Fixing tftpd-hpa on Lucid

Whilst working at IS, I’ve sent VMware servers to Accra, Nairobi, Lagos, Maputo, London, Durban, Cape Town and then of course to two sites in Johannesburg. The servers in Accra, Nairobi, Lagos and Maputo run various virtual machines required by the NMS team (of which I am a member), as well as a whole lot that a sister team of ours uses. The NMS machines are things like Syslog boxes and SNMP gateways, etc.

Connectivity to those regions is anywhere from awesome – if that region is on the eastern side of Africa and connects via Seacom – right down to pretty much unusable. The kind of unusable where you spend a whole day just trying to log into the console of a virtual machine because every time you try to write “root” the word will come out as “rroot” and then “rooooot” and then “rootttt”. It’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever had to do in my life, I’m sure of it.

Which kinda brings me to the point of this post. I decided that the best way to deploy the various machines (given that there’s never any time to send the VMware server itself to the region with all the virtual machines already built) was to kickstart them, using preseeds for the Ubuntu boxes and kickstarts for the CentOS/RHEL boxes. This has worked famously for me, and I’m now able to have fully built, NMS standards compliant virtual machines in any of those regions in ten minutes or less.

That was until I upgraded the key infrastructure boxes (dhcp & tftp servers etc.) to Lucid. Suddenly everything ground to a halt. The fix however was very simple. In fact I feel kinda guilty that you’ve had to read this whole long story just to get such a simple solution to your problem.

Before Lucid these boxes ran Hardy. I used tftpd-hpa running as a daemon, using the standard /var/lib/tftpboot directory as the TFTP root. My /etc/default/tftpd-hpa file looked like this:

#Defaults for tftpd-hpa
OPTIONS="-l -s /var/lib/tftpboot"

After upgrading to Lucid that file had changed so that it looked like this:

# /etc/default/tftpd-hpa

However the service wouldn’t start and the network installs kept on failing to even start. Changing the contents of /etc/default/tftpd-hpa to look more like this solved my problem. The “4” is because I switch IPv6 off on all my Lucid machines by adding “ipv6.disable=1″ to the “GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT” line in /etc/default/grub.

# /etc/default/tftpd-hpa
TFTP_OPTIONS="-4 --secure"

Bounce the service and you’re sorted, and back on the road with your network installs. :)

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