Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Installation
    1. What are the different distributions of PUIAS?
    2. Where are the boot images located and which one to choose?
    3. How do I get started with an install?
    4. How to I create DVD images of the PU_IAS Distribution?
    5. How do I create boot media?
      1. cd-rom boot
      2. usb boot
      3. pxeboot
      4. floppy boot
    6. How do I configure pxeboot?


What are the different distributions of PUIAS?

The current release of PU_IAS is based on a reimplementation of RedHat?© Enterprise Linux 5 - PU_IAS Linux 5. At the beginning of the installation of PU_IAS 5 you will have an opportunity to choose which version of PU_IAS 5 you would like to install. These are all possible options:

  • PU_IAS 5 Server - with Cluster, Cluster Storage, Virtualization and PU_IAS Addons options.
  • PU_IAS 5 Client - with Virtualization and PU_IAS Addons options.

These are older releases

  • PU_IAS-2WS is the preferred distro for Workstations. Locally maintained packages are merged into this version. This version continues to be supported but any new installations are discouraged - please use the current release instead.
  • PU_IAS-2 is the unmodified distro and is preferred for production servers. This version continues to be supported but please consider using the current release instead.
  • PU_IAS-1/1WS are based on RedHat? Enterprise Linux© 3.
  • RedHat?© 9 and older distro's are deprecated, users are encouraged to upgrade to PU_IAS-2WS for workstations and PU_IAS-2 for servers. PU_IAS-1/1WS will continue to be supported but any new installations are discouraged.

Where are the boot images located and which one to choose?

There are a couple of different install images you can choose: boot.iso - boot cdrom image, diskboot.img - VFAT filesystem image that can be written to a USB pendrive or other bootable media larger than a floppy, pxeboot - files used for pxe/network initiated installs.

Download locations for boot images for the current distribution version:

Download locations for boot images for older distribution versions:

You can more information on how to create boot media or configure pxeboot in separate faq entries.

Distribution version Download location
PU_IAS 5 for i386 (32 bit)
PU_IAS 5 for x86_64 (64 bit)
Distribution version Download location
PU_IAS 1WS for i386 (32 bit)
PU_IAS 1WS for x86_64 (64 bit)
PU_IAS 1 for i386 (32 bit)
PU_IAS 1 for x86_64 (64 bit)

Distribution version Download location
PU_IAS 2WS for i386 (32 bit)
PU_IAS 2WS for x86_64 (64 bit)
PU_IAS 2 for i386 (32 bit)
PU_IAS 2 for x86_64 (64 bit)

How do I get started with an install?

The default install types all depend on having network access during installation. This install is initiated by either a small boot cdrom or a usb pendrive image. After a few questions the install continues over the network and the installer fetches all the instalation material by using NFS or HTTP.

If you will be installing one of our distributions on a machine that doesn't have a high speed network access then please read the FAQ question about creating a DVD image of the distribution version that you will be installing.

You will need a boot image - please read appropriate FAQ questions on how to download and create appropriate boot media.

Once you have the boot installation media start the computer up from it (e.g. boot from the installation cdrom or from USB pendrive).

You will be prompted for install type - please choose HTTP (NFS is not recommended any more). If on IAS campus again choose HTTP installs but you will have to modify the default location of the install material in order to use the local mirror.

After choosing the install type the installer will initialize your networking and then allow you to modify the preset download location of the distribution. If you will be using the download server you can accept the defaults. If you will be using IAS mirror you should modify the default server and location as follows:

Where #DistVersion? may be 2WS, 2, 1WS, 1 and #Arch might be i386 or x86_64

original change to for IAS
directory: /data/PU_IAS/local/#DistVersion?/en/os/#Arch /data/PU_IAS/local/#DistVersion?/en/os/#Arch

original change to for IAS
directory: /data/PU_IAS/local/#DistVersion?/en/os/#Arch /data/PU_IAS/local/#DistVersion?/en/os/#Arch

How to I create DVD images of the PU_IAS Distribution?

  1. First, download everything under the architecture for which you wish to build. If your architecture is x86-64, download all the files under
  2. IMPORTANT: Make sure you also download .discinfo file. That means you'll need to download at the minimum .discinfo and GPL files, images, isolinux and all subdirectories directories.
  3. Next change to the directory in which you downloaded these files.
  4. In order to decrease the size of the resulting image you can run "hardlink -c . ." (assuming you are in the directory with downloaded files). This should reduce the resulting DVD image by more then 2GB (this is so because the image contains both Client+Workstation and Server variants of the OS and therefore there is a lot of duplication). If you do not have hardlink installed on your system please use Yum to install it ("yum -y install hardlink"). Alternatively you could drop from the image either Client+Workstation dirs or Server - depending on which one you intend to use.
  5. Then ensure you have the dvd+rw tools package installed (you'll need growisofs).
  6. Run growisofs to build the iso image and burn it directly to your media. The command below assumes your dvdburner is symlinked to /dev/dvd
        root@anywhere root# cd /path/to/x86_64
        root@anywhere x86_64# growisofs -Z /dev/dvd -r -b isolinux/isolinux.bin \
        -c isolinux/ -cache-inodes -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 \
        -boot-info-table -R -m TRANS.TBL -graft-points /=i386 

When done you should have a fancy new install DVD.

How do I create boot media?

There are currently three supported methods for installing PUIAS

CD-Rom (boot.iso) USB Flash Drive (diskboot.img) PXE Boot (pxeboot/)

Floppy booting is deprecated, instructions are included for previous releases.

cd-rom boot

Basic instructions for using cdrecord to burn boot.iso. find your cd-rw drive first.

root@pu_ias images# cdrecord -scanbus
2,0,0   200) \'SONY    \' \'DVD RW DRU-510A \' \'1.0b\' Removable CD-ROM

burn the image

root@pu_ias images# cdrecord -dev=2,0,0 -v boot.iso
Blocks total: 336075 Blocks current: 336075 Blocks remaining: 334489
Starting to write CD/DVD at speed 10 in real TAO mode for single session.
Waiting for reader process to fill input buffer ... input buffer ready.
BURN-Free is ON.
Turning BURN-Free off
Performing OPC...
Starting new track at sector: 0
Track 01:    3 of    3 MB written (fifo 100%) buf  39% 150.7x.
Track 01: Total bytes read/written: 3244032/3244032 (1584 sectors).
Writing  time:    8.480s
Average write speed   4.6x.
Fixating time:   24.931s
cdrecord: fifo had 52 puts and 52 gets.
cdrecord: fifo was 0 times empty and 0 times full, min fill was 100%.

Note: If you are using a cd-rw, blank the cd first

root@pu_ias images# cdrecord -dev=2,0,0 -v blank=fast
Starting to write CD/DVD at speed 10 in real BLANK mode for single session.
Performing OPC...
Blanking PMA, TOC, pregap
Blanking time:   28.321s

usb boot

To use a usb flash drive as your boot device your bios needs to support usb booting. This is sometimes called usb floppy drive booting, check your boot options in your bios setup (usually at startup)

The usb boot image is a vfat filesystem approximately 5MB, you'll need at least an 8MB flash drive (you can't buy less than 32 right now though). Make sure nothing important is on this drive, you're going to wipe it out.

Insert the drive and check your logs for messages:

root@pu_ias images# dmesg | grep -A7 hub.c
hub.c: new USB device 00:1d.2-2, assigned address 2
scsi4 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
Vendor: LEXAR     Model: JUMPDRIVE         Rev: 1.02
Type:   Direct-Access?                      ANSI SCSI revision: 02
Attached scsi removable disk sdb at scsi4, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
SCSI device sdb: 62464 512-byte hdwr sectors (32 MB)
sdb: Write Protect is off
sdb: sdb1

You may have to load some modules to get your usb flash drive working, usb-storage for instance... From the above we know that the usb drive is /dev/sdb, we can write out image to it.

root@pu_ias images# dd if=diskboot.img of=/dev/sdb
12288+0 records in
12288+0 records out

Now you can boot your machine with the usb flash drive. If you wish to mount the vfat filesystem that you created, mount the whole device, not sdb1

root@pu_ias images# mount /dev/sdb /mnt/flash
root@pu_ias images# ls /mnt/flash
boot.msg     initrd.img    ldlinux.sys  options.msg  rescue.msg  splash.lss    vmlinuz
general.msg  isolinux.bin  memtest      param.msg    snake.msg   syslinux.cfg


Please see the question on configuring pxeboot...

floppy boot

Floppy boot is no longer supported, the following instructions apply to previous releases.

Assuming your using the first floppy drive in your system (does anyone have 2 drives anymore?) format the disk first if it isn\'t formated already

# fdformat /dev/fd0
Double-sided, 80 tracks, 18 sec/track. Total capacity 1440 kB.
Formatting ... done
Verifying ... done

next copy the boot image onto the floppy

# dd if=boot.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=1440k
1+0 records in
1+0 records out

wait for the drive to finish and your prompt to return! patience, patience! repeat for drvnet.img or bootnet.img

How do I configure pxeboot?

PXE Booting is relatively easy to setup (if you control your dhcp server). First, install the dhcp server with the dhcp rpm. You will need to setup some dhcp options in dhcpd.conf, the following is a minimal configuration:

allow booting;
allow bootp;

# standard configuration directives...
ddns-update-style ad-hoc;
option resource-location-servers;
option tftp-server-name "";

# lease options
max-lease-time 86400;
default-lease-time 86400;
# safety, incase a script kiddie copies this config     
ignore unknown-clients;
subnet netmask {
not authoritative;

# pxe options
option space PXE;
option PXE.mtftp-ip    code 1 = ip-address;
option PXE.mtftp-cport code 2 = unsigned integer 16;
option PXE.mtftp-sport code 3 = unsigned integer 16;
option PXE.mtftp-tmout code 4 = unsigned integer 8;
option PXE.mtftp-delay code 5 = unsigned integer 8;
option PXE.mtftp-ip;

group {
# PXE-specific configuration directives...
filename "linux-install/pxelinux.0";
get-lease-hostnames true;
use-host-decl-names on;
host pu_ias0 {
hardware ethernet 0:22:33:44:55:66;
host pu_ias1 {
hardware ethernet 0:77:88:99:aa:bb;

You'll need to change the hardware ethernet line to the mac address of your machine. Start dhcp

root@puias etc# service dhcpd start
Starting dhcpd:                                              OK  
root@puias etc#

You'll need your machine to serve ip the pxeboot file on tftp, install the tftp-server rpm and turn on tftp in xinetd.

root@tftpboot tftpboot# chkconfig tftp on

Next install the system-config-netboot and syslinux packages.

root@pu_ias linux-install# rpm -Uvh syslinux-2.11-1.i386.rpm system-config-netboot-0.1.8-1.i386.rpm
Preparing...                         ########################################### 100%
1:syslinux                        ########################################### 100%
2:system-config-netboot ########################################### 100%

Export your nfs install tree (do this now, pxeos tries to mount):

root@pu_ias # exportfs -o async,ro *:/PU_IAS
root@pu_ias # exportfs

Configure pxe:

root@pu_ias # pxeos -a -i "PU_IAS Local 2" -p NFS -D 0 -s \
-L/PU_IAS/local/2WS/en/os/i386 pu_ias-2WS
root@pu_ias # pxeos -l
Description:    PU_IAS Local 2WS
Protocol:       NFS
isDiskless:     0
Location:       /PU_IAS/local/2WS/en/os/i386

Now add a client:

root@pu_ias # pxeboot -a -O pu_ias-2

Now boot your machine, make sure tftp and dhcp are running on the server and that your nfs export is working. Also, check your firewall rules, the default rules will likely prevent your boot from succeeding, disable the firewall on the server temporarily if you experience problems at this point. (This is not the best practice though, you should enable tftp and dhcp on your machine in /etc/sysconfig/iptables)

Also, there is great documentation in the system-config-netboot rpm, check out your /usr/share/doc/system-config-netboot-*/ directory.

Last modified 6 years ago Last modified on Jul 12, 2011 1:59:04 PM