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My company is considering doing a rollout of linux to basically be a series of thin clients to connect to a windows terminal server. However, this would be on various Dell models and since our linux guru is booked solid, we wanted to know if it is possible to design a custom slackware (or any free distro for that matter) install that would cover most of the dell models (hardware wise) and possible even have a logo or text over what is going on in the background. This would be on many different dell models and we would like it to be as seamless as possible (end users know nothing of linux). Basically the CD Image needs to:
1.) Wipe out partitions
2.) Install (insert distro here) with machine-specific modules.
3.) Run in "silent" mode, the less verbose the better.
Any gurus out there that know how to do this? Any help is Greatly appreciated.
Provided that you compile the correct support into the kernel it will. You'll need to know what hardware is on each machine, and then compile a custom kernel with all of the hardware support built in (i.e. not modules). Once the kernel is ready, I would copy it to a CD. Then, pick one of the laptops, and do a striped down install (just the basic packages that you need). At the end of the slackware install it will ask you which kernel you want to use. Insert the CD with your custom kernel and tell it to use that one. After that, image the whole she-bang and push it down to each of the laptops. In theory, this should work fine.
If you compile a kernel to run on various machines, they should either all have
the same processor type, or configure the kernel for the lowest common denominator.
Example - i586 kernel will run on athlon-xp, but not vice-versa.
Very true, I forgot to mention that. In the compile options I would pick 486 as processor type. There are also some features in the kernel specific to laptops, so some trial and error may be needed, especially when it comes to things like APIC and APM. When in doubt, leave it out.
(hey, that rhymed...)
Hmmm..... yes, that would be true, but if these are thin clients then you can probably get away with it. In the end, it's easy enough to change. Are there going to be seperate user accounts on each system, or are they going to all be root only and then get their user info from the server they are connecting to?
Just leave them at the default of localhost and make sure that localhost is defined next to the loopbac address in your hosts file. Like slightcrazed said - it shouldn't really matter. the only time you may run into a problem is running services like samba that require unique node names.
Imaging is definatly a way to go with this. At my school, Rochester Institute of Technology, all of our machines are imaged. For our lab classes we might need to load a linux image, or a windows 98 image, or a windows xp image. It's really quite convenient. Just pop in a disk and grab the image off the network. I think it's either norton ghost or the powerquest program or possibly both depending on the image/machine. Might want to look into that as it's quite convienient, that way you can have different images depending on your needs instead of tons of cd's.