Given the fact I seem to be getting more Sun Sparc headless machines I think its time to have a real netboot environment set up. Currently this is geared towards Sparc and OpenBSD but theres no reasion why you can not use diffrent boot images ect..

Setting Up DHCPD on Gentoo

emerge -av dhcp

Netbooting Sparcs requires you to have a static IP address for the client.  Lets set up a DHCP scope for later use and define a  static IP for the netboot Edit the file :


Here is what I've got in mine:

# DHCP scope for

ddns-update-style ad-hoc; # This is the default. You can set it to none

# option definitions common to all supported networks...
# You need to change this one to your own setting

option domain-name "";

# Your name servers. You can normally find these in
# your /etc/resolv.conf file. These will be distributed to all DHCP
# clients.

option domain-name-servers;

default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;

# If this DHCP server is the official DHCP server for the local
# network, the authoritative directive should be uncommented.


# Configuration for an internal subnet.
# Lets define a basic scope  for later on..

subnet netmask {
range; # The range of ip addresses it will give ou
option domain-name-servers; # Change to your DNS
option domain-name ""; # You need to change this to your own setting
option routers; # Your gateway, your machine that is connected to the internet
option broadcast-address;
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;

# Static mapping for my Sun Sparc T1
# option is where we set the boot media location, folder
host t1 {
hardware ethernet xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx;
option root-path "/media/openbsd";


The above config will give us a basic scope from to Will also give us a static MAC to IP address map and an DHCP "option" for the boot media location. Start the DHCP Server :

/etc/init.d/dhcpd start

Lets start the service on boot :

rc-update add dhcpd default

Your DHCP server is done.

Setting up RARP

Sparc Netboot requires RARP in order to map its MAC to an IP during the PROM stages. Gentoo should allready have an RARP deamon installed via the package "net-misc/iputils". Now edit the file :


Add an entry for your system in the following format :-

# MAC Address                 FQDN

You also must edit the locat hosts or your DNS server to have the FQDN mapping, I've just used hosts file for the moment. Edit the local systems host file :


Add the following :

From the above we can see that the IP is the Ip address from the static DHCP map. Now edit the file :


add the following :

# Start rarpd
/usr/sbin/rarpd -v -e eth0

You will need to start this manualy first time, just use the command :


Setting up TFTP

You'll also need a way to serve out the boot image. I use TFTP becase it works with a LOT more odd machines. Emerge the following package :

emerge -av net-ftp/atftp

The make the TFTP directory :

mkdir /tftpboot
chown nobody:nobody /tftpboot
chmod 440 /tftpboot

Then edit the file :


Add the following :-

# Start tftp server
/usr/sbin/in.tftpd -v --daemon /tftpboot

You will need to start this manualy first time, just use the command :


Setting up the OpenBSD boot files

Get the following files from your local OpenBSD Mirror :

  1. "bsd.rd" copy this into /media/openbsd
  2. "" copy this into /tftpboot

Sun Sparc's when netbooting from PROM look for a file on the TFTP server that maches its MAC address in HEX followed by the extension. I like to create a symlink from to the new file, as the new file names makes no sence ln -s XXXXXXXX (Where XXXXXXXX is the IP address of the system that we set in dhcpd.conf  in HEX) If this fails use TCP dump to see what file its asking for.

We should now be ready to Netboot OpenBSD on the Sparc! How to boot will come in another article..


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