(lack of) Documentation for simple things

We don’t usually post technical stuff here – this post has more technical content than most – but I’ve been bothered this week by a complete absence of documentation for doing what ought to be a simple task.
When reinstalling a machine from scratch, we can automatically install Windows and Linux quite easily. We boot the machine from the network, the network boot server asks the database which operating system should be supplied and it goes ahead from there. I’ve been looking at doing the same thing for OS X machines too and it’s turned out to be tricky.
It’s not been particularly difficult technically – the underlying principles are the same. Boot the machine from the network, provide an appropriate boot-loader, a small piece of software which the machine runs in order to download the operating system across the network and then get it to install the real operating system to the hard disk. The difficulties have been in finding the documentation for doing this with OS X.
For OS X, it turns out that we need just a few files from the install DVD.
boot.efi is the boot-loader, kernelcache and mach_kernel are loaded by this bootloader. One subtlety is that the kernelcache and mach_kernel files supplied on the CD each contain two binary files, one for 32bit processors and one for 64bit processors.

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