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How to install FreeBSD 82 via PXE from anywhere (i.e. without a NFS server)

Not so frequently asked questions and stuff: 

The situation

You want to install FreeBSD on another machine. You don't want to use a NFS server, because you are either on a Windows computer or because you simply want to boot the installer using pxeboot or gpxe.

Step 1: build the FreeBSD image disk

Create some dirs:

# mkdir /tmp/build
# mkdir /tmp/build/iso.mnt
# mkdir /tmp/build/hd.mnt
# mkdir /tmp/build/mfs.mnt
# cd /tmp/build

Get the image:

# wget ftp://ftp.fr.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ISO-IMAGES-i386/8.2/FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso
--2011-12-15 09:30:41--  ftp://ftp.fr.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ISO-IMAGES-i386/8.2/FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso
           => `FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso.1'
Resolving ftp.fr.freebsd.org... 88.191.250.131
Connecting to ftp.fr.freebsd.org|88.191.250.131|:21... connected.
Logging in as anonymous ... Logged in!
==> SYST ... done.    ==> PWD ... done.
==> TYPE I ... done.  ==> CWD (1) /pub/FreeBSD/ISO-IMAGES-i386/8.2 ... done.
==> SIZE FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso ... 49262592
==> PASV ... done.    ==> RETR FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso ... done.
Length: 49262592 (47M) (unauthoritative)

100%[======================================>] 49,262,592  2.57M/s   in 18s

2011-12-15 09:30:59 (2.62 MB/s) - `FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso.1' saved [49262592]

Mount the image:

# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f /tmp/build/FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso
md0
# mount_cd9660 /dev/md0 /tmp/build/iso.mnt/

Create a hard disk image. Be sure to choose the right size.

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/build/FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.hd bs=1m count=60
60+0 records in
60+0 records out
62914560 bytes transferred in 0.737012 secs (85364374 bytes/sec)
# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f /tmp/build/FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.hd
md1
# fdisk -B -I /dev/md1
******* Working on device /dev/md1 *******
fdisk: invalid fdisk partition table found
fdisk: Class not found
# bsdlabel -B -w /dev/md1
# bsdlabel -e /dev/md1
# /dev/md1:
8 partitions:
#        size   offset    fstype   [fsize bsize bps/cpg]
  a:   122864       16    4.2BSD        0     0
  c:   122880        0    unused        0     0         # "raw" part, don't edit

# newfs /dev/md1a
/dev/md1a: 60.0MB (122864 sectors) block size 16384, fragment size 2048
        using 4 cylinder groups of 15.00MB, 960 blks, 1920 inodes.
super-block backups (for fsck -b #) at:
 160, 30880, 61600, 92320
# mount /dev/md1a /tmp/build/hd.mnt

Copy the boot files from the iso to the disk image:

# cp -r /tmp/build/iso.mnt/boot /tmp/build/hd.mnt/boot

Umount everything:

# umount /tmp/build/hd.mnt
# mdconfig -d -u 1
# umount /tmp/build/iso.mnt
# mdconfig -d -u 0

You now have a bootable FreeBSD installer image disk.

Step2: Boot the image disk

Download pxelinux.0.
Download memdisk. You can find it packaged with syslinux: http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/

Create pxelinux config file (pxelinux.cfg/default):

DEFAULT fbsd

LABEL fbsd
 kernel memdisk
 append initrd=/FreeBSD82.hd harddisk

Setup your DHCP and TFTP servers to serve the directory and you're good.

Sources