2014-07-01

iPXE - The Versatile Boot Loader

iPXE is a lesser known Open Source PXE boot loader which offers many interesting features:

Talk & Article

Since iPXE plays a role in the ImmobilienScout24 boot automation I gave a talk about it at the LinuxTag 2014. The talk is half an hour long and gives a quick introduction into iPXE. It covers build, configuration & scripting and shows how to develop boot scripts in iPXE with a very short feedback cycle.



Download the slides to the talk and the audio recording as a podcast.

At the conference the German Linux Magazin became interested in the topic and asked me to write an article about iPXE:

Der vielseitige Netzwerk-Bootloader I-PXE
Linux Magazin 08/2014


Demo Scripts

For the article I created a bunch of demo scripts that are available on Gist. To try them out follow these steps:
  1. Install QEMU, usually part of your Linux distro but also available for other platforms.
  2. Download my pre-built iPXE boot kernel ipxe.lkrn
  3. Start QEMU with ipxe.lkrn and the URL to the demo script:
    qemu -kernel ipxe.lkrn -append \ 'dhcp && chain http://goo.gl/j8MbXI'
  4. Try out the various options. The login will accept any password that is the reverse of the username.
This demo script looks like that:

And the QEMU boot looks like that:
ipxe-qemu-demo2-menu.png

Try it out

Anybody struggling with PXELINUX should most definitively check out iPXE to see if it provides a better alternative to their needs.