Sounds like you are describing what a Ghost Recovery CD does, essentially an image of a Hard Drive, that self installs at boot to restore a Laptop, PC whatever to a certain state, including OS, apps, extras etc.
I have created several CDs like that for Windows machines using Norton Ghost, so that if anything goes wrong, I can be up and running again in a matter of minutes. At work, the IT staff used to do the same, except they would run a patch cable between 2 desktops and transfer the image that way.
For what you are suggesting, it sounds like you want a Master DVD / CD, that you can install time and again on different PCs?
with Linux, the only thing that you need to consider is that an Image file, bootable or not, will only be for the / partition, and not include your Swap partition. Also, you would need to ensure every machine was EXACTLY the same spec, right down to the modem.
Partitioning tools etc are part of the manual process when installing Linux. What you could try is this:
- Write down your ideal config for boot, Swap and / partitions. this is your blueprint.
- Setup the same partitions on each PC or Laptop using whatever tools (FParted, Acronis, whatever) for swap, / and another to store the image (.ISO , .GHO formats) of your / partition.
- Then, use your Master DVD / CD to reinstall your / partition (again , this must be based on an exact copy of the machine you're installing to).
- Repeat as necessary.
I have not tried to do this myself, so can fellow LQr's add to this with any pitfalls etc. In principle this could work, however it would need some proper testing to see if it is viable. also, to determine if it is in fact any faster than installing Linux (which to be quite honest is fast as Hell anyway!!!)