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Chris Brennan 09-03-2011 04:00 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On 9/3/2011 11:35 AM, ZephyrQ wrote:
> I am trying to set up several Linux desktops for a secure (locked)
> facility for troubled teenagers. I brought one home to set up (so I can
> have unfettered internet access) but then I need to be able to 'clone'
> it to others without internet access (so package retrieval is impossible
> unless I bring home every single desktop; and we are talking about up to
> 50). So I need advice on the following:
>
> 1. Which distro to use? I've used Mint before in a similar setting
> (and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
> video acceleration and .5 G memory each. I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
> Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
> on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
> manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).
>
> 2. How do I 'clone' the machine to a CD or, preferably, a thumb drive
> so I can install the same configuration to all machines (limiting menu
> options, put in educational games, add openoffice or libreoffice, etc.)?
>
>
> Thank you for your time.
>
>

Clonezilla[1] should allow you to image one computer and clone it to the
others. It has both a Debian-based and Ubuntu-based images. As the
website states, the Ubuntu version is more up to date, but I still
prefer using the Debian version, I'd prefer stability over bleeding edge
when it comes to a cloning process. The only reason I would choose the
Ubuntu version is if it had a specific feature I needed.

[1]http://www.clonezilla.org

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> Chris Brennan
> --
> A: Yes.
> >Q: Are you sure?
> >>A: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
> >>>Q: Why is top posting frowned upon?
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Walter Hurry 09-03-2011 04:08 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On Sat, 03 Sep 2011 10:35:12 -0500, ZephyrQ wrote:

> I am trying to set up several Linux desktops for a secure (locked)
> facility for troubled teenagers. I brought one home to set up (so I can
> have unfettered internet access) but then I need to be able to 'clone'
> it to others without internet access (so package retrieval is impossible
> unless I bring home every single desktop; and we are talking about up to
> 50). So I need advice on the following:
>
> 1. Which distro to use? I've used Mint before in a similar setting
> (and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
> video acceleration and .5 G memory each. I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
> Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
> on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
> manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).

Given that you are familiar with Debian and unlikely to be updating
frequently, I'd suggest Debian Squeeze.

With these older machines, you might like to try LXDE. It's much easier
on resources than most DEs. Actually I use LXDE from choice an all my
distros*, even though my machines' resources are nowhere near as
constrained as yours.

* Scientific Linux 6.1, Debian Squeeze (with a selected handful of
packages from backports and Testing) plus Fedora 14, 15 and 16Alpha



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Doug 09-03-2011 06:59 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On 09/03/2011 11:35 AM, ZephyrQ wrote:

I am trying to set up several Linux desktops for a secure (locked)
facility for troubled teenagers. I brought one home to set up (so I can
have unfettered internet access) but then I need to be able to 'clone'
it to others without internet access (so package retrieval is impossible
unless I bring home every single desktop; and we are talking about up to
50). So I need advice on the following:

1. Which distro to use? I've used Mint before in a similar setting
(and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
video acceleration and .5 G memory each. I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).

2. How do I 'clone' the machine to a CD or, preferably, a thumb drive
so I can install the same configuration to all machines (limiting menu
options, put in educational games, add openoffice or libreoffice, etc.)?


Thank you for your time.



If you have a thumb drive big enough for the whole system, then copy the
HD to the thumb drive, and then copy to the new drive, from the thumb.
A program called HDClone, from a German outfit, will do that perfectly.
There are versions from free to several levels of pay. The highest level
of pay will work the fastest, but otherwise, they all will work.
I used this system to copy off a 60GB drive from a laptop, and then burned
the thumb to a replacement 250GB HD. (I have a 64GB thumb drive from
Kingston.) The new drive can be bigger, and you can scale the
partitions up,
or copy them the same, and then make new extra partitions, whichever you
like.


I think there are free Linux tools to do that, too, but to me they're not
user-friendly!

--doug

--
Blessed are the peacemakers...for they shall be shot at from both sides. --A. M. Greeley


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Ian Martin 09-03-2011 09:18 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
>1.* Which distro to use?* I've used Mint before in a similar setting
>(and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
>video acceleration and .5 G memory each.* I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
>Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
>on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
>manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).

>2.* How do I 'clone' the machine to a CD or, preferably, a thumb drive
>so I can install the same configuration to all machines (limiting menu
>options, put in educational games, add openoffice or
libreoffice, etc.)?

Another option would be to roll your own with Debian live ( http://live.debian.net/ ) and add the packages you want.* If you're going to do that, stable is the easiest distro to use.

Rob Owens 09-04-2011 12:48 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On Sat, Sep 03, 2011 at 10:35:12AM -0500, ZephyrQ wrote:
> I am trying to set up several Linux desktops for a secure (locked)
> facility for troubled teenagers. I brought one home to set up (so I can
> have unfettered internet access) but then I need to be able to 'clone'
> it to others without internet access (so package retrieval is impossible
> unless I bring home every single desktop; and we are talking about up to
> 50). So I need advice on the following:
>
> 1. Which distro to use? I've used Mint before in a similar setting
> (and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
> video acceleration and .5 G memory each. I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
> Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
> on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
> manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).
>
> 2. How do I 'clone' the machine to a CD or, preferably, a thumb drive
> so I can install the same configuration to all machines (limiting menu
> options, put in educational games, add openoffice or libreoffice, etc.)?
>
If the computers are networked (internet is not necessary), then you can
make a single image to serve all the computers using one of the
following methods.

1) Debian Live netboot

2) LTSP kiosk mode

Both of these will allow you to keep a pristine image that only you
update (and you only have to update it on a single machine). When a
client boots, it gets its OS over the network. It always gets a
pristine copy of the image on each boot.

Let me know if you need more details.

-Rob


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ZephyrQ 09-05-2011 07:45 PM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On 09/04/2011 07:48 AM, Rob Owens wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 03, 2011 at 10:35:12AM -0500, ZephyrQ wrote:
>> I am trying to set up several Linux desktops for a secure (locked)
>> facility for troubled teenagers. I brought one home to set up (so I can
>> have unfettered internet access) but then I need to be able to 'clone'
>> it to others without internet access (so package retrieval is impossible
>> unless I bring home every single desktop; and we are talking about up to
>> 50). So I need advice on the following:
>>
>> 1. Which distro to use? I've used Mint before in a similar setting
>> (and was pleased) but I'm now stuck with 6 year old Dells with almost no
>> video acceleration and .5 G memory each. I'm thinking XFCE with Mint or
>> Xbuntu, but am open to others (even a stock debian install which I use
>> on my home machine) but I will not be able to update unless I do so
>> manually (which a CD or thumbdrive).
>>
>> 2. How do I 'clone' the machine to a CD or, preferably, a thumb drive
>> so I can install the same configuration to all machines (limiting menu
>> options, put in educational games, add openoffice or libreoffice, etc.)?
>>
> Both of these will allow you to keep a pristine image that only you
> update (and you only have to update it on a single machine). When a
> client boots, it gets its OS over the network. It always gets a
> pristine copy of the image on each boot.

Thanks for the advice from all of you. I decided upon a stock Debian
(stable) box which I will reproduce with Clonezilla. It is going to
take longer than I thought (I still have to modify the menu and retool
the partitions a bit--seems the netinstall gave only 9 G to the root
partition but 27 G to /home which caused it to overfill when I did the
first big download of educational packages).

The basic Gnome desktop seems snappy enough on the machine, but I'll be
playing with both LXDE and XFCE--I'm running up against common
perceptions with both the students and the teachers who have never seen
a Linux desktop and I have to keep it as easy for them as possible.

Unfortunately, this set of installs will NOT be networked--they are
meant to be stand-alones in various classrooms around the building.
However, I will be needing the additional advice when I get to actually
re-doing the lab I'm in charge of (with a 500 G 3GHz server that has
never been used) that I will want to perform some nifty-ness with.

Again, thanks for all the advice...and I would appreciate any other
wisdom y'all might throw my way...I ran into another snag where I wanted
to remove some software but synaptic insists that it will remove
Gnome-core (like Evolution and Epiphany...these machines will never be
connected to the internet) and while I vaguely remember this issue on
the list, I don't remember the fix.


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Andrei Popescu 10-29-2011 10:28 AM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On Lu, 05 sep 11, 14:45:16, ZephyrQ wrote:
>
> Again, thanks for all the advice...and I would appreciate any other
> wisdom y'all might throw my way...I ran into another snag where I wanted
> to remove some software but synaptic insists that it will remove
> Gnome-core (like Evolution and Epiphany...these machines will never be
> connected to the internet) and while I vaguely remember this issue on
> the list, I don't remember the fix.

FAI (Fully Automated Install)
http://fai-project.org/

Regards,
Andrei
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ZephyrQ 11-06-2011 02:44 AM

Holiday Project for my job
 
On 10/29/2011 05:28 AM, Andrei Popescu wrote:
> On Lu, 05 sep 11, 14:45:16, ZephyrQ wrote:
>>
>> Again, thanks for all the advice...and I would appreciate any other
>> wisdom y'all might throw my way...I ran into another snag where I wanted
>> to remove some software but synaptic insists that it will remove
>> Gnome-core (like Evolution and Epiphany...these machines will never be
>> connected to the internet) and while I vaguely remember this issue on
>> the list, I don't remember the fix.
>
> FAI (Fully Automated Install)
> http://fai-project.org/

Wow, thanks. This is perfect.


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