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Old 11-19-2009, 05:59 PM   #1
GreeNix
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Add drivers to a PXE bootable initrd.img file...


Here's my situation: I have a Windows Terminal Server deployment and all of my end-users use thin clients. Basically, the thin clients boot to the network, download a Linux image to RAM (totally diskless). Then linux boots which then automagically starts rdesktop that connects to my Windows Terminal Services cluster. It's a little Rube Goldberg'esque but it actually works extremely well and is A LOT cheaper than Citrix. I would be happy to explain it in greater detail if anyone is interested.

However, the problem is that the linux image that gets downloaded to the thin client doesn't really support newer hardware. All of my end-users use dual monitors and right now the only video card I can use is nvidia because that's what the linux image supports. I'm also running into hardware limitations. I can build a super-cheap dual monitor thin clients using off-the-shelf parts for <$200 but there's no telling if my linux image is going to support the hardware.

So basically, I need to know how to add drivers to this existing linux image. I've found plenty of tutorials on adding drivers to a existing Linux installation (like if it was installed and running on the hard drive) but that doesn't really help me. I've also found tutorials on mounting/opening the initrd.img, but that's as far as the tutorials get; they generally conclude with "now you can edit your initrd file!" or something like that.

Specifically, I need to add NIC and Intel Graphics drivers to this initrd.img file. The linux kernel is 2.6.15-52 and it's Debian based.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks!
 
Old 11-19-2009, 09:52 PM   #2
J_Szucs
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This is how you can extract and recompress the initrd image:
http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/lin...trd-image.html

So far as I can recall, it is enough to copy the new kernel modules to the right places under the extracted directory tree, and recompress the image by mkinitrd.
I think the new kernel modules (.ko, .ka, etc. files) should be compiled, and mkinitrd should be run under the same system (e.g. kernel version).
 
Old 11-20-2009, 09:55 AM   #3
GreeNix
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As I said; I can find plenty of tutorials explaining how to extract/mount/recompress the initrd image but I don't know what to do once I've gotten that far. I see the /etc/drivers/<device> folders, do I just put my drivers in those folders and hope for the best? Do I need to modify so other "conf" sort of files to tell linux to initialize/probe for the devices that those drivers enable?
 
Old 11-20-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
J_Szucs
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Try it. It does not hurt: the worst that can happen is that the new drivers will not be used.
(Though it is very likely tha they wiil be ignored. Chrooting to the extracted system and depmodding the new modules might be needed for the new modules to be used)

Last edited by J_Szucs; 11-20-2009 at 02:17 PM.
 
Old 11-20-2009, 02:22 PM   #5
GreeNix
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Sigh. I think I've hit my frustration limit for this.

I downloaded the source files for the graphics drivers I want to support (Intel GMA) and after many hours of installing dependencies and rerunning "./configure" and "make" until they finally went through without errors I still don't have a .ko file.

Not to mention that I didn't really get what J_Szucs said about "mkinitrd should be run under the same system (e.g. kernel version)" but it occurs to me that I'm doing all of this on the latest Ubuntu version which is 2.6.31-14-generic. So I think that even if I got everything compiled and put in the right place I would then have to do it all again under the 2.6.15-52 kernel. I don't even know where to begin with installing an older kernel.

So f-it.
 
  


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