New Toy

I've got myself a new toy: a Soekris net4801

Here is a nice gallery of images for it.

In the more distant future it is supposed to take over the position of the firewall on my home network, but right now it is fair game for doing geek stuff ;)

Obviously the thing itself is already cool, but an advanced geek won't be satisfied that easily

So knowing that the device has support for PXE I decided to try booting over network, including running the system with an NFS root.

First thing I got running was a Debian sarge netboot setup, but unfortunately my current power supply wouldn't allow me to complete the installation, I guess computing MD5 sums while accessing the harddisk exceeds the 700mA it can provide.

But GRML to the rescue!

Downloaded the brand new 0.5 release "Tokolytika" and burned it onto CD.
Rebooted one of my spare machines using this CD, followed by launching their extraordinary grml-terminalserver script.

PXE booting worked as expected but I got a kernel oops when it tried to initialize the framebuffer :(

But after some tweaking of the kernel parameters, assisted by senior GRML developers (it really helps to have the distribution's gurus on your ICQ contact list ;))

So after successfully booting GRML on my Soekris, I additionally enhanced the situations geekness factor by creating a NAT forwarding for SSH on my firewall to my desktop computer an invited the mentioned GRML developers over for a testride.