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about [2006/06/06 13:06]
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about [2009/11/28 12:29] (current)
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-===== About EtherBoot ​=====+====== About Us ======
  
-Etherboot ​is a software package for creating ROM images ​that can download code over an Ethernet network ​to be executed on an x86 computer. Many network ​adapters have a socket where a ROM chip can be installedEtherboot is code that can be put in such ROM. Etherboot is normally used for for booting PCs diskless. This is useful in various situations, for example: +We, the [[http://​etherboot.org/​|Etherboot ​Project]], create network booting code that allows computers ​to load their operating system from a network. ​ ​Our ​code can be stored ​in a number ​of placesincluding BIOS Flash, EPROMs, floppy, CD, HD, or other bootable media.  ​
-  * An X-terminal. +
-  * Clusters of compute servers. +
-  * Routers. +
-  * Various kinds of remote serverse.g. a tape drive server that can be accessed with the RMT protocol. +
-  * Machines doing tasks in environments unfriendly to disks. +
-  * A user platform where remote partitions are mounted over the network and you are willing to accept the lower speed compared to disk. +
-  * Maintaining software for a cluster of equally configured workstations centrally.+
  
 +The Etherboot project has been active since about 1995.
  
-Etherboot can boot computers faster than from a disk because there are no delays in spinning up disks, etc. A moment'​s calculation will show that even with a 10Mbit Ethernet, sending a 500kB kernel will take only a couple of seconds typically. With 100Mbit Ethernet it gets even better. 
  
 +===== Our Code =====
  
-Compared to booting from solid-state devices, e.g. Flash disksEtherboot has the advantage ​of centralising software adminstration, ​the tradeoff being the dependence on a server. This can be partly alleviated by providing redundant servers.+Our oldest and most well-known software package is [[etherboot-software|Etherboot]] It is currently undergoing a major restructuringand the next version ​of the package will be called "​gPXE"​.
  
 +gPXE implements PXE, the industry standard network booting specification,​ and extends it with a number of new protocols and features. ​
  
-Etherboot can work with RAM disksNFS filesystemsor even local disks, if desired. It'​s ​component technology and can be combined with other technologies to do things the way you want.+Additionallywe operate the [[http://​rom-o-matic.net/​]] websitewhich dynamically generates Etherboot (and soon gPXE) images in variety of formats.
  
 +If you prefer, you can download the full Etherboot package from our [[http://​git.etherboot.org/?​p=gpxe.git|git repository]].
  
-Etherboot is usually used to load Linux, FreeBSD or DOS. However the protocol and boot file formats are general, so there is no reason why it could not be used to load arbitrary images to a PC, including other OSes. 
  
 +===== Our Members =====
 +Our members come from all over the world, from a variety of backgrounds and specialities. We value all types of participation including coding, debugging, website development,​ and documentation.
  
-Etherboot ​is Open Source under the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPL2).+We also welcome new members. A lot of what we do is centered around our [[mailinglists|mailing list]], and we encourage you to join if you are interested in our project. You may also wish to browse our mailing list archives to see what sorts of things we are doing.
  
 +If you are interested in coding, please note that our mission to create network boot code means that it is important that you be comfortable with low-level programming ​ -- that is, C and possibly some x86 assembler. ​ You should also understand that efficiencies of code size, runtime size, and execution speed are important to us.  Low-level, or "​bare-metal"​ programming requires patience and focus, but the sense of control and deep understanding of what is happening, and why, can be very exhilarating. If you need some pointers for low-level programming,​ have a look at [[relatedlinks]].
  
-The components needed ​by Etherboot are +We expect anyone who wants to work with us to be comfortable having their code reviewed and commented on by others ​in our project community.  ​We do endeavor to maintain an environment of open discoursewith reasonable level of civility ​and mutual respect.  ​Reading our mailing list archives may be useful ​for getting ​sense of how we work together.
-  * A bootstrap loader, usually ​in an EPROM on a network card, or installed in the flash BIOS, but could be put anywhere in the address space the BIOS probes in. For testing this could be put on a floppy disk or a hard disk partition. Some configurations may even be always run from a floppy disk (e.g. temporary testing setups or pedagogic uses). +
-  * A DHCP or bootp serverfor returning an IP address and other information when sent MAC (Ethernet card) address. +
-  * A tftp server, for sending the kernel images ​and other files required in the boot process. Alternatively,​ Etherboot can boot from an NFS mount. +
-  * A Linux or FreeBSD kernel. +
-  * Optionally, a NFS server, ​for providing the disk partitions that will be mounted if Linux or FreeBSD is being booted. +
-  * Optionally, ​RAM disk contained in the loaded image. This can be the initial RAM disk if desired. +
-  * Software tools for building the download image, and tools for debugging.+

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