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Old 09-19-2006, 06:52 AM   #1
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Laptop as one-and-only monitor to my server machine

I know that there are many threads about using laptop as secondary monitor out there, and that there are tools available to make that set up work, but my wish is a bit different.

I want to buy parts and build my own cheap and small-footprint GNU/Linux fileserver at home. I do not want to buy a monitor, cause I simply would not have anywhere to put it.
I have a laptop computer at home, and I would like to use it as a monitor when installing and configuring the Linux server. Once having the server up and running, I would only interact with it through my LAN, using my laptop as a client.

Is it possible to hook up a laptop as primary monitor to a desktop computer, before installing the OS on the desktop computer?

Old 09-19-2006, 11:19 AM   #2
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Location: Wales, UK
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That's a really good question...

The only way that I can think of would be with a netboot facility: you need to configure the installer to either export to the laptop, or run an answers file, without actually manually typing anything at the desktop. Netboot facilities can pass options to the installer that they load. You could configure such a facility on a virtual machine that runs on your laptop.

With the Anaconda installer that Fedora and Red Hat uses: PXE (network) boot the desktop/server with an option to run Anaconda with VNC, using the laptop as the VNC client:

Debian also has netboot support, which IIRC is explained in the installation manual.

Last edited by hob; 09-19-2006 at 11:23 AM.


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