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Linux Annoyances for Geeks by Michael Jang

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Too Many Computers on Which to Install Linux

As a Linux geek, you have to be ready in case the people you're working with want to install Linux on a substantial number of computers. And it would be supremely annoying to be up all night running installation programs on each individual computer. There are four sensible steps that you should take before installing Linux on a large number of computers:

  1. Test the desired configuration on one computer. Document any changes that you make.

  2. Create or use an existing configuration file to automate a new installation. Modify to match any changes you make to the test computer.

  3. Test the new configuration file, by using it to install Linux on a second computer. Document any problems. Modify the configuration file to make required changes.

  4. Repeat step 3 until the configuration file allows you to install Linux automatically on the computer of your choice.

Different Linux distributions include tools that can help. Red Hat has Kickstart. SUSE has AutoYaST. Debian uses the Fully Automatic Installation (FAI) tools. While some of these tools can work with bootable network cards, you may not be lucky enough to have them in your environment.

With these tools, you can automate the installation of Linux on other computers. If you have 100 identically configured computers and a DHCP server on a network, you can set up a single installation process that works automatically for those computers. Test your favorite Linux on one computer, configure it to your needs, ...

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