Configuring the BOOTP Daemon

Some boards use the BOOTP bootstrap protocol to obtain boot and configuration information such as an IP address for the board from a server (generally your host system) running a BOOTP daemon.

If you do not have the BOOTP software, you might find it easier to use DHCP, which includes the BOOTP functionality.

BOOTP uses the configuration file /etc/bootptab to specify this information for each entity, like the target board, that requires it. The configuration information is stored in the /etc/bootptab file and indexed by the MAC address of the hardware. For a development board, this is the MAC address of the board’s Ethernet hardware.


The BOOTP software is not included with many Linux distributions. You can obtain a binary version for most RPM-based Linux distributions from by searching for the string bootpd.

The BOOTP daemon, bootpd uses the configuration file /etc/bootptab to provide boot configuration information based on the MAC address of Ethernet hardware on a board. In order to boot the target using BOOTP, you must create an entry in the /etc/bootptab based on the MAC address of the board. This entry will look like the following:


Each entry consists of colon-separated fields that provide the following information:


<bsp_name> is a label or name identifying the entry.


The hardware (MAC) address of the embedded development board’s Ethernet interface.


Identifies the type of networking hardware as Ethernet.


The IP address you assign to the board.


The IP address of the server that is hosting the NFS root filesystem for the board.


The <path> is the absolute path of the root filesystem for this board as exported by NFS.

After creating the /etc/bootptab entry for the target board, you must start the BOOTP daemon manually (in most cases) by executing the command /usr/sbin/bootpd.

For more information about BOOTP, see Internet RFC 951, available at the web site