PXE Booting Ubuntu from WDS (Windows Deployment Solutions)

Chadley Wilson chadleyw at pinnacle.co.za
Mon Feb 1 11:40:01 UTC 2010

Hi All,

To Start with my first post...
1.) How is everyone today?
2.) I am well experienced in desktop computing, which includes Windows and Linux.
3.) I am fairly well experienced in servers running Windows and Linux, but I don't get to set them up every day and so don't always know how I did things.
4.) I am competent in scripting languages but not a programmer.

A bit of background:
I maintain 6 servers which run WDS, we use these servers to pre load Windows on computers using images. I have developed software which preloads computers for which there is no existing image and this is done automatically. I added Linux to my mix recently and have had a lot of success. The system we run is designed to keep any form of medium from entering or being used on our factory floor. (We wouldn't want you to buy one of our PC's and it has a virus on it)

My current project is to add Ubuntu Linux to my existing Windows 2008 Server which is running WDS PXE (TFTP, BOOTP, etc...) for Windows PE and image deployment and Windows Setup

I am trying to configure Ubuntu to present a graphical boot and setup experience for my factory users.
Currently I have working on WDS Opensuse10/11/11.1/11.2 both 64 and 32... Fedora, redhat and Centos distributions.  This also includes menu options for the Microsoft WDS PXE boot menu and an option to boot to hard drive.

I have two areas where I believe someone more knowledgeable that myself can help.

I am using vesamenu.c32 to create my boot menu options which are presented by syslinux and pxelinux.com.
All of which is working and all the distro are installing in full graphic mode.

I have need to know if there exists an initrd and kernel for Ubuntu 9.10 and 8.xxx that allows graphic installation over the network. The combination of the initrd and kernel vmlinuz which I obtained from the </install/netboot> folder off the:

       Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala - Release i386

Only presents a text based setup. Now the problem is that I need a graphical interface for the setup over the network due to staff competence levels.

I also downloaded a few home grown initrd and kernel combos, but they seem to be tied to the disc that they came from and can't find the installations sources of 9.10. I suppose that is to be expected...

Is there any other way to go about this.

How do I add PCdos or MS-dos to the PXE menu so that I can flash bioses without making boot discs...

Chadley Wilson | Engineer
Research and Development | Pinnacle Africa

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