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Old 05-23-2009, 10:40 PM   #1
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Problem PXE booting FreeBSD 7.2 installer and installing via NFS


I am trying to install FreeBSD 7.2 on and old Pentium 4 system with 1 GB of RAM that does not have a functional floppy or CD drive. However, the machine does support PXE booting. I am following the instructions in this blog post, but I am having problems.

I've set up my DHCP server as indicated, and have also set up TFTP and NFS on my main desktop (running Ubuntu 9.04). The machine gets a newtowk address via DHCP and the FreeBSD 7.2 kernel boots. However, it can't seem to NFS mount the root filesystem for use in the install. The final few messages are:

Lookup of /dev for devfs, error: 2
init: not found in path /sbin/init:/sbin/oinit:/sbin/init.bak:/rescue/init:/stand/sysinstall

I followed the instructions in the linked post carefully; the only thing I did not do was to add an install.cfg to the mfsroot. It seems to me that the mfsroot file is a filesystem image that ought to contain the root filesystem. Looking at the syslog on the Ubuntu NFS server, it appears that the NFS export is being mounted correctly, however for some reason the kernel is unable to fuind the /stand/sysinstall program (I suspect the /dev error is related, with /dev not being mounted either).

Since everything appears to be working correctly up to this point, I am having trouble figuring out how to debug this. I've had some prior experience with FreeBSD, but it was a couple years ago and I was not trying to PXE boot to start the install. Has anyone gotten this to work? Failing this, where can find the base i386 files for /stand and /dev so I can at least get the install started (I tried mounting the mfsroot via loopback on the Ubuntu box, but could not browse the filesystem, nor could I find the files on the FTP mirror).
Old 01-11-2010, 05:32 AM   #2
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PXE booting FreeBSD 8.0 advice

Hi, I know your question is old but the same thing occurred for me booting Freebsd 8, and I registered on this site to explain why:

This blog post '' was written in 2009.11 and is more relevant than the other blog reference by the original poster. You do not need to insert an 'install.cfg' file into the Freebsd boot directory.

It also details two issues that still affect Freebsd 8; 'ufs:/dev/md0c' vs 'ufs:/dev/md0', and the glitch that affects mfsroot.gz. So, use 'md0' and extract the *.gz file.

But those two things are not why nfs mounting fails. Using wireshark I found that the Freebsd nfs client was using nfsv1. Nfs is up to v4, and Arch Linux, and probably Ubuntu, disable nfsv2 and nfsv1 by default. In Arch Linux this is found in '/etc/conf.d/nfs-server.conf', under 'MOUNTD_OPTS='. Make sure your nfs server is not disabling nfsv1 and Freebsd should have no more mounting problems.

For network protocol failures, like dhcp, tftp, nfs, etc.. I find them easier to identify using a network sniffer program, like wireshark, before debugging by looking at logs/statuses on a server.


freebsd, install, pxe

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