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Does Mac 10.4.1.1 support PXE?

Posted on 2009-04-22
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Hello

I am unable to boot a 1u server off of a Mac via PXE

I am setting up a 1 u server and would like to have it boot via PXE using my Mac mini ( running OS 10.4.1.1)  as the DHCP server running tftp and holding the image file.

Is this possible?

On my mac I set up my Built In Ethernet card to use DHCP and under my "Sharing" folder I set it to "Personal File Sharing On" (UDP traffic is not blocked).  Also I fired up tftp which appears to be on:

prompt$ /sbin/service --list |grep tftp
tftp

I connected the server via eathernet cable to my mac minis built in ethernet port.

When I boot the server I get this message on the server console

CLIENT MAC ADDR: 00  E0 etc  GUID: 000....etc
PXE-E53: No boot filename received

PXE-MOF: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM.

While the server is trying to connect the Mac mini logs are as follows:

Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: interface en0: ip 192.168.2.1 mask 255.255.255.0
Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: interface en0: ip 169.254.141.99 mask 255.255.0.0
Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: interface en1: ip 192.168.1.101 mask 255.255.255.0
Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: dhcp: re-reading lease list
Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:e0:81:2f:fc:d6
Apr 22 17:00:41 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: OFFER sent <no hostname> 192.168.2.2 pktsize 300
Apr 22 17:00:48 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:e0:81:2f:fc:d6
Apr 22 17:00:49 mlangleys-computer bootpd[552]: OFFER sent <no hostname> 192.168.2.2 pktsize 300


Then the process repeats itself.

On the Mini i set up the file /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist to use /private/tftpboot
(actually <string>/private/tftpboot</string>  is the default so I left it that way)

in /private/tftpboot I have placed two files initrd.img and vmlinuz

So the server is saying "No boot filename received" and the Mini logs seem to indicate that we dont get past the "OFFER sent " stage of DHCP?

Any ideas?  Perhaps DHCP as used on the Mini does not support PXE?  
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Question by:mplangley
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by:my2eggs
ID: 24224804
I'm not sure that is possible. Typically PXE boots work independently of your OS. (Preboot eXecution Environment) So typically PXE happens before you even boot your OS so I don't think editing any settings from within the Mac OS will help. On a PC you have to go into BIOS and turn on the PXE boot option if your network card supports it. Macs do not use a BIOS in the same sense as PC's do. They usually have an EFI which simply looks for bootable devices and processes any pre-boot keyboard codes beings sent to it.

That being said you can netboot a mac but that is not the same thing as PXE boot and it generally requires a machine with Mac OS X Server on it.

Also, when you say, "I connected the server via eathernet cable to my mac minis built in ethernet port", do you mean you connected the server directly to the mac mini, no router or switch? Typically that won't work unless you are using a crossover cable.
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mplangley earned 0 total points
ID: 24288496
Actually I found the answer.

A Mac mini running 10.4.11 does support PXE operating as a pxe server.    That is to answer my own question more clearly I was able to boot a 1u server via PXE using my Mac mini ( running OS 10.4.1.1)  as the DHCP server running tftp and holding the image file effectively making my mini a PXE server.

To do this I needed to make sure my mini was running both tftp and dhcpd.  Tftp was already supported however I built dhcpd.  Once compiled dhcpd was started like this

sudo /usr/sbin/dhcpd -d -f en0

so that I would watch the incoming connection.

to provide support for the incoming tftp connection I created a directory in / callling it arbitrarily tftpstuff.  

In tftpstuff I put the essential files which the incoming pxe connection would search for - namely initrd.img and vmlinuz (your needs may vary).

Also - in order to make this work ftp and http had to be activated through sharing in preferences.

I connected directly via an ethernet cable from the unimaged server to my mac mini.
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by:my2eggs
ID: 24288694
Ah, I misunderstood your question. From the title you gave it I was thinking you wanted to boot the mac mini via PXE boot. Which is not supported. After re-reading the first sentence of you question I see you meant it the other way around. Given that Mac OS X uses a modified BSD kernel you can run just about any service with the right tweaking or by building it yourself.
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by:nappy_d
ID: 24324937
Yeah, it does support PXE boot but as of 10.5 Leopard this goes away unless you get Leopard Server and run Netboot and Netinstall services.  I think you should look at doing this as never machines will give you problems.
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by:my2eggs
ID: 24325180
Nappy_d, do you think you might be able to provide some more info on booting a mac via PXE boot. It's a bit off topic as the author was wanting to boot a 1u server via PXE boot (with the PXE boot service running on a Mac), but I think the topic is close enough to where it could be useful for others who come to this thread.

From my understanding and everything I can find (which maybe wrong), the EFI of the macs does not support PXE boot natively. It will download the image but it will do nothing with it as it needs to be an EFI compatible binary for it to boot to it.

http://forum.onmac.net/archive/index.php/t-1754.html

Also, I'm not sure why it would matter as to whether or not you have 10.5 or any other OS on the mac as PXE boot happens before the OS is ever loaded (Preboot eXecution Environment). Any additional info you can provide would be helpful. Thanks.
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by:nappy_d
ID: 24326313
From the same article you read, I think this was only possible under 10.4 I have not used it myself tho.  I have always used an OS X 10.4 or 10.5 Server version to handle my Macintosh Netboot and NetInstallations.  Doing this will give you less issues for functionality.

The EFI on OS X and PXE boot works 100% from OS X server for Netboot and NetInstall.
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