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Re: Building a NOW with Debian

Jose Marin wrote:
> I'm not doing diskless clients at the moment, but this might interest
> you and everybody on the list. There's a thread called "diskless" in
> the general beowulf list (beowulf@beowulf.gsfc.nasa.gov), and there's
> a post by R. Brown (14 July) where he has some interesting things to
> say. He's asking for some way to create, on a server, a root directory
> structure (except /usr) for the diskless nodes to mount (a la SunOS).
> And to do it of course in a way that upgrades through the package
> manager are easy. He asks for RH support, but Debian needs the same
> thing, I would think.

I'm currently doing something very similar, with the added bonus that
the diskless clients are actually PowerPC, and the server is x86. The
major problem is that dpkg wants to run pre and post-install scripts,
but this can go very wrong when installing cross architecture.

I'd like Debian to have the level of diskless client support that SunOS
has. I'd like to be able to support clients of one version/architecture
from servers of a different version/architecture. This is not an
impossible goal, and I think anything achieved should migrate into
"standard" Debian. Note that Brian May's diskless package already
achieves some of this for clients of the same architecture as the

My current solution is to unpack a base image, and modify it according
to a policy file (of a format I'm still working on). Then boot one
client, and run dselect on it. This "master" client is the only one
which ever gets to run dpkg. All the others get cloned from this, quite
possibly by the diskless package. 

- Adrian Cox, AG Electronics

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