NFS boot Ubuntu Linux 22.04


I suppose that nothing is preventing me from using this blog to signal-boost my other projects.

A while ago I researched and wrote complete step-by-step instructions, on how to set up a server and the client OS to boot over NFS:

This will work with a modern Ubuntu such as 22.04 , whereas other instructions you might have found Googling were written for Ubuntu 12.04 and barely ever updated since.


This is the type of thing that the NFS kernel server package is written for, but at the same time, the use-case is kind of obscure. The reason I had to prepare the procedure was that we were looking for a fast way to boot a Live Linux with a GUI, that could then be used to do the diagnostics and install — we needed this for a non-profit that recycles and repairs computers.

Obviously there are many options such as using a USB-connected live install SSD or booting from a CD, but all of these can be relatively slow on 10-year-old legacy hardware, which is what this non-profit usually deals with. What isn’t slow on 10-year-old legacy hardware, is wired network, which has been sticking to gigabit for the whole while.

I have a whole software package designed around that NFS install of Ubuntu, but I’ll cover that in another entry. I found that these to-the-point technical blogs preform best on this blog, which I suppose is understandable, people Google what they need.


By the way, you will notice this procedure still relies on a USB media to do the initial boot. You could use PXE and have everything be network, but importantly you do not want to use PXE to boot a modern un-customised Ubuntu kernel.

The reason is that PXE verifies data sent by having it sent back 1:1 in small chunks of I think 512 bytes or something. This makes PXE extremely latency-sensitive and just a fraction of a milisecond of travel time will add up to huge waiting times to transfer a modern 150 MB kernel and initramfs. Based on my testing, over PXE you’d have to wait 20 minutes for the boot process to even start and needless to say this was not acceptable for our purpose.


Regardless, I hope this comes in handy.


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