Hosting a Fedora network install using Mac OS X

Sometimes it just seems that everything is out to get a guy, nothing goes right. This seems to be the case today when it comes to performing an upgrade on my Fedora Linux based file, web, email, XBMC and whatever else server. After burning three copies of the install media none of them work, despite correct SHA1 verification and burning with different drives. What’s a geek to do?

Do a network install!

I downloaded the full DVD hoping to do a local install from it so I could avoid the long downtime of doing an over the internet based network install. The problem however is that I either have two bad DVD burn drives or there is something goofy with the image I downloaded. Everything about the DVD iso checks out, the SHA1 is fine and I can loop back mount it without issue. Rather than give up I decided to do a network install by mounting the iso on my Mac mini and sharing the contents via web sharing. As it turns out, this is very easy to do.

This little mini howto assumes you have already downloaded the DVD install media for Fedora. If you haven’t, I suggest you do that first.

Enter System Preferences and choose sharing. Click on Web Sharing to enable your Mac’s web server. Be sure to note the IP address. Next, double click on the Fedora DVD install iso. OS X will mount it and make it available to you. Next, start terminal and type ‘cd /Library/WebServer/Documents’ without quotes and press enter. Type ‘ln -s /Volumes/Fed* fedora’ (*type Fed and then press tab to autocomplete) and press enter. On my system the complete command looks like ‘ln -s /Volumes/Fedora\ 9\ i386\ DV/ fedora’

Open finder and browse into your mounted DVD media. Look for a folder called images and copy out the boot.iso file. Burn this file to CD using OS X’s Disk Utility. Next, take that disk to your Linux machine and boot from it. Choose install or upgrade and then when asked where the install media is located choose URL. Enter http:///fedora where is the IP address from your Mac. That’s it, the install will then continue as if you were using a local CD/DVD.

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