Boot Linux Over HTTP With boot.kernel.org (BKO)
Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 09/23/2009
This tutorial shows how you can boot Linux over HTTP with boot.kernel.org (BKO). All that users need is Internet connectivity and a small program (gpxe) to boot the machine. This gpxe program provides network booting facility. BKO allows you to boot into the following distributions: Debian, Ubuntu, Damn Small Linux, Knoppix, Fedora. BKO provides gpxe images for USB sticks, CDs, and also for floppies, i.e., you can boot from a USB sticks, a CD, or a floppy.
I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!
1 Getting BKO
Go to http://boot.kernel.org/ and download the appropriate gpxe image. If you want to boot from a CD, just download the CD ISO and burn it onto a CD, then boot from that CD. I want to use a USB stick here, so the procedure is a bit more complicated. I download the USB Image to my desktop:
You should now find the gpxe.usb file on your desktop. Now plug in your USB stick - its icon should appear on the desktop as well:
Next open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):
In the terminal, run
to find out the device name of your USB stick:
/dev/sda1 on / type ext3 (rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
varrun on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
varlock on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,mode=1777)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
lrm on /lib/modules/2.6.28-11-generic/volatile type tmpfs (rw,mode=755)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw)
binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
gvfs-fuse-daemon on /home/falko/.gvfs type fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon (rw,nosuid,nodev,user=falko)
/dev/sdf1 on /media/disk type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=hal,shortname=mixed,uid=1000,utf8,umask=077,flush)
In my case, it's /dev/sfd (mount point /media/disk).
Before we can transfer the gpxe.usb image to the USB stick, we must unmount the USB stick. Right-click its icon on the desktop and select Unmount Volume...
... or run
in the terminal.
Now we can transfer the gpxe.usb image to the USB stick as follows:
sudo dd if=~/Desktop/gpxe.usb of=/dev/sdf
That's it! We can now boot another computer from the USB stick.
2 Booting From BKO
Now insert your BKO medium (USB stick, CD, floppy) into the computer that you want to boot from BKO, and make sure that the BKO medium is the first boot device in the computer's BIOS!
This is how the BKO boot menu looks:
You can find some Live distributions under Live Images:
Currently, the following distributions are available as Live Images: Debian, Damn Small Linux (DSL), Fedora, Knoppix, and Ubuntu:
In this example, I want to start an Ubuntu 9.04 Live desktop (it doesn't matter if you select iscsi or iso):
The Live desktop will now boot (this can take some minutes because everything has to be loaded from the Internet):
Finally, you should see the Ubuntu Live desktop. If you want to install Ubuntu to the hard drive, simply click the Install icon and follow the instructions:
- boot.kernel.org (BKO): http://boot.kernel.org/