We're doing roughly the same, if we can get over current problems with
recognition of drive geometries. Our differences are ...
It's a long story, but basically I have been
increasing annoyed with RM
recently. Therefore, I would like to create a Linux distribution which works
in a similair manner to RM connect. What do people think of these proposals?
We're not starting with Connect. We're starting with Acorn NCs and
diskless X/KDE terminals, and are under severe pressure to provide Windows
facilities. So we are working on a shellscript that, given a PXE boot
machine, formats and installs two partitions (X/KDE/FreeBSD & Windows)
from the server, and on subsequent boots updates them.
I can't guaranteee that it's going to happen
or quickly (I'm busy with school
and developing KDE), but if some people want to help as well, then it just
Want to keep in touch. We're not the same but there'll be lots of ideas
Linux distribution plan
Schools, colleges, universities
To provide a simple to install and administer networking system, which works
in a mildly similar manner to RM Connect. Except it actually works (and has
decent security), and is based on free software (GNU/Linux).
The Windows partition is easily eliminated from our system, but is
currently necessary. Partly, we're trying to do with a script what we
might otherwise have to do with Ghost.
By simply booting a machine with a boot floppy, it
should be easy to install
Linux on to the machine, after just asking a few questions such as the
hostname to use, and the kind of mouse that the box has.
We're currently basing it on PXE booting because the new batch of
second-hand machines we have have PXE boot cards. We're trying to arrange
to control everything through parameters in the DHCP file.
A Linux distribution based on Red Hat 7.2 would be created. The main reason
that Red Hat is suggested is because it can be installed based around the
Kickstart installation system, which enables an administrator to stored the
installer settings in a configuration file, rather than needing to sit in
front of the computer and tend to the the installation every time a question
Based on FreeBSD, but otherwise no difference.
The distribution will:
* Be mainly based on KDE, but provide Blackbox for older hardware (486s and
slow Pentiums). There is a possibility that GNOME could be provided as well,
but I prefer KDE, and know very little about how GNOME works.
Planning on KDE only.
Stuff like Kylix and Open Office will also be
StarOffice and KOffice. Maybe others.
On the server side, CUPS would be used for the
printing system and all
machines will have ext3 formatted hard discs.
May look at CUPS.
* Have a central administration databases where:
- User names and groups are managed
- Print and disc quotas are managed
- Software can be allocated to a machine/group of machines
- The central configuration files are located
We hope this will all be based in the DHCP and plan to write a MySQL
database to generate the DHCP config file.
* On booting up a machine, a system service will check
with the server hosting
the administrative database whether any software has been
allocated/deallocated. If so, it will be downloaded via apache and installed
locally, or removed, as appropriate. However, some larger software such as
Open Office might want to live permanently on the server.
We are planning to use "cpdup" to mirror the server filesystem on each
remote machine (controlled by exclusion files ".cpignore").
If any configuration files (e.g. /etc/host or
similair) have been modified,
the updated versions would be downloaded. Perhaps CVS could be used here.
* A database such as NIS would probably be used for the administrative
All machines are NIS clients to an NIS server.
* Upon loggin in (via kdm) the system would map the
user's home directory on
the server to the /home/user directory on the user name. NFS or SMB are
This is one of the tricky bits, but we have a FreeBSD-specific NFS mod to
* There will be some user based administrative tools.
This will allow the user
to change his/her password via a web browser. There will also be an
information page showing stuff like information about disc/print quotas.
It will also be possible to define the desktop menus (e.g. KMenu) that will
appear on the user's desktop. This will be based around .desktop files, and a
utility will convert these files to Blackbox menus so that the menu is kept
consistent between different desktops.
Haven't started on these things yet.
A web based e-mail system could be used to integrate
with the IMAP mail
We use Squirrelmail occasionally, but we mostly use pine.
* The server side would consist of the following
pieces of software:
- IMAP e-mail server
* It will be possible to customise the desktop to
default levels. For
instance, by most KDE configuration files will be held in a globally readable
directory (perhaps in /usr or /etc). Therefore ~/.kde will be mostly read
KDE's architecture makes it very easy to provide configuration files based on
Still thinking about these things. Where are the applnk & config fies
Christopher Dawkins, Felsted School, Dunmow, Essex CM6 3JG
01371-822698/821076 or 07798 636725 cchd(a)felsted.essex.sch.uk