[Beowulf] small distro for PXE boot, autostarts sshd?
tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Fri Feb 27 06:32:24 EST 2009
On 27 Feb 2009, at 10:17 am, stephen mulcahy wrote:
> David Mathog wrote:
>> There are a million distros, and many "small" distros, but these
>> seem to
>> be optimized for desktop use. Surely there are a few out there
>> that can
>> do the following:
>> 1. pxe boot (easily)
>> 2. autostart sshd, allowing root ssh login (there is no
>> keyboard on the remote machine).
>> 3. contains smartmontools, parted, fdisk, etc., but not any
>> desktop pieces.
> Hi David,
> +1 on what others have said about FAI if you're using Debian or
> Ubuntu (afaik, at least Ubuntu has some support now for using Red
> Hat's kickstart style approach to automatic installation also but it
> may not be as full featured as on RPM based distributions).
Both Debian and Ubuntu can do what is known as a "pre-seeding"
install, which is very similar to kickstart. You basically supply a
URL on the commandline to download a file of pre-supplied answers to
all the questions the debian installer is going to ask. It works,
I've used it in the past, but my main problems with it are:
1) It's hard to debug when it goes wrong (having the ssh server in a
FAI install is a godsend)
2) FAI is more flexible, because you're basically running a full
Debian install NFS root, which you can modify to do absolutely
anything you want, including configuring more complex stuff that just
twiddling a few debconf settings is not going to cover.
3) It's quite a lot slower than FAI (I think this is because in FAI
most of the base packages are installed simply by unpacking a tarball,
whereas preseeding really does run the full install process)
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