[sf-lug] Ubuntu project for the housing project - latest info

David Sterry david at sterryit.com
Tue Jun 19 22:03:35 PDT 2007

I've been watching this discussion for a bit and though I have no
experience doing this sort of thing, I did see it on TV! Actually
YouTube via slashdot. See this video:

So I just wrote to the guy that did a similar project with 150 PCs and
what follows is his prompt response. -Dave


As for managing a lab, I just installed a dual-boot system with
customizations like crazy on about 150 computers at our school.
It's pretty easy, and I did it in about 1 week.

1.) The computers you are imaging should be identical.
The hard drive size is especially important, but I've found
that doing what I am about to explain on different pieces of
hardware creates problems, and sometimes it just doesn't work.
Identical hardware is the key:

2.) Start by configuring one computer the way you want it. If it is
going to be used by many people, you'll want to install programs
like kiosktool and you'll need to go in and tweak file permissions
on things like the Desktop directory for public users.
Basically, install all of your programs and make it look real pretty.

3. Boot Knoppix onto the computer to be imaged, we'll call this
the slave computer. (The orginal is hereafter referred to as the Master.)

4. Determine the slave's ip address and be sure you can ping the master.

5. Determine the device name of the hard drive that will receive the
data on the slave. (It is usually /dev/hda or /dev/sda)

6. On the slave type
nc -l -p 9000 | dd of=/dev/hda <-- whatever the output device is.

(This command uses netcat to pipe information to dd.
It will create a one-to-one image of the master disk
once you start sending information.)

7.) on the master type
dd if=/dev/hda | nc ip_address_of_slave 9000
(This will begin sending information to the netcat process
that is listening on the slave, which is in turn is written
out to the disk. The hard drive lights on both computers
should begin flashing in unison.)

8.) For every 80 gigs it takes about 2 1/2 hours I've found.

Write back and let me know how it works out. I have a lot of
experience managing lots-o-linux. I hope I can help further.

Take it easy,

Romel Jacinto wrote:
> On 06/19/2007 06:27 PM, Michael Blanc wrote:
>> The equipment which is to be received (on Thursday, I think), consists of bare units without screens, kbs, or rodentae, but it sounds as if they have ethernet cards and possibly CD drives.
> The pc's are coming from my workplace (and are being picked up on 
> Thursday) so I know exactly what the specs are:
> Dell Optiplex Gx150
> Small form factor (which means that these are physically smaller and 
> won't take a standard-height PCI card)
> 900 MHz
> 256 MB or 512 MB RAM (more likely the latter)
> CD-ROM drives
> Ethernet cards are on the motherboard
> The built-in video card can be somewhat temperamental when running 
> monitors at higher resolutions under Ubuntu (Dapper Drake; have not 
> tested with Feisty Fawn).
> All of these pc's were in working condition running Windows XP when we 
> decommissioned them over the past several months.
> We did not donate any monitors, keyboards or mice, so I'm not sure of 
> the plan for those.
>> Kami's intention is to start classes there for school kids, which sounds like a worthwhile goal.
>  > She wants to teach OPEN OFFICE. Can we supply an installation of it?
> <snip>
> Open Office comes standard with Ubuntu.
>> Bring screwdrivers, not the alcohloic kind. Even bring some bootable 3.5" diskettes for diagnostic purposes.
> The Optiplex Gx150's are "tool-less"; no tools are needed to swap out 
> any of the replaceable components, except for the motherboard.
>> We'll see how far we get. It may be that all we could do is plan out what to do next time; maybe we get the whole thing done that afternoon; we'll just see what we see.
> I'm fairly busy and probably won't be able to make it this Saturday, but 
> I still maintain that there should be plan (both for the installation 
> and for longer term support) before diving into the install-fest, 
> however I'll defer to the sf-lug collective decision.
> It's fun for us to install, but these folks are going to be relying on 
> these computers and if the computers are not configured properly, the 
> end-users will likely get frustrated.
> Let's put on a good show and illustrate what open-source software can do 
> for them.
> --
> Romel
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