FAI comments

Phillip Smith psmith at uchicago.edu
Thu Mar 22 00:51:52 CET 2001

On Wed, 28 Feb 2001, Thomas Lange wrote:

> Maybe you can send a mail and describe what you had changed to get it
> work.

It wasn't so much what I had to change, but rather assembling the pieces
of information from pxelinux.doc, your example dhcpd.conf, and some info
from the mailing lists.

> Please look at the new command fcopy and the new templates (CVS
> repository), because it makes things much easier.

Yes, the new scripts in CVS seem to make more sense.
> > The main problems I've run into have been getting rsh/pam to cooperate
> Please describe the problems in detail.

My specific problem was that I was using Debian (testing) on the fai
server, and apparently the PAM modules for rsh/rlogin are very
broken in that tree.  After installing the potato packages for the PAM
modules and rsh-client/server, things began behaving in a more expected
manner.  There is still some weirdness going on (it doesn't appear that
/etc/hosts.equiv and ~/.rhosts is honoring netgroups, even though they're
setup correctly), but I have a working solution for the time being.

> > so that FAI can finish properly, and the issue with certain packages (like
> > nis) which aren't correctly debconf'ed.  I notice from the mailing list
> I wish that all packaes would use debconf.

I have merged in the idea of the problem packages script from NAIS as
a class to handle these situations (nis and ntp for instance).  If you'd
like, I can send the script to you (or to the list).  Perhaps it would be
useful to someone else, whether or not you decide to include it.

> > nice if a better solution could be worked out (maybe the nodes could mount
> > a partition from the faiserver rw so that the logs could be written?)
> Nice idea. I think about it.

With the rsh working now, the way it is seems to work just fine.  I do
still have a problem with the command it runs to do the $TFTPLINK.  In my
case, if a symlink (the name of the node, which points to
pxelinux.bin) exists under /boot/fai, then that node will go through the
FAI boot process (bios is set to network first, then disk).  At the end of
the FAI run, it's supposed to rsh over and rm the symlink.  So I made a
slight modification to rcS_fai to do this:

rsh -l $FAI_USER ${SERVER} "cd /boot/fai; rm -f $HOSTNAME"

It's basically the same command that existed before, but instead of
creating the $TFTPLINK it removes an existing link.  For some reason, this
doesn't work (maybe within rcS_fai the $HOSTNAME isn't set
there?).  However, breaking to a shell I can echo $HOSTNAME which returns
the correct value, and run this command from the prompt which works as

Aside from that, I have a reasonably working configuration at this point.
I would have responded sooner but I've been rather busy with this and
other things.


Phillip Smith
Unix Systems Administrator
Geophysical Sciences Computing
NSIT, University of Chicago

Phone:  773-834-0695
E-mail: psmith at uchicago.edu

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