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Workstation bootdisk

This was proposed by I don't remember whom while we were shouting at
each other regarding to my /etc vs. /usr/etc proposal.

We, the Large Networks Running Debian GNU/Linux With One Fileserver
Having /usr On It And Hundreds Of Workstations Fan Club, hereby
propose a change for Debian bootdisks, in order to make it easier to
setup workstaions which will have /usr mounted from remote NFS
fileserver.  The bootdisk will partition the hard disk, initialize and
mount (or swapon) the partitions, and ask the user for IP and hostname
for new machine and network card driver.  As usual, more or less.
Then, the bootdisk will ask you wether the machine will have local
/usr.  If the answer is no, then the very same bootdisk will ask you
for the NFS server and directory to mount and .tar.gz file to get.

The .tar.gz file will have an almost working Linux root partition
inside.  It will not have /var/lib/dpkg directory, for all the
installations will be done on the fileserver.  It may have
locally-installed programs which the sysadmin thinks must be installed
on every machine (like /bin/ed, which many of us are fans of).  It
will have /var inside.  It may have some files in /etc tuned for local
network (example: /etc/printcap).  And here are some more things about
the files in /etc.

/etc/fstab will have only default NFS mounted directories inside.  An
example of such fstab:
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
linuxserver:/usr	/usr	nfs	ro		0 0
userserver:/home	/home	nfs	defaults	0 0

/etc/resolv.conf will be there already.  /etc/hostname won't.
/etc/hosts won't have the name of the machine being installed in it.
All the missing parts will be tuned during installation.  Everything
that must be tuned further, will be tuned after first reboot manually
by the sysadmin (as it happens on the other Debian systems: for
example, if the machine is going to be the http proxy, we won't
configure squid right from the bood disk).

There may be a package which makes such root partition image from
local root partition.

The kernel, it seems, must be on this default partition, too.

Comments?  Suggestions?


Vadim Vygonets * vadik@cs.huji.ac.il * vadik@debian.org * Unix admin
The fish doesn't think, because the fish knows...  everything.
	-- Arizona Dream

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