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Old 08-11-2018, 10:27 PM   #1
cthulhu_called
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Question turning PXE server installation image into a USB disk installer


Hello All,

I made this post a few minutes earlier, but cannot find it anywhere on this subforum?

On to my question , prefaced by a description of my setup:

I have a deployment server set up using PXE to netboot multiple different linux installation images. I use preseed and kickstart files to customize the installation of what is installed on the clients. I also have a couple of images which were customized by chrooting into squashfs and using apt to install certain software.

My question is this:

Is it at all possible to add a PXE menu entry that will create a USB installer of the customized images so that they can be used in the field?

My thinking is that I will have to make an ISO installer of the finished product, boot into a minimal Linux environment , pull the ISO from the server and dd it to USB stick.

I'm trying to make this as simple as possible as the people imaging the clients are not trained, so having an entry on the PXE menu that says "Make Install Media of <distro X>" is all that they would have to select after inserting an appropriately sized USB stick into the machine that gets netbooted.

I would really like to avoid going the hosted ISO file route and hope there's some way around it. I know how to create an ISO with custom preseed / kickstart files but for them to work as intended I need to use mini.iso versions of ubuntu (for example) for all of the preseed rules to work. This also means that the network gets hammered with repository traffic and tends to take longer to install than a USB installer w/ most packages already on the disk.

Please feel free to post any and all info in regards to this as I admit I have a few knowledge gaps when it comes to some of the fine grained details of the technologies I imagine will be involved in this task.

Thanks!

Last edited by cthulhu_called; 08-11-2018 at 10:30 PM. Reason: word choice
 
Old 08-12-2018, 03:46 AM   #2
fatmac
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Some distros allow you to remaster their live .iso files, put a remastered iso hybrid .iso file on your server that they could download onto their pendrive, maybe try that(?).

My distro is one that allows you to do this, AntiX, (& MX Linux too).
http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
 
Old 08-12-2018, 03:26 PM   #3
cthulhu_called
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
Some distros allow you to remaster their live .iso files, put a remastered iso hybrid .iso file on your server that they could download onto their pendrive, maybe try that(?).

My distro is one that allows you to do this, AntiX, (& MX Linux too).
http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
Like I mentioned in the post I'd rather not have to host an ISO on the server. Space is at a premium on this specific machine so it would be the last option for me.
 
Old 08-13-2018, 12:56 PM   #4
jefro
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A pxe entry is just a command. So asking if you can create a command that will master a live usb from a set of files while in a pxe boot or keepmem or whatever may be possible but would seem to be much more trouble. Would be easier to make a minimal bootable image of some mastering way or just make the usb image downloadable.
 
Old 08-14-2018, 07:06 AM   #5
fatmac
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If you already have your .iso file, just turn an .iso into a usable USB image, run isohybrid on your iso file, then you can use dd to put it on your pendrive.
 
  


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