I recently did this, and it’s a little convoluted.
I don’t have an external CD drive, or a >1Gb flash drive, so I thought I’d give netboot a go. Here’s what to do:
- On your ibook, start the tftp server:
sudo /sbin/service tftp start
- Download and extract the pxe image to your tftp folder:
wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/hardy-updates/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/netboot.tar.gz tar -xvzf netboot.tar.gz -C /private/tftpboot
- Download, compile and run dnsmasq, a DHCP server:
sudo fink install dnsmasq
- Add the following to /etc/dnsmasq.conf:
user=root resolv-file=/tmp/resolv.conf no-poll interfact=en0 dhcp-leasefile=/tmp/dnsmasq.log dhcp-range=169.254.32.0,169.254.32.100,86400 dhcp-option=3,169.254.32.135 dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0
- You’ll need to change some of those bits. First of all, the interface name should match that of your iBook’s built-in ethernet port. Run `ifconfig` in a terminal window to find that out. Whilst you’re there, find out what IP address has been assigned to it, and slip that into the dhcp-option line. Then change the range to match the first three parts of your IP address – this is the range of addresses that your DHCP server will choose from when your Aspire asks for an address when it boots up.
- Switch on the DHCP server:
sudo dnsmasq -C /etc/dnsmasq.conf
Connect your Aspire and iBook together with an ethernet cable, and turn on your Aspire.
- Early in the boot sequence you’re given the opportunity to go into setup. Hit ‘F12’ and choose to boot from the network interface. Then save & exit. With any luck, your Aspire will ask your iBook for an IP address, be given one, and will load the pxelinux.0 boot file with tftp.
- If something goes wrong, there are a couple of things you can do. Check the screen for useful output (at this early stage of the game it’s not terribly likely that there’ll be much there, but you never know). Try to get the pxelinux file from another computer using a tftp client (there’s one build into OS X, certainly, and they’re easy to find on the net for other Operating Systems). Look in the dnsmasq log file for information. I was stuck at this stage for quite a while, and in my case the fix was to play with the range of IP addresses until I got it right.
- If all goes well, you’ll be prompted to ‘boot’. Just hit enter, and keep going through hardware and network configuration. The bootstrap installer will need to access the internet to download the rest of the install files, so select a mirror and watch it break.
- That’s right, it’ll probably break at this point. Remember how we gave the aspire an IP address to allow it to boot up? Well, it now thinks it can access the internet, and it probably can’t. So, switch off the DHCP server on your iBook
sudo killall dnsmasq
Then enable internet connection sharing on your iBook. In my case my internet connection was wireless, so I was fine. Otherwise, try plugging your aspire straight into the router or a switch, as long as there’s a working DHCP server on your network (it’s probably your router)
System Preferences -> Sharing -> Internet
- Then, if you’re lucky, going back a few steps in the installer and re-auto-detecting network settings should be all you have to do. Your router should provide your Aspire with an IP address for the local network using DHCP, and you should be able to continue the download. That didn’t work for me, I’m afraid to say, so I had to manually configure the network settings for my laptop. Here’s how to do that:
- Ensure your Aspire is connected to a machine (or router) with internet access. In my case it was my iBook that was connected to an Apple Airport Express via wifi. Hit `ifconfig` in a Terminal, and find the interface (en1, in my case) that’s connected to the internet. Look for a line saying ‘inet’. Pick an IP address and Netmask based on the values in that line, though the IP address you choose probably shouldn’t be the same as any machine on the network.
- This did the trick, in my case. If not, go back and try auto-configuring the network again. Sometimes the manual changes you made will kick the thing into life. I know that sounds quite unscientific, but the whole thing seems like voodoo to me anyway.
At this point, you should be able to continue from step 3 (“Tweak/Fix”) on the Ubuntu AspireOne install page. Good luck!
(keep an eye out for my upcoming post ‘Is linux still not ready for the desktop?!’)