I'm trying to set up PXE boot with an ubuntu client.

  • Created the dhcp-boot on my tomato router
  • Added a tftp daemon on my FreeNas box
  • Added a NFS mount on my FreeNas box
  • Debootstrapped Ubuntu 11.10 to the NFS mount
  • I've generated the vmlinuz and initrd from the debootstrap image and copied them to the tftp root.
  • Created a pxelinux.cfg/default file in the tftp root

pxelinux.cfg/default contains:

DEFAULT ubuntu-11.10

LABEL ubuntu-11.10
KERNEL vmlinuz-3.0.0-16-generic
APPEND root=/dev/nfs initrd=initrd.img-3.0.0-16-generic netboot=nfs nfsroot=,nolock,ro ip=dhcp init=/linuxrc
ipappend 2

While booting my node/client it loads the vmlinux and initrd but "panics" while trying to load /sbin/init: Kernel panic

I looked with tcpdump if the process is accessing my nfs server and I see data passing. Also, if I remove /proc or /dev from the image on my nfs server the node complains that it's missing the /dev and/or /proc directory.

I've also tried passing init=/bin/bash but that threw the same kind of error.

Why is my node throwing the run-init: /sbin/init: no such file or directory error?

  • 1
    Please show the output of file /path/to/sbin/init, ldd /path/to/sbin/init and ls /path/to/lib Feb 23, 2012 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


It was my own fault (of course). I didn't properly copy the /dev nodes to the nfs server. I thought that was the problem and manually created the /dev nodes but that dindn't work properly too.

What I ended up doing was tarring the local debootstrap image, scp'ing it to the FreeBSD NFS server and untarring it there locally.

Then it worked perfectly.

  • bootstrap image should be the case. @Leon, any particular steps you had followed to get this working. Also, it would be interesting to see your experience on setting up this pxe boot via nfs for diskless clients(?), somewhere on your blog. Cheers. Feb 24, 2012 at 13:24
  • @NikhilMulley: if the diskless clients are working to my satisfaction I'll post it on my blog!
    – Leon
    Feb 24, 2012 at 18:13
  • cool..thanks, that would be helpful @Leon. Diskless clients in large numbers work good and performance is okay when you have local internal and a very good network bandwidth (NFS and whatnot) and beefy NFS file servers. Feb 24, 2012 at 19:56

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