[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Using old diskless machine as X terminal

On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 09:47:02PM -0800, Ross Boylan wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-12-22 at 22:11 -0500, Celejar wrote:
> > On Mon, 22 Dec 2008 18:03:10 -0500
> > "Douglas A. Tutty" <dtutty@vianet.ca> wrote:
> > 
> > > On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 11:10:27AM -0800, Ross Boylan wrote:
> > > > I have an old machine without a working hard disk that I'd like to use
> > > > to connect to my main machine and run X. 
> > > > 
> > > > I believe that I could boot off of knoppix, but is there something
> > > > easier I could do with the stuff already on my main machine--maybe
> > > > setting up an image and transmitting over the network at boot time?  The
> > > > machine has a CD drive, but I'm not sure it's working.
> > > > 
> > > > If I can use stuff I've already downloaded, it will go faster.
> > > 
> > > If your old box doesn't do (or can't do) network booting, then you'll
> > > need to give it some kind of hard bootable image.  The problem with
> > > knoppix is that it uses so much ram.  You could try grml (it may use
> > > less ram, I don't know).
> > 
> > Or Debian-live, which is incredibly customizable, although that will
> > obviously involve work.
> All my options seem to involve work!  So far, I've spent a lot of time
> with nothing to show.

Nothing will happen by itself, but the amount of work required might
be less than you think. There are two different problems involved:

1. Boot media, eg:
- local HD
- etherboot (or pxe) from a floppy (or CD)

2. What to boot
- general distro, manually edited to only do X -query
- specialised distro for this case, e.g LTSP (see www.ltsp.org)

> I misremembered the problem with the old machine; its power supply is
> broken (which is why I removed the disks).
> I switched to trying to get a 100Mhz Pentium with 64MB of RAM working.
> Unfortunately, it can't boot from CD-ROM (maybe something broke--the CD
> ROM is still readable, though).  Nor does it directly support network
> booting.  Its disks are basically full; it's running Windows NT 4, but
> my other family members are finding it intolerably slow.  I was hoping
> it would be adequate as an X terminal.

Using a local HD to boot from up to X is one way to solve your
problem. You could do a minimal debian install and then install X and
manually edit /etc/inittab to start X with the -query option, like:

X -query ip.to.login.server

> Someone suggested I try smart boot manager on a floppy, to cause a boot
> off CD-ROM.  But I can't get that to work.
> I've seen several suggestions for ways to make diskettes that will
> either boot from CD or network.

http://rom-o-matic.net/ is a useful service here.

> PXE booting requires an image to transmit.  Making the image looks like
> another involved project.

You don't need to create the image yourself, there are ready mades,
e.g. from LTSP

> There are a bunch of tools packaged for Debian that look relevant (e.g.
> search for "boot" in packagesearch (the app, not the web site).
> A number of options (such as using those tools or NFS mounting) are
> complicated by the fact that my system is too heavyweight for the old
> machine, so I need to pare things down so it's only an X server.

The server can export a different tree than its own root file system.

> Meanwhile I've tweaked Xaccess and kdmrc in /etc/kde3/kdm so that they
> might play along if I get the rest working.

That's a good start,

Good luck with the rest!

Hans Ekbrand (http://sociologi.cjb.net) <hans@sociologi.cjb.net>
Q. What is that strange attachment in this mail?
A. My digital signature, see www.gnupg.org for info on how you could
   use it to ensure that this mail is from me and has not been
   altered on the way to you.

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: