Bootp is a protocol for the automatic network configuration of diskless clients. These days typically it's more modern successor DHCP is being used but there are still many servers and clients in use that only support the classic bootp protocol without the dhcp extensions, so we document it here anyway.
Bootpd sample configuration file
.default:\ :hd=/usr/local/boot:\ :ds=126.96.36.199:\ :gw=188.8.131.52:\ :sm=255.255.255.0:\ :hn:ht=1: tbird:ha=08000605705F:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=vmbird: terminus:ha=0000ad00e30a:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=null: indy:ha=08006908ae71:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=vmindy: origin:ha=080069053825:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=vmbabe:sm=255.0.0.0 swarm:ha=00024cfe08da:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=swamp: malta:ha=080069059842:tc=.default:rp=/usr/people/indy:bf=vmlinux:
All entries start with a hostname followed by an arbitrary number of colon-separated parameters. Most parameters take a value following a =-sign. For readability it is possible to split long lines using a backslash as continuation character as in the .default line above. The remaining lines provide the configuration data for one client each. This are the parameter types and the argument they take:
hd Bootfile home directory ds DNS server list gw Gateway sm Network mask hn Send client hostname to client. Doesn't take an argument ht Hardware type of the network; 1 means ethernet and is almost certainly what you want. 3 is the only other assigned, non-obsolete hardware type and means the Amateur Radio AX.25 protocol. ha Hardware address, that is the ethernet MAC address or the AX.25 callsign and SSID. tc table continuation, points to a similar entry, the current one is derived of. rp The patch to the root filesystem on the NFS root server. bf Bootfile, that is the kernel image to boot.
- bootpd(8) man page
- bootptab(5) man page
- http://www.iana.org/assignments/arp-parameters for potencial values for the ht parameter
- RFC 951, RFC 1497, RFC 1532 and RFC 1534 for bootp protocol documentation.