Oct 252005
 

Those of you who have been watching the Atomic Linux forums, will have noticed this…

Defaced forums

Now, I don’t know who this “Eren” character is… or what I’ve susposedly done to deserve this. It’s sad that there are people who merely get their jollies by simply defacing websites. I have no complaints with hackers in general — whitehats do provide a useful service, in that they try to find holes and fix them — it’s the malicious variety of hacker (the blackhat) that I hate.

I’m currently reloading phpBB (latest version), so hopefully the damage won’t be huge — but it does look like we’ve lost most of our threads.

Jul 022005
 

Hi All,
Been working on PreLinux lately… been learning lots about how to, and how not to, netboot a workstation… and so far, I’ve now got something that does something useful.

It’s now in Atomic Linux CVS (as I intend to use it for their install/live CDs). If you want to check my work out…

$ cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.atomicl.berlios.de:/cvsroot/atomicl login $ cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.atomicl.berlios.de:/cvsroot/atomicl co prelinux

It’s pretty simple… Adjust Makefile to taste, if you like, customise whatever files you like in root/ (e.g. you might like to replace the startup banner in root/etc/prelinux.d/banner), then run make. You’ll come out at the end with a file called prelinux which is your binary. You’ll need crossdev if you haven’t got an appropriate cross-compiler, and it uses the ebuild utility to fetch, unpack and patch a BusyBox tree.

Booting it, without parameters, drops you to a shell w/ init. This will be particularly of use with later netboot images for Gentoo/MIPS, as it has all the necessary components. Specifying noinit on the command line instead exec’s ash, allowing you to exec init yourself — this mode is mainly for working out exactly what commands are necessary in the script for the third mode. Specifying setup=http://some/script/file.sh tells PreLinux to download the mentioned script and execute it.

It is this third mode that I’m still trying to perfect. So far, an image made from a 2005.0 stage 3 tarball, boots fine. Ubuntu sorta boots, there’s some issues I still need to sort out… at the moment, I’m trying to see if I can netboot Knoppix via this method, as its bootup config is much simpler. (Ubuntu is straight plain weird, still trying to get my head around it) and I might look at what Gentoo LiveCDs are available too… if I can find one with X and some sort of desktop (Gnome, KDE, FluxBox, XFCE… I’m not picky) I’ll give that a try too.

The cross-compilation (for use with Gentoo/MIPS) has still not been tested yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. As well as testing that feature, I also have to work on handling dynamic libraries. For the moment, BusyBox is linked statically, as locating the necessary runtime libs seems to be a real issue. I could just do it the dirty way and assume they’re in /usr/${CHOST}/lib, but I’d rather not, and besides, this hasn’t worked all that well when I last tried it.

In short, there’s still plenty of hacking to do with this little utility, but I hope to have something useful shortly. Stay Tuned. 🙂