[LONG] Maintaining several identical installations of (B)LFS

Steve Bougerolle steveb at creek-and-cowley.com
Wed Jul 30 19:57:25 PDT 2003

I ran a school computer setup for 2 or 3 years this way:

Have a central file server containing images of the Linux system you
want to run (and also the Windows system if that suits you, although
it's more problematic).

On every user machine have a partition containing a minimizal linux
system & script which does nothing but untar the Linux image off the
file server when you boot it (into the appropriate partitions, formatted
& all that).

Handle differences between individual machines by maintaining a "config"
tree on the file server so you can copy over the few files that will
change.  Typically that'd be the hostname, network setup, sound card,
XF86Config and modules.conf, but it might also include fstab and
lilo.conf depending on your particular setup.  You could even stick in
entire customized kernels and modules in there although in practice I
found it too much hassle and just built one kernel to handle all of the
2 or 3 different possible devices in each category.  

Write your script to automatically shut down after re-installing Linux,
then run it once at the end of every week (or every day if you change
things that often).

We mounted home directories directly over NFS from the file server, with
a parallel Samba system for Windows use.  That worked just fine.  I
would NEVER mount the root system over NFS, though, even though NFS was
designed for exactly that purpose.  Disk space is cheap, just make an
image & copy.

Steve Bougerolle <steveb at creek-and-cowley.com>
Creek & Cowley Consulting

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