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matters 02-19-2008 10:00 AM

Slackware diskless server howto
 
Hello!

I have 3 computers,

1 - comupter called marco
2 - computer called top
3 - laptop computer doc

Now marco is dcp and dns server
the problem is i would like that laptop computer has no hard drive/ laptop is very old and bios does not support usb flash etc

laptop has no floppy nor dvdrom installed.

now what i would like to do is computer top to become diskless server for laptop, and also i would like to preform diskless installation, for diskless server with slackware on it.

TOP - computer has NFS, and tftp service installed - and before i preformed
diskless installation for laptop when i had hdd there, but now laptop hdd is gone so i want to TOP has another harddrive for laptop and preform what i mentioned above.

Could anyone point me to some guide so i can setup this?

Thanks!

masonm 02-19-2008 12:49 PM

If the laptop has no hdd, doesn't boot from usb, and doesn't have any sort of floppy or cdrom how exactly do you plan to boot the thing to do an install? How does it boot now?

You need some means of booting the thing into the installation app even for an NFS install.

bgeddy 02-19-2008 01:41 PM

Have a look at usb-and-pxe-installers/ directory on the Slackware install disk. Check out PXE booting/install.

That's assuming your boxes are on a network - as you mention
dns/dhcp etc I presume they are.

The Slackware readme should give you pointers to setup a diskless workstation

mRgOBLIN 02-19-2008 02:29 PM

Sounds like you ltsp is what you are looking for. http://www.ltsp.org/

matters 02-19-2008 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mRgOBLIN (Post 3062877)
Sounds like you ltsp is what you are looking for. http://www.ltsp.org/

seems like it! thanks sounds interesting, however on xdmcp configuration it gives me error cannot access configure /usr/sbin/ltspcfg line 2424

something like that. how to fix that problem?

However would ltsp be able to install individual installation from particular workstation? or for every diskless workstation it will only be able to access single workstation apps etc?

What im trying to do is having separate instalation of slackware on server partition for diskless workstation. So every diskless workstation would be able to have unique instllation same as it had hdd installed.

Thanks!

lstamm 02-20-2008 01:00 AM

LTSP works by setting up a minimal linux installation in a chroot environment, by default under /opt/ltsp , that is downloaded to the diskless workstation's memory upon booting. This minimal linux installation is enough to get the diskless workstation booted up so it can connect to the XDMCP service of the server. After logging in through XDMCP, the diskless workstation is then presented with regular linux X session running on the server, just as if one were sitting at a local console on the server running X. You also have the options to just have a console session on the server with no X, to have an RDP connection to a Windows server, and to have a root login to the minimal linux running on the clients RAM.

It sounds like you want the diskless workstation to run in some kind of chroot jail, so that it is kept separate from the server's regular linux running session. If so, I think this would be possible with LTSP, but you would have to modify the ltsp startup scripts quite a bit.

Right now, there are two different versions of ltsp: LTSP4 and LTSP5. They are quite different in operation, and I don't know anybody who has gotten LTSP5 running completely with a Slackware server. So even though LTSP4 is no longer being developed, I would advise using this version if you are going to install on a Slackware server. LTSP4 also requires less horsepower for its thin clients.

Also, the ltspcfg program will not work with Slackware; it was written with Debian in mind, and expects an init.d directory for startup. You have to set up all the services and parameters for LTSP4 by hand in Slackware.

matters 02-20-2008 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lstamm (Post 3063369)
LTSP works by setting up a minimal linux installation in a chroot environment, by default under /opt/ltsp , that is downloaded to the diskless workstation's memory upon booting. This minimal linux installation is enough to get the diskless workstation booted up so it can connect to the XDMCP service of the server. After logging in through XDMCP, the diskless workstation is then presented with regular linux X session running on the server, just as if one were sitting at a local console on the server running X. You also have the options to just have a console session on the server with no X, to have an RDP connection to a Windows server, and to have a root login to the minimal linux running on the clients RAM.

It sounds like you want the diskless workstation to run in some kind of chroot jail, so that it is kept separate from the server's regular linux running session. If so, I think this would be possible with LTSP, but you would have to modify the ltsp startup scripts quite a bit.

Right now, there are two different versions of ltsp: LTSP4 and LTSP5. They are quite different in operation, and I don't know anybody who has gotten LTSP5 running completely with a Slackware server. So even though LTSP4 is no longer being developed, I would advise using this version if you are going to install on a Slackware server. LTSP4 also requires less horsepower for its thin clients.

Also, the ltspcfg program will not work with Slackware; it was written with Debian in mind, and expects an init.d directory for startup. You have to set up all the services and parameters for LTSP4 by hand in Slackware.

You got me right! But on top of that i would like to add one more hdd on server, that would be replacement for laptop diskless hdd and preform laptop slackware instalation to that partition, and then chroot to it. How to do such thing? Where are those startup scripts located? What im wondering how to configure XDMCP to strart in slackware, since i got no rc.xfs in rc.d thats needed x font server?

Thanks alot!

lstamm 02-20-2008 12:10 PM

Quote:

You got me right! But on top of that i would like to add one more hdd on server, that would be replacement for laptop diskless hdd and preform laptop slackware instalation to that partition, and then chroot to it. How to do such thing? Where are those startup scripts located? What im wondering how to configure XDMCP to strart in slackware, since i got no rc.xfs in rc.d thats needed x font server?
I don't have access to a Slackware LTSP installation for a couple of days, but off the top of my head:

If you set "SCREEN_1=shell" in the file lts.conf, you get a root login shell on the thin client terminal running in the ltsp chroot environment. So I would think that if you added all the X applications to the ltsp chroot environment, you could run the startx command within the root shell environment and get an X session running directly in the ltsp chroot environment, independent of the linux session running on the server. This would be running as the root user in the ltsp chroot, though. I don't know how easy it would be to add regular users to the ltsp chroot.

So you could add the extra hdd, mount it as /opt/ltsp, and install a regular Slackware installation under /opt/ltsp/i386. Then the whole thing could be transferred over the network to reside in the memory of the thin client.

The downside to this scheme is that it would greatly increase the memory requirements in the thin client. It is possible to swap over the network back to a swap partition or file on the server, but this really slows things down.

Much better in my opinion would be to install a virtual LTSP server on the extra hdd, and just connect to the virtual LTSP server in the regular fashion from the thin client. Then the current linux installation on the server would not be affected at all, except for the addition of the virtualization software. This would be a bit slower than the bare metal installation, but for only a few clients it works fine. I've even installed a vmware LTSP server on top of a virtual server installed on medium-powered laptop, and it worked (although slowly). You also have the option of making snapshot backups of the virtual server for quick repair.

enine 02-20-2008 05:19 PM

I did a semi diskless server by plugging a 128M compact flash card into an IDE adapter and using that as the boot drive. I simply installed the A set of slackware to it just like I would a regular drive and it booted and ran fine. Then I knew before making it read only I'd need some things to be able to write such as var/log/messages so I did a quick search on how to make a ram drive. Put my ram drive early in one of the first init files and added in a bunch of mkdir /ramdrive/var mkdir /var/log and touch /var/log/messages so the files would exist. I would then replace the real /var/log/messages with a link to the one on my ram drive and found the init script where the boot drive was remounted as read/write and commented that out. I'd reboot and see what failed and either comment it out or move its log files to the ram drive and reboot and try again. after a few tries I got it to boot and run normally.

matters 02-20-2008 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lstamm (Post 3063935)
So you could add the extra hdd, mount it as /opt/ltsp, and install a regular Slackware installation under /opt/ltsp/i386. Then the whole thing could be transferred over the network to reside in the memory of the thin client.

How to preform installation on /opt/ltsp/i386 thats my problem :)

We assume that dhcpd, dns, nfs, tftp works perfectly and i want to do that instalation over pxe to force it, :) hopefully its easy but my mind is blank.

The rest i have idea how i would achieve :)

Thanks!

lstamm 02-20-2008 09:50 PM

Quote:

How to preform installation on /opt/ltsp/i386 thats my problem
Here are a couple of URLs that might help you:

http://wiki.ltsp.org/twiki/bin/view/Ltsp/LBE

http://wiki.ltsp.org/twiki/bin/view/...ntegratingLtsp

The first is for LTSP4, the second for LTSP5. I don't think it will be that easy though. All the current work is being done on Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora. Slackware-ish ways of doing things are not considered at all.

That's why I suggested installing a virtual Slackware LTSP server on your extra harddrive. You could just do a regular Slackware installation on the virtual server, install LTSP4.2 on the virutal server,and connect to that virtual Slackware install from your diskless laptop.

matters 02-21-2008 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lstamm (Post 3064501)
Here are a couple of URLs that might help you:

http://wiki.ltsp.org/twiki/bin/view/Ltsp/LBE

http://wiki.ltsp.org/twiki/bin/view/...ntegratingLtsp

The first is for LTSP4, the second for LTSP5. I don't think it will be that easy though. All the current work is being done on Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora. Slackware-ish ways of doing things are not considered at all.

That's why I suggested installing a virtual Slackware LTSP server on your extra harddrive. You could just do a regular Slackware installation on the virtual server, install LTSP4.2 on the virutal server,and connect to that virtual Slackware install from your diskless laptop.

Hi!

Regarding virtual server you mean like add new hdd to install vmware slackware virtual machine from the server to that new hdd and then install ltsp 4.2 on that virtual machine in /opt/lpts, after that connect from laptop using pxe normally to it - If thats so, its nice idea, however its not what i want since then slackware configuration on virtual machine wouldnt be specific for laptop and thats what i want to achieve.

Regarding lbe:

What i dont understand here is the following: what lbe is its a development tool, but yet dont understand the process of how then after configuring it i would achieve that after i setup lbe on server, how then laptop would after booting in pxe ready for slackware installation, after i network to probe, and setup , that in target source instead of /dev/hda1 i would see /opt/ltsp/i386 from nfs? the problem is laptop has bad sectors hdd so i cant remove it.

regardless of lbe on laptop ive tried various things to play to show /opt/ltsp/i386 in target source instead of /dev/hda1 but i had no success.


I didnt play with lbe yet i would like complete understanding on what im doing.

Thanks!

lstamm 02-22-2008 12:10 AM

Quote:

If thats so, its nice idea, however its not what i want since then slackware configuration on virtual machine wouldnt be specific for laptop and thats what i want to achieve.
I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are wanting then. I assumed you wanted a way to boot the old laptop, doc, into a Slackware session, without disturbing the existing linux installation on the server, top.

If you set up LTSP on top, whether on the bare metal or a virtual machine, then when the laptop booted from top, using PXE, it would be running the applications on top (or the virtual server that was running on top) and the only involvement of the laptop hardware would be to display the programs running on top. In other words, the internet connection of top (or its virtual server) would be the connection used, and any files saved to your home directory would be saved on top (or its virtual machine). In this scenario, there is no need to customize the slackware installation or the LTSP installation for the laptop, other that setting options for the video, audio, and input devices on the laptop in the lts.conf file found on the server. The stuff in /opt/ltsp is only meant to be enough operating system to allow the thin clients to boot up and display the server's XDMCP login screen. I don't see why you would want customize the LTSP setup for a laptop. It is meant as a way for a bunch of relatively old or weak clients to be able to run off a single powerful server.

If what you really want is to install Slackware onto your laptop and you have no way of booting it off of installation media, then LTSP is not the way to go. Much better to install onto a laptop harddrive temporarily connected to one of your other machines, configure it for your laptop, and then transfer the laptop hardrive into your laptop.

matters 02-22-2008 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lstamm (Post 3065807)
I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are wanting then. I assumed you wanted a way to boot the old laptop, doc, into a Slackware session, without disturbing the existing linux installation on the server, top.

Thats true, but its only part of the deal :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by lstamm (Post 3065807)
If what you really want is to install Slackware onto your laptop and you have no way of booting it off of installation media, then LTSP is not the way to go. Much better to install onto a laptop harddrive temporarily connected to one of your other machines, configure it for your laptop, and then transfer the laptop hardrive into your laptop.


Imagine that you have a laptop with badblocks hdd. Normally its possible to do pxe slackware installation without any bootable media, to install slackware on laptop hdd, but now since laptop new hdd is expensive, and usb is also too much expensive for me, i had an idea to purchase separate hdd sata install it on TOP and prepare it only to be used for laptop slackware installation So far so good right :) Then on TOP computer i wanted to install ltsp server so for later use on new hdd onto i.e. /opt/ltsp

Now just imagine the proccess of installing slackware diskless using pxe you prepare everything (dhcp,tftp,nfs), you boot pxe of the laptop and u get boot prompt. u normally boot kernel, probe ethernet, start setup,

and what i wanted here is that setup installation for target media wont detect my badblock hdd, instead i would like to force it to see new hdd that i installed on top with mount point like chroot of /opt/ltsp/i386 so that slackware would be installed direclty from laptop pxe diskless to TOP reserved laptop sata hdd.(Thats what i want to achieve, and dont know how, because on selecting target media setup detect badblock laptop hdd), After an installation would complete i would of change dhcpd so the new root is /opt/ltsp/i386 and then that way i would have achieved what i want. Meaning boot the old laptop, doc, into a Slackware session, without disturbing the existing linux installation on the server, top. just like you understood from the first place :)



Hope the picture is now more brighter,hopefully you or someone else would come how to achieve that because my mind is blank at that point :)

Thanks!

Tux-Slack 02-22-2008 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by masonm (Post 3062754)
If the laptop has no hdd, doesn't boot from usb, and doesn't have any sort of floppy or cdrom how exactly do you plan to boot the thing to do an install? How does it boot now?

You need some means of booting the thing into the installation app even for an NFS install.

Ever heard of net boot? :P


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