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[gnu-soc] Fwd: [GSOC 2020] Booting via network

From: Brice Waegeneire
Subject: [gnu-soc] Fwd: [GSOC 2020] Booting via network
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2020 21:46:37 +0000
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.3.8

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [GSOC 2020] Booting via network
Date: 2020-03-30 21:44
From: Brice Waegeneire <address@hidden>
To: address@hidden


I know it's quite late to submit a GSOC proposal but here it's.
I would like to work on the project suggested by Danny to
add PXE support to Guix. Which has been requested several
times on IRC and in the ML. This would get us a step closer
to provisioning bare bone machines directly from Guix.

1 Name

  Brice Waegeneire

2 Email


3 Project name

  GNU Guix: [Booting via network]

[Booting via network]

4 Summary

  This Google Summer Of Code proposal goal is two fold: adding to Guix
  System the ability to boot from the network and using it as a PXE
  server. This will be done by adding NFS support to the initrd along
  with adding DHCP and TFTP services to easily set up a PXE server.

5 Benefits

  PXE booting is a feature that most mainstream GNU/Linux distributions
  support but it is still missing in Guix due to the initrd being
  written in Guile. This impede the adoption of Guix System in
  organisations where a lot of user terminals are in use, such as
  libraries; without it each terminal has to be manually provisioned
  which is time consuming and repetitive. It would also help the [Guix
  HPC] crowd to provision their clusters with Guix System instead of
  just using Guix as a package manager.

  Realising this proposal will put Guix System at the same level as
  other distributions regarding network booting and ahead of the pack in
  regards to the simplicity of setting up a PXE server.

  This will enable future work on `guix deploy' to add bare bone

[Guix HPC] <>

6 Deliverables

  `(gnu system linux-initrd)' will be modified to support mounting the
  root of the file system from an NFS server. DHCP and TFTP services
  allowing PXE configuration options will be added to `(gnu services)'
  together with a PXE server service to serve Guix System to PXE

  The documentation at `guix.texi' will be updated to reflect the new
  initrd feature and the additional services. An end-to-end test will be
  added to `(gnu tests)' using Guix as the PXE server which will boot
  Guix System on the clients.

7 Plan

  I’ll be able to work on this for the whole summer. At the end of each
  phase I’ll write a email to `address@hidden' detailing my work
  during the previous month and my progress compared to the following

7.1 Phase 1 (June 1 - July 3)

  • Setting a clean developing environment.
  • Planning the actual design.
  • Manually configuring a PXE server with some clients.
  • Adding NFS support to the initial ramdsik.

  Before the first deadline I’ll have a working PXE environment, the
  design phase will be finished and the modification of the initrd will
  be more than half done.

7.2 Phase 2 (July 3 - July 31)

  • Finishing the work on the initrd.
  • Adding the DHCP and TFTP services.

  At this point Guix System will be able to PXE boot from a manually
  configured server at least.

7.3 Phase 3 (July 31 - August 24)

  • Adding the PXE server service.
  • Writing the test.
  • Writing the documentation.
  • Tyding things up.
  • Writing a blog post describing the new features.

  All of the deliverables will be finished, fully working and the
  modifications merged in Guix.

8 Communication

  I communicate daily through IRC in the `#guix' channel on Freenode as
  `bricewge' and by email as [`address@hidden'] to the different
  Guix’s mailing lists.

  I plan to communicate live with my mentor, by phone or video chat
  (Jitsi Meet), at least twice a week to inform him about what I’m
  actually doing, what I’ve done and what is blocking me. To make
  following my progress easier I’ll keep a daily updated branch `gsoc'
  at <>.

[`address@hidden'] <mailto:address@hidden>

9 Qualifications

  For several years I used NixOS as my main system and actively
  contributed to it. Some months ago I switched to using Guix System
  exclusively, since then I have written patches to Guix and Shepherd
  adding packages, service, features and documentation – most of which
  have been merged – and will continue to so since hacking on this
  project is so enjoyable.

  Related to network booting, I had setup my homelab to PXE boot from an
  Arch box some years ago.

  I am also a computer science student, a Free Software advocate and an
  avid Emacs user. I’m currently reading SICP to improve my Scheme

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