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Mini-ITX Boards Sale, Fanless BareBones Mini-ITX, Bootable 1G DSL USBs, 533MHz Fanless PC <-- SALE $200 each!
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Topic: Great but could someone help a little bit, RDP Project - fully automated< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
DogEatDog Offline

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Posted: Sep. 15 2007,22:37 QUOTE


I was drawn to DSL some time ago and I am now in the process of really starting to use it in anger. I have started to kick off a bespoke RDP build (with some nice add-ons) which I will be fully documenting over the next few weeks.

I have added the Intro section below (and the first couple of chapters as posts) - could someone help initially by sending me to the correct forum. The trouble with this project is that it covers a whole bunch of evils.

Many thanks

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DogEatDog Offline

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Posted: Sep. 15 2007,22:40 QUOTE


Create DSL thin client for use throughout the house on low powered totally quiet PCs with nothing hanging out of them (USB pens etc.). These clients should be able to:

1. rDesktop / VNC into numerous hosted OS's on server (Windows 2003 SBS)  running VMWare Server.
2. Have independent access to multimedia also stored on server to allow for playing of media files. There should be restrictions on permissions to delete / move files from within linux. (I have accidentally deleted many things before in this manner).
3. Create besoke Gui (.lua) to go to specific virtual computers via VNC / rDesktop without having to type in computer name / user name / password.

I also intend to write a noob proof step by step guide on how to do this. I am not the most technically minded but I can work stuff out slowly but surely. Any help greatly appreciated!

Other background thinking...

Network boot (pxe): I have tried spectacularly unsuccessfully to do this before and wasted hours and hours trying to resolve hardware issues and Windows Server 2003 (SBS) issues and really got no where fast. It is possible if you have the patience of a Buddhist Monk and you believe in mind over matter.

The Plan

1. Buy Machine - COMPLETE
2.1 Install DSL from LIveCD - COMPLETE
2.2 Install DSL on HD - IN PROGRESS
3. Connect to Windows Server 2003 - IGNORE (COMPLETE)
4. Check to see how rDesktop works
5. Check to see how VNC works
6. Compare them both with media streaming and ease of use.
7. With whichever works best, create automatic button based logons for users (.lua manipulation)
8. Connect the media player of choice to the music folder on the server. Set permissions.
9. Back up the iso / remaster ?
10. Push the whole build into Ram at boot (toram)
11. Write idiot guide (for myself and others) how to upgrade Distros in the future.
12. NEW - review intrd version for server pxe distribution(suggested by roberts).

Please feel free to help with this plan!!
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DogEatDog Offline

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Posted: Sep. 15 2007,22:42 QUOTE

1. Buy machine - COMPLETE

I have bought this machine from mini-ITX:
The M61G Fanless !Ghz Barebones Thin Client with 256KB Flash IDE Module + 512KB Memory.

Advantages: Small and noiseless.
Knock on effects: Because I don't want stuff sticking out of it, I bought the Flash IDE. I therefore need to understand how to do a flash install. The memory is of a decent size so that I can run the final operating system completely in RAM. It is totally noiseless but I may suffer in the long run with media reproduction due to lack of oomph powerwise.
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DogEatDog Offline

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Posted: Sep. 15 2007,22:43 QUOTE

2.1 Run DSL from LiveCD - COMPLETE

Precursors: Open up box - add RAM, attach CD drive, insert IDE Flash module.

1. Download latest version of DSL:

2. Select the 'current' directory
3. download the dsl.[versions_number].iso
4. Burn this to disk.

If you have trouble with any of this bit then google 'burning CD-Roms help' and find out how to do it.

5. Stick your CD-Rom into the Drive and start up your machine.
6. If it doesn't boot immediately, you may need to select 'Boot from CD-Rom' in your Bios settings of your computer. To access your Bios settings, hit Delete during the first few seconds after switching on. If Delete doesn't work, try F8, F2 or any of the other 'F's during the first few seconds (pretending you are a jazz pianist can work too by running your fingers up and down the F keys - not so good at identifying the correct F key to press for future though). You may be able to look up some Hardware instructions for your Motherboard if you are still struggling. Again Googling will probably help.

7. Let the whole thing run - when you are asked to enter cheat codes. Just hit return and get the thing installed.

8. Muck about with your very nice new Operating System that took less than 10 minutes to get up and running.

9. Is your computer connected to the internet to the network? Easy: Check by using Mozilla or similar to check your connection to the web. Otherwise, double click Terminal icon in top left hand of screen and type ifconfig (equiv of ipconfig in windoze). This should help you to diagnose problems. I'm not going to spend a lot of time sorting out problems here with this because I never had a problem. One thing I did though is to set a DHCP reservation for the linux box on the Serve - this is just to push the linux addresses away from the windows ones. Open up DHCPon the server, select your scope, open reservation and add a reservation as per instructions. Use the MAC address of your linux box (found using ifconfig like above) and enter in the details without the colons. Reboot.

A little note about Persistence.
OK - you have installed DSL - well done! You can do all sorts of things with this now. This includes downloading DSL add-ons etc. The changes you make are not PERSISTENT! This means that the next time you load up the DSL from the CD-Rom the preferences and changes that you have made will not have changed.
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DogEatDog Offline

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Posted: Sep. 15 2007,22:52 QUOTE

2.2 Install DSL on HD

The Website says:
A "frugal" type install mirrors the operation of the LiveCD. It installs the compressed filesystem and associated boot files onto a pre-prepared partition of your choice on your hard drive.

The frugal install offers you a choice of two bootloaders, lilo or grub.

This method offers many benefits to you over the typical linux hard drive install.

Use of the extension repository for adding applications, which are designed to run in the frugal/liveCD environment.
Much easier upgrade path, without needing to reinstall from scratch.
Use of the 'toram' option, while still operating from a hard drive type device. This offers you the maximum performance in DSL, by running your entire OS in ramspace, but getting the load performance and speed the hard drive offers.(requires 128MB ram)
Most all other boottime options are available to you, like persistant home and opt directories, autoloading of applications, setting fresh passwords, encrypting/decrypting your backups, unique hostname, and autorestore/backup of your personal files and settings at boottime and shutdown.
You can easily revert back to a pristine install condition, and extend this feature to uninstall any extension.
Steps needed:

Create a 50MB Linux partition with cfdisk (ex. hda2 )
Right-click on the desktop, navigate to Apps>>Tools>>Frugal Install, and select your choice of Frugal-Grub or Frugal-Lilo. This will make a ext2 file system and copies the necessary portions of the cd to it.
You can also bootup the DSL CD with the bootcode option " install " , and you will be presented with all the install options in a menu format.

##End Quote

Just for those of you who are like me who don't know what a frugal install is let alone a grub or lilo install then read this bit:

Frugal: The ability to boot up your computer with a method that isn't the liveCD.
Lilo vs. Grub install: Not really sure about this one - the documentation isn't immediately obvious. Apparently Grub is a bit more future proof in that you don't need to upgrade it if you change operating systems and you can use network booting too. I will be using Grub therefore. I've no idea why anyone would want to use Lilo.

In this case we will set up the following drives:

hda1: This drive holds your DSL image (size: 60Mb)
hda2: This holds your persistent changes as and when you make changes that you wish to be remembered - (size: the rest)

Q: Should I be using a swap drive here (Bearing in mind I will move to a toram option at the end of the project)?

In my case I have a 256MB flash Rom for a hard disk which is very quick for I/O. I am not sure if I need a swap drive - could someone help me with this??

1. Boot from CD
2. At the cheatcode option type: dsl 2
3. At the command prompt type: cfdisk
4. Create the partitions as you see fit. I have sized them as above (60MB:the rest). I have not made them bootable at this stage. This is pretty straight forward. If you are unsure use the hslp. Once done, remember to write your changes and exit.
5. Format the partitions: type: mke2fs /dev/hda1 and type: mke2fs /dev/hda2 (You don't have to do this bit but it is to ensure that your drives are picked up)
6. Shutdown the machine to get the partitions changes to happen. Type: shutdown -r now
7. Reboot into dsl 2
8. type at prompt: /usr/sbin/
9. Follow these commands:
Harddisk: hda1
Install from: [L] Live CD
Format?: yes & yes
10 Installed! Well done, reboot and take the CD out this time.
11. The grub loader now shows up and you can select which monitor resololution you want to go for at this time.

If you go into emel-fm (a file manager that takes a bit of getting used to is you are familiar with Explorer) you will see that in the root directory there are a mass of folders. Here is a list of them and a description of each:

Could someone help me here by pointing me in the direction of a good article / post about what the heck this filesystem is meant to be doing. It is so alien to me having spent the last 20 years working with PCs!
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