Vision of new installation method using webserver
Since we were talking about including a web-server in the base system here
I often maintain headless servers. I always have to attach a screen for
the initial install or if something is seriously wrong with the machine.
Lets say I have a new machine fine tuned by the dealer (who put 95 or
something else we dont need on it) in front of me. I'd like to do the
1. Insert Floppy disk and boot
A) The installation disk will detect frequently used ethernet boards
and configures an IP address obtained using BOOTP or DHCP. I can
then usually locate the IP address either via the BOOTP logs on a
Linux machine or via the NT DHCP display.
B) The web-server will start running
C) There is NO user interaction up to this point. Video is not used at
2. I can then use my laptop attached to the ethernet or a nearby
workstation with any web-browser and connect to the webserver on
the new machine
3. Use a web-driven configuration process
- initial partitioning and formatting
- running dselect (dwebselect?)
This would simplify the installation process extremely. I could just sent
the installation disk to a customer far away and tell him to insert that
disk into a new machine and I could remotely set it up from home!
I have a customer in Minneapolis for example and I needed someone to do
the initial install before I could take over the system. He put RH on it
since he knew nothing else..... I then had to upgrade the system to Debian
via telnet. Uggh.
If the base disks also would include a small textbased web-browser then we
might be able to use the same user interface both for remote and local
Another benefit would be that those machine actually could be ordered
without any video board at all leaving room for more expansion. Right now
we leave a cheap video board in for emergencies.
This move would give us a tremendous advantage over RH in the business
world. If anything is wrong just tell the customer to put in the rescue
disk and we can remotely fix things worldwide (hardware willing to
cooperate of course).
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