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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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I have something in mind, but not sure if it is possible. This is a description of the situation and the solution sought:
I have developed a LAMP app. I want to deliver pre-installed everything on hard disks so that the client swaps his hard disk with the one I give them and everything works.
For that I can make a small windows program to gather information about the target hardware. The client will run this on their intended machine and sends me the hardware data in plain text format.
Next, I tweak a Linux installation (stuff the data wherever it should go) and send them the result.
The problem is I don't know where should such data go.
Any help will be much appreciated, and many thanks in advance.
If I understand correctly you are sending them a drive with a configured linux server with your lamp app set up and ready to go.
You could use something like knoppix which auto-detects everything at boot you can just put XAMPP on the disk and set up the init scripts, why the need to customize? network settings? to make sure their hardware has linux drivers?
Are you sending the disk so that their old OS is not compromised?
Would it not be simpler to send a live cd and have them grab any blank drive to dump your system onto? Boot from CD, if MBR is blank format+install. You could modify ubuntu-server LTS install image once and send it to all your clients, no windows scan app needed.
Alternately you could give them a linux boot cd which checks into an app on your server at boot and deposits all the hardware specs, and also tells you which drivers already installed properly, then ejects itself and reboots into their system, thereby eliminating user error.
Exactly! I am sending them a drive with a configured linux server with my lamp app set up and ready to go.
The main reason for sending them such a dive is to make it (ridiculously) simple for them to start using the app - I should provide this level of simplicity, or else I should go over and install everything there. I thought now that I should install everything and do all the configurations myself, why not do it at my place?
There are other good reasons too, configuration being one. Alternatives like Live CD just won't do what I want.
For distro I will either use Ubuntu server, or Trustix Secure Server. How does knoppix auto-detect everything at boot? Is this auto-detection completely transparent (or does it need user interaction)?
Well, what I need is some details about where linux stores information about the hardware it is running on. By getting this info from the client and replacing the old values on a properly installed and configured linux installation, I want to fool it to think it has been insatled on the destination hardware.
What are the machines running? If it's just a web-server with no Xwindows I would only be concerned about the network card driver or any weird RAID hardware and making sure they are installed in /etc/modules, otherwise most modern distros (I know this is true for ubuntu) boot from a static ram disk image which has all the kernel relevant drivers which are loaded at boot before your system partition is even active.
I would be surprised if you could not install ubuntu server on any old system, pull the drive, reinsert somewhere else and have it run no bumps.
If its a kiosk or something else that needs the X interface I would suggest getting a hold of the ubuntu server LTS boot cd and remastering it so that it automatically installs what you want, without user interaction, and had your code in a .deb and installed it along with all the rest.
Manually configuring X can be a pain, doing it remotely sounds like a trial of hell.