UWMLSC > Beowulf Systems > Medusa
   Slave Node Configuration

Slave Node Configuration

Make sure you have read and understood all the instructions on this page
before trying to perform a node install.

Jump to...   [ Quick Start Instructions ]     [ Pre-Install Instructions ]     [ Install Instructions ]     [ Notes ]
[ Copying Files to a Floppy ]     [ Non-standard X Configuration ]     [ Source RPMS ]

Quick Start Instructions

If you are an experienced user, you may follow the quickstart instructions here. If you are unfamiliar with the slave install process, please refer to the detailed instructions below.

  1. Download the files e100_2.2.14-5.0BOOT.o and ks.cfg to an windows (VFAT) floppy.
  2. Plug the machine to be set up into the network and boot the Red Hat 6.2 install CD.
  3. Insert the floppy when the installer boot prompt appears. Type linux ks=floppy
  4. When the installer restarts the machine, remove the floppy and the CD. Wait for the machine to boot up and reboot once more.
  5. The install is complete.

Pre-Install Instructions

Note: Words in monotype are either filenames or actual commands to be entered.

The pre-install should be performed on a machine with windows or linux installed and configured so that it can read and write windows (VFAT) floppies and access the network. This need not be the machine that you are going to install on.

  1. Obtain a Redhat 6.2 CD.
  2. Make an windows floppy for storing the configuration files:
    1. Make sure you are using a high density, 1.44 Mb floppy. Format the floppy to using an windows file system.
      • If you are using a linux box use the commands:
          fdformat /dev/fd0H1440
          mkdosfs /dev/fd0
      • If you are using a Windows machine, right click on the floppy and choose "format: full" Kevin: check this
    2. Download the ethernet driver and configuration file to the floppy. Do this by saving the two links below to floppy. If you are using netscape for linux, right click on each link, choose "Save as..." and save the link as source to your local disk. Then copy the files to the floppy disk. If you have problems copying these files to the floppy, see the instructions below.

Installation Instructions

The install should be performed on the machine that you wish to turn into a bewoulf slave node. It should be connected to the internet so that it can access the machine www.lsc-group.phys.uwm.edu via http during the install process. You need the Red Hat 6.2 CD and the floppy created according to the instructions above. The install should performed with a monitor, keyboard and mouse connected to the node. These can be disconnected after the install has completed and you have powered down the machine.

  1. It is assumed that the BIOS has already been configured correctly according th the instructions elsewhere, but to avoid clock conflicts, set the hardware clock's time correctly:
    1. Power up the machine and hold F2 or DEL to enter the BIOS.
    2. Go to the Main section of the BIOS. Move down to the System Date.
    3. Following the instructions on the bottom left of the screen, set the date to the current time in UTC (GMT). This is CST + 6 hours (CDT + 5 hours).
    4. Exit the BIOS, saving these changes.
  2. Boot the machine with the Redhat 6.2 installation CD in the drive.
  3. When the Red Hat boot menu appears insert the floppy into the drive.
  4. Type linux ks=floppy at the boot prompt and hit enter.
    • The installer firsts formats the disk. With an 80Gb disk formatting may take approximately five minutes. Unfortunately there is no visual pacifier.
    • The Red Hat RPMS are then installed and the installer shows the progress.
    • The installer the executes a post install script. This reformats the /data partiation and updates RPMS and so takes some time. Unfortunately there is no visual pacifier. The post install script will take approximately five minutes. See the notes sections below for details on how to monitor progress at this stage of the install.
  5. When the Red Hat 6.2 installation is done the machine will eject the CD and reboot. Removed the CD from the tray before it closes. You have about ten seconds or so to do this. But don't panic if you don't get it in time.
  6. Once the machine has restarted, remove floppy from the drive to prevent the machine attempting to boot again from the floppy. Make sure that you do not remove the floppy while the drive light is on. If the machine tries to boot from the floppy, it will fail to boot with the message "This is not a bootable floppy." Simply remove the floppy and press any key. The install will continue unperturbed.
  7. The machine will now load the freshly install distribution. When it boots, you will see an error message from depmod. This only occors once here and can be ignored.
  8. If the install has been sucessful, a message will be displayed on the screen and machine will then reboot once to ensure that all configuration files have been updated.
  9. As the machine reboots, shutting down atd will give a "failed" message. This only occours once here and can be ignored.
  10. If the install fails for any reason, a message will be display on the screen. You may then log in and invesitgate the log files in /tmp

This completes the install


  • The root password that the install script sets is
      {see an Administrator}
    You should change this when you first log in.
  • Note that it is safe to leave the install unattended. If the machine reboots with the floppy and CD still in the drives, it will not be able to boot from the floppy. It display a message saying that it cannot boot. Simply remove the floppy and CD from the machine and press any key. The install will then complete.
  • The machine is configured to get its IP address via DHCP. If there is a DHCP server available on you subnet, networking will be configured correctly.
  • The default X install uses a fail safe 640x480. Run Xconfigurator if you wish to increase the resolution for a specific monitor.
  • The machine is set to automount certain directories from uwmlsc. If you change to /home /ldas /ldcg or /usr/local the machine may hang if you are not on the medusa subnet. You may also notice problems in normal usage, such as slow downs if the program you are running attempts to look in /usr/local. For example starting the default X install with startx as gnome attempts to look in /usr/local. These problems can be circumvented by running
       /etc/rc.d/init.d/autofs stop
  • The redhat installer allows the experienced user to monitor the install progress using virtual terminals. Pressing ALT and the approriate function key allows the user to access different install views as follows:
    • F1 Main install screen (anaconda)
    • F2 A root shell with a limited command set
    • F3 The stdout and stderr from the post install. This is useful for monitoring the progress of the post install script.
    • F4 The kernel log buffer
    • F5 The output of the install program
  • You can increase the speed of the install by running the command:
    /mnt/sysimage/sbin/hdparm -c1 -d1 -m16 -u1 -W1 /tmp/hda
    in the root shell window. This command will only become available during the latter part of the install.

Copying Files to the Floppy

  • Download the files to the working linux machine. The locations they are downloaded to will be referenced to as path.
      mkdir /tmp/floppy
      mount -t vfat /dev/fd0 /tmp/floppy
      mv path/e100_2.2.14-5.0BOOT.o path/ks.cfg /tmp/floppy
      umount /tmp/floppy
      rmdir /tmp/floppy

Non-standard X Configuration

Three X configuration files are available for monitors. These are:
  XF86ConfigVX1120 for use with the Gateway 21" monitors.
  XF86ConfigE771 for use with the old Viewsonic 17" monitors.
  XF86Config770TFT for use with the SyncMaster 770 TFT flat screen monitors.

To install these, log in as root to a slave that has been sucesfully set up and run the following command:

cp -f /etc/X11/filename /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

where filename is the name of the appropriate configuration file.

Source RPMS

Source RPMS for the medusa specific packages are available from the medusa cvs archive. These contain source code and a complete description of how the RPMS were built.

More information on RPMS is avaiable from the RPM Home Page. The instructions below are given to get users started, they are not a replacement for the RPM manual.

If you wish to compile an RPM, download the SRPM to the machine that you are working on and install with
  rpm -ivh filename.src.rpm
This installs the RPMS sources to the usual location (/usr/src/redhat). To rebuild the rpm go into the SPECS directory and build with
  rpm -ba filename.spec

Created: Kevin Flasch, 2001-05-15

$Id: slave_configuration.html,v 1.5 2009/08/11 16:10:18 gskelton Exp $

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