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Upgrading WS from Sarge: 2.5 options

Dear list,

one of my computer labs consists of 15 workstations that
- do dual boot (w2k + slx 2-pre)
- are (partly) protected by some hardware protector
- thus use /dev/hda5 as only linux filesystem (ext3)
  and lilo as boot manager (installed to /dev/hda1 which
  contains as extended partition hda5)

Upgrading to Etch (SLX 3.0) is due, now. I see 2.5 ways to do so:

1. aptitude/apt-get dist-upgrade
2. re-install (while hoping that MBR is kept/adaptable)
2.5 replace by diskless client option.

Today, I started trying option 1. according to 
This path turned out to be
- very slow (downloading hundreds of packages took nearly 2 hrs)
- non-working (dependencies got broken as can be guessed from here:
  http://paste.debian.net/39847 - "840 upgraded, 408 newly installed, 
  73 to remove and 3 not upgraded. Need to get 1208MB of archives."
- I even tried tasksel (which might be a hint), but I feel that
  upgrading the system without any Debian mirror is nonsense.

As for option 2, I wonder if there is any boot options to prevent Grub 
from being used? Does usplash work with lilo as well? The boot loader 
needs to fit to one sector, I am afraid.

As for option 3, I now installed a 2nd LTSP server (Etch). However, I 
don't have a combo-Server, and my Tjener is one year old (Sarge). Now I 
wonder what network topology could be used to support both systems on 
those machines: w2k via Samba (10.0.x.x) and diskless 'lowfat' clients.

I remember some posting that it is possible sticking DHCP services to my 
Tjener, but providing tftp/pxe boot (on demand) from another machine. 
Any howtos available?


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