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Old 08-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #1
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Help finding an appropriate distro and understanding setup.

I'm trying to set up a machine to "drive" a piece of equipment (a metal plate embosser [kind of like a daisywheel printer for credit card sized pieces of metal], FWIW). What I ideally want is a linux distro that I can boot from CD (I think the term is Live CD?), log itself in as a user and display only a console. It needs to be able to support windows fileshares and python.

Essentially it needs to boot, connect to a single fileshare on a Win2k8 machine, and be able to execute a couple of scripts that will output to a serial port. One of them will be more or less the following:

wget http://WEBSITE/?<parameter passed to script> --quiet --output-document=<name of serial port>

The other is a somewhat more complicated Python script that processes a CSV spreadsheet and produces data for the machine.
Old 08-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Without compiling your own specially tailored ISO for this purpose I don't think it will work. However a Live USB might be an easier option, since USBs are re-writable, you can store things like script files much easier on them. There are a number of distros that can be booted from USB, and console only can be declared by editting /etc/fstab to default to run level 3... question is, is the machine you are using able to boot from a USB Flash Drive?
Old 08-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, it can't. The machine I've got on hand for it is fairly old -- that it will boot from CD is better than I'd expected when I first turned it on.

Modifying a live CD that's most of the way there is probably within my grasp given a tutorial or two, or at least an explanation of what files need altered, where to put my custom scripts, how to configure access to the windows shares, etc.
Old 08-11-2010, 03:11 PM   #4
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in that case any distribution would do
i can't give specifics since i've never done what you are trying to do but as a starting point you should
a hard drive install would probably be more functional but you might be able take your system and make a bootable cd(dvd) with remastersys or something like that, not sure if that is how remastersys works but worth a shot either way you should start with a hard drive based install then migrate it to a cd/dvd if that is what you really want

1. start with a bare minimum install of *name your distribution*
1.5. create a non root user for day to day use (usually part of the installation process)
2. install wget,python,samba,setserial (and any other software necessary to get the job done)
3. create a mount point for your windows share (eg: /mnt/windows_share or /media/windows_share)
4. place the windows share in /etc/fstab (not sure the exact syntax for doing this) and make sure it automounts on startup
5. at least with ubuntu and probably debian based systems you would edit /etc/tty1.conf to look something like this
# tty1 - getty
# This service maintains a getty on tty1 from the point the system is
# started until it is shut down again.

start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
stop on runlevel [!2345]

exec /bin/login -f *username* </dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1
the operative word being however to execute the command
exec /bin/login -f *username* </dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1
at startup
6. make sure any other TTYs are disabled (not necessary but useful)
7. make sure the user has permission to read/write to the serial port
8. create a .bash_login for said user with any automated tasks that should be performed on login, some of those will be to configure the serial ports using setserial
hope this helps

Last edited by frieza; 08-11-2010 at 03:17 PM.


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