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Re: Vision of new installation method using webserver

In your email to me, Christoph Lameter, you wrote:
> Since we were talking about including a web-server in the base system here
> some thoughts.
> 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
> following
> 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
>       all.
> 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
> installations. 
> 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).

This is a GREAT idea! A few years ago, I took a look at Plexus
(I think it was written by Tony Samders). It's a complete server
written in Perl. Since we have perl on the resc disk.... I'll have
to see if I can find another copy. Being all text source based, it
should compress fine to save space.


 (work) sailer@bnl.gov / (home) tps@buoy.com - http://www.buoy.com/~tps
  Actually, I *do* know everything. I just don't get paid enough to show it.
** Disclaimer: My views/comments/beliefs, as strange as they are, are my own.**

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