Booting Apple Macs

Bill Moseley moseley at
Tue Nov 6 21:56:36 UTC 2007

Any dhcp developers on this user's list?

I've been trying to remote boot Apple Macs and could see with
Wireshark that the macs were getting what seemed like the correct DHCP
responses, but never then fetching the file with TFTP.

The Apple's Open Firmware would time out with:

   BOOTP/BSDP failed: no FILENAME specified can't open: enet:0

even though I could see with Wireshark a File Name returned in the
DHCP responses.

This led me to a discussion and a patch:

Which, IIUC, is about the Macs needing a different MSS setting to see
all the options.

Frankly, I'm not sure if that's a red herring at this point as I do
see in the RELNOTES:

        Changes since 3.0 Release Candidate 7

- Add support for Darwin/MacOS X

But that's OS X, not the Apple netboot.

This patch is for 3.0.1 but seemed to apply cleanly to Ubuntu's 3.0.5.
The patch adds a debug message when a Mac connects, and indeed I see in my
dhcpd logs:

Nov  6 12:59:44 ltsps0 dhcpd: Received BootP request from Macintosh netboot client

But, as you might guess, still no boot.

Before the patch the Mac would send a Discover and then a Request and
get the ACK back from dhcpd.

Now, with the patch, Wireshark doesn't show DHCP respones but rather
shows BOOTP Reply and then the Mac continues to send Discover

(Note that if I let the Mac boot OS X then I see DHCP Request and DHCP
Ack as normal.)

So, I'm now stuck.

The patch is very old, so maybe it really doesn't work for 3.0.5.  I
am seeing:

Nov  6 12:59:11 ltsps0 dhcpd: dhcp.c(2202): non-null pointer

which makes me think it maybe didn't apply well.

Was there ever a patch to allow net booting from Mac clients?  Could
someone familiar with the source look at the patch and see if it makes
sense with 3.0.5 (or later)?

Where can I go from here to get this resolved?


Bill Moseley
moseley at

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