pxe'
       option 'device' 'YOUR.LOCAL.SERVER.IP:/path/to/optimal/place/'
       option 'fstype' 'nfs'
       option 'options' 'nolock'
       option 'enabled' 1
  • If the automount does not work, you can manually boot with:
   $ mount -t nfs MY.LOCAL.SERVER.IP:/path/to/optimal/place /mnt/tftpboot -o nolock
  • Edit /etc/config/dhcp to enable tftp. It should look like:
   $ vi /etc/config/dhcp
   config dnsmasq
       ... a lot of config done before...
       option enable_tftp '1'
       option tftp_root '/mnt/tftpboot'
       ... a lot more config
   config boot 'linux'
       option filename 'pxelinux.0'
       option serveraddress 'YOUR.ROUTER.IP.ADDRESS'
       option servername 'router'
  • Reboot your router
   $ reboot

Create a custom PXE menu

Preparation steps

  • SSH into your local server:
   $ ssh user@localserver
  • Acquire root privileges:
   $ sudo -i
  • Go to the tftp directory:
   $ cd /path/to/optimal/place
  • Create basic folder structure:
   $ mkdir pxelinux.cfg
  • Download, untar and locate usefull syslinux files:
   $ mkdir syslinux
   $ cd syslinux
   $ wget --no-check-certificate
   $ tar -xvzf syslinux-6.02.tar.gz
   $ cd syslinux-6.02/bios
   # let's copy all that we need in one line:
   $ cp core/pxelinux.0 com32/elflink/ldlinux/ldlinux.c32 com32/menu/vesamenu.c32 
     com32/lib/libcom32.c32 com32/libutil/libutil.c32 /path/to/optimal/place
   # let's remove innecesary files
   $ cd /path/to/optimal/place
   $ rm -r syslinux

Custom menu

  • Try to write your own menu based on whatever netboot image of debian! :D