TLDR: I want to install a linux system on a NDB share, but without a PXE/TFTP server (BOOT from a USB stick, and switch to NDB share as soon as possible)

Long: In my network I have a NAS which is rather ok, and a router without a decent DHCP server config options (there is no way of setting any tftp address / filepath and so on) and atm I don't want to change this. So the idea is simple, install any linux distro (preferably ubuntu) on an USB stick (preferably using normal installer) and, during install or after, mount everything useful (/bin /usr /var /home ...) on ndb share (maybe mount ndb before install, and add some magic kernel parameters to bootcmd?) so that on USB I'll have small /boot dir and initial configuration (this is not a hard requirement, the goal here is to put as much ass possible on NDB, not everything).

Also, I would like to have a normal OS, not an ISO file (the image needs to be RW so if iso can be RW then it is ok)

This looks like something doable, but honestly I don't have a clue on how to start, can you help me out?

  • IIRC the kernel can boot from NFS. All variables are passed through kernel params, so technically you only need a few local files: the kernel, initial ramdisk and something to load them (avoidable using EFI stub if you have a decent UEFI).
    – gronostaj
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 20:40
  • It's doable. These might help: Debian mailinglist thread abt putting root in an NBD device, Setting up GC-Linux with NBD root Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 22:41
  • The bare minimum requirement in local storage is a bootloader, such as U-Boot. Everything else can then be fetched from the network. U-Boot is capable of loading a Linux kernel image from a TFTP server. Then the Linux kernel is capable of mounting a network-based root filesystem hosted by an NFS server. The IP addresses of the servers would have to be known, i.e. static, and hardcoded into commands. See Mounting the root filesystem via NFS (nfsroot). FWIW I've done this with ARM SBCs, but not a PC.
    – sawdust
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 1:23
  • @Peregrino69 Thanks for those links, I didn't seen them and indeed they look useful, my administrative skills are not great so it will take me a while to actually test it tho...
    – Bartoszek
    Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 6:56


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