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Re: [GSOC 2020] network-boot-service

From: Vagrant Cascadian
Subject: Re: [GSOC 2020] network-boot-service
Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2020 09:34:15 -0700

On 2020-07-02, Brice Waegeneire wrote:
> To support the widest hardware and boot options possible I went with 
> iPXE
> as a chainloader. Meaning that any machine doing a PXE boot (or with
> builtin iPXE with restricted feature set) will load the iPXE bootloader
> first, which will then properly load the initrd.

iPXE is really cool! The main downside is I don't think the support for
non-x86 architectures is there, but would be happy to find out

> Currently I'm working on the initrd part to add NFS mounting capability 
> to
> it. At this point I'm blocked by building a lightweight staticly built
> 'nfs-utils' package to be included in the initrd. It's current total 
> size
> 219.2 MiB, I manage to reduced it to 162.2 MiB which is still one order 
> of
> magnitude larger than my initrd at 19 MiB.
> My issue building a static 'nfs-utils' is that it can't find
> 'getrpcbynumber{,_r}' “configure: error: Neither getrpcbynumber_r nor
> getrpcbynumber are available”. This function should be provided by the 
> libc
> or by libtirpc if it's not that first one. The problem is that 
> 'libtirpc'
> don't build it's own 'getrpcbynumber' because it find one in libc but
> nfs-utils can't find it...

Have you looked into using klibc (or maybe busybox) instead? They might
be smaller and have enough capability to mount NFS.

> Some other distros are using the kernel parameter 'nfsroot'[2], but we
> probably don't want to use it since it can't be used together with an
> initrd and it also mean we need built-in modules for NFS and network 
> card
> driver in the kernel.

Debian at least implements support for the nfsroot kernel parameter by
emulating the behavior in the initrd, using kernel modules instead of
built-ins. Seems like Guix could do the same?

If you're trying to use user-space NFS, I suspect you'll run into a lot
of issues... Debian at least dropped support for parts of the user-space
NFS stack years ago as it had huge numbers of bugs and little activity

Great to hear about progress on this work!

live well,

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