booting from host with multiple network cards

Stephan Hermann sh at
Mon Nov 23 09:59:35 CET 2009

Good Morning,

On Sun, 22 Nov 2009 13:38:16 +0100
Thomas Lange <lange at> wrote:

> In the past, several people had problems booting a host with multiple
> network cards. IIRC Dell hardware often had this problem.
> In newer versions of live-initramfs a new bootoption is available.
> * bootoption ethdevice: use specified network device for network
> booting (PXE) instead of default (being eth0). Feature contributed by
> Helge Wagner. Usage example: ethdevice=eth1
> AFAIKS this option was first added to grml, then the patch was
> also included in the original live-initramfs package.
> A backport version of the newest live-initramfs package can be found
> at
> I think about adding a newer live-initramfs package to the FAI
> repository, so you will automatically get a version that supports this
> new option. Any comments?

I would say, setting ipconfig
in /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts/functions to dhcp any interface
which is there should be a better option.

The fun part about this issue is, when you deal with trunk ports and
native vlans on switch interfaces....

in this case, it shouldn't matter which device was pxe booting, but
ipconfig (no it's not a typing mistake) should dhcp all interfaces. 
if one of the available interfaces comes through, the process goes on,
and FAI does it's work.

Setting a special interface can give a problem with udev not knowing
that the device e.g. with name eth1 is really the hw device which can

Yes, there are other problems with the implementation of ipconfig (e.g.
my ipconfig setup needs a timeout of 180, because loading the module
for the nic and ipconfigs send dhcp request is not in sync somehow +
port fast on cisco switches is not fast enough ;))



| Stephan '\sh' Hermann    | OSS Dev / SysAdmin         |
| JID: sh at |  | 
| GPG ID: 0xC098EFA8	   |          |
| FP: 3D8B 5138 0852 DA7A B83F DCCB C189 E733 C098 EFA8 |

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