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Re: [idea] debian auto-configuration (like sysprep)

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton dijo [Wed, Apr 21, 2004 at 12:45:20PM +0000]:
> (...)
> the idea is based around the configuration text file which is used
> by sysprep.exe.
> background of sysprep.exe: it's an NT tool used by OEMs and sysadmins
> to roll out [nearly identical hardware] multiple machines.
> what you do is you set up a machine, you run sysprep with a config.txt
> file, and then you shut down the machine.
> you then make an image of the hard drive, copy it onto [one or more]
> other machines - the size of the hard drive is irrelevant, it just
> must be bigger - with identical hardware (hard drive being the exception
> to that rule).
> (...)

Besides agreeing to Wouter Verhelst's recommendation of FAI, I will
tell you a bit about what I have done in the past to do this. 

I hacked together a system (or maybe it's more adequate to call it a
procedure) to do this exact thing. I used a rescue minidistribution
called RIP (Recovery Is Possible), which boots off a CDROM but loads
the root FS image to RAM (it is about 6MB). It is thus not necessary
to keep the same CD inserted, although I almost always did so (but it
could be run from a bootable USB key and retreive the installation,
say, by NFS). I did a .tar.gz from a complete, running Linux install
(of course, with no daemons running, without including /tmp, /proc and
similar things). I modified the boot script in RIP to do a primitive
form of hardware detection, looking for the first hard disk and the
first CD-ROM in either SCSI or IDE buses. Dumped some commands to
fdisk, mkfs, mounted everything and untarred the .tar.gz file.

You don't even need the hardware setups to be identical, as is the
case with sysprep - I only had to add a configuration question in
order to put the right XFree configuration file, besides that
everything worked correctly in quite different systems. Remember, this
is not Windows :)

I wanted to write a little HOWTO on this, but have never got around to
do it. If you want to take a look at my images and modify them,
contact me by private e-mail and I will gladly help you.


Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.cx - (+52-55)5630-9700 ext. 1366
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
Fingerprint: 0C79 D2D1 2C4E 9CE4 5973  F800 D80E F35A 8BB5 27AF

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