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Is it time for a Puppy ibiblio TS server or PXE installer?
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Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar 2011, 14:48    Post subject:  Is it time for a Puppy ibiblio TS server or PXE installer?  

Several recent threads have been hinting at a Puppy Terminal Server, or PXE installer

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=63718

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=65232

The best place, I think for this to be implemented would probably be ibiblio, with mirrors

I have absolutely no knowledge of how to achieve this, but moot the idea, hoping it will be picked up by someone with the knowledge/initiative

What is a Terminal Server?

http://www.ltsp.org/

It seems there are 2 essential types,

1) Local network, usually connected by serial/RS232 to a local server which holds the full OS and software, and can support multiple user logins/savefiles

2) Wide Area Network, connecting via PXE, network TCP/IP, or remote desktop, with similar capability but with an off-site [ibiblio] server

There is also the PXE installer, which enables people to actually install Puppy via a server [proposed ibiblio server] which holds the files needed for each specific piece of hardware connecting via its own network card, and a PXE boot disk, allowing installations for those who don't have a floppy/CD or have some other reason [?] for needing network install

....as I understand it

Please add/amend this 'discussion post' as required, I'll edit the original, if need be

Aitch Smile
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Aitch


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PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar 2011, 14:49    Post subject:  

reserved, just in case

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar 2011, 09:45    Post subject: Re: Is it time for a Puppy ibiblio TS server or PXE installer?  

Aitch wrote:
There is also the PXE installer, which enables people to actually install Puppy via a server [proposed ibiblio server] which holds the files needed for each specific piece of hardware connecting via its own network card, and a PXE boot disk, allowing installations for those who don't have a floppy/CD or have some other reason [?] for needing network install
I was looking for a PXE UNDI network driver for Linux. So far I haven't found any. All the google post I found suggest that I compile a specific driver for that kernel instead. That being the case, it's possible to boot Puppy from any http server now - with gPXE or iPXE. I tried gPXE in the past - it worked beautifully, and is much faster than the usual PXE boot using TFTP. Didn't have much success with iPXE, may be the code was in disarray at that time.
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Aitch


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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar 2011, 10:35    Post subject:  

jamesbond

It seems the generic UNDI driver is not recommended as it's slow and forces gPXE to switch cpu modes when calling it. It can also violate PXE rules

http://etherboot.org/wiki/faq/drivers

although iPXE can use chainloading to load UNDI drivers

http://ipxe.org/howto/chainloading

However, H Peter Anvin says UNDI is 'atrocious', and is only called AFTER booting from NIC, [though that was in 2006, but I don't suppose the structure of NDIS2 has changed...??]

http://linux.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/Kernel/2006-08/msg02170.html

Jan Engelhardt wrote:
Netboot, in the current world, could be done like this:

1. Grab the PXE ROM code chip manufacturers offer in case your network card
does not support booting via PXE yet and write it to an EPROM which most
PCI network cards have a socket for

2. Use PXELINUX, boot that with the help of the PXE ROM code

3. Put all drivers needed into the kernel or initrd; or send out different
initrds depending on the DHCP info the PXE client sent.


my colour highlight, as I thought that interesting


My real question is where/how we setup a server with bootable Puppy images/bootloader scripts/user info?

Just for starters.....[it seems easily implemented in debian using boot floppies, for example]

http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/478

http://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/BootpTFTP

Anyone fancy a go?.... it's beyond me.... Embarassed [busy/lazy, but still curious]

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar 2011, 00:58    Post subject: TS is NOT PXE  

Hi Aitch.

This a start. Along with JamesBonds thread. It appears that the JamesBond thread it moving toward reviewing operational attempts to achieving a Terminal Server (TS) using the accomplishments of the PXE project to get a terminal (thin-client running SSH to login and get a desktop on the server). Very interesting approach.

I am going to depart for just a moment to say that what we do here and in JamesBond's thread should be VERY clear on what you define as a Terminal Server. There are and will be lots of Microsoft people following this title. And we should be very consistent in Puppy with that so that there is NO misconceptions that will leave an unhappy taste in their mouth. Remember, these are NOT Linux people, they are Microsoft and why I hear or have seen Terminal Server (Citrix was 1st PC commercial offering on OS2, then Microsoft when they were purchased). Let me help all reading this to understand what a Terminal Server from their point of view is.

(Forgive my Language that will follow.) The Citrix Terminal Server (aka IBM Terminal Server-Microsoft Terminal Server) turns a PC into a Mainframe. Yes, you heard me right...a MAINFRAME. A mainframe; any mainframe is a box where users logon to and do ALL of their work. And, when done they log off.

Man, it appears, in this Puppy community have not had the opportunity to ever see or do this. But technology to do this has been around for 20 years; starting with support users over dial-up with instantaneous mouse-keyboard-video refresh as if they were sitting at the PC, itself.

The easiest way to see this in action in today's environment is to use 2 Microsoft PCs on a LAN, where 1 of them is a Microsoft XP Pro. XP Pro has a feature in it that allows a person to logon to a running XP machine and get a desktop to do work, even though someone else is sitting at the desktop also doing work. XP gives you a 2 user environment in this case = 1 at PC and 1 logged on remotely, working independently with neither knowing or caring what the other is doing. Hence separate work-spaces on the same OS at the same time.

The ONLY requirement after turning on the feature in XP Pro is that the remote machine runs its RDP client to connect to this XP TS.

A "real" Server from Microsoft expands this to many users on 1 PC at the same time, using whatever applications an administrator has setup for each's ID. An administrator can make ALL applications available to everyone, or he can restrict users as they see necessary.

So my XP description is a way, for free, you or anyone of us can see and understand what a 20 year-old technology called TS does in a Microsoft environment.

to reiterate, when your RDP client connects, you are using a full Windows desktop on that server. Everything you do in that desktop is happening on the server via your RDP client. Nothing on your PC is doing ANY FUNCTIONAL WORK as all that is done is ON THE SERVER and not on your PC. It may appear that its on your PC, but that just an appearance. Further, for the many servers communities that I have done, in MOST case, I tailor the user PC so power on, boot its OS in the background in such a way that the user ONLY sees the Terminal Server login and NEVER sees the local PC logon. For all practical purposes, they never see the local machine at all.

On the Linux front, a project got off the ground several years ago, called XRDP whose aim was to bring the RDP protocol into the Linux environment such that Linux would have the protocol (transport) ability to do the same thing.. (I personally believe that this has stymied because the Linux community is both fractured and handcuffed to bring this into a mainstream, but, maybe Microsoft will do it for us. Seems that I have been to presentation from MS where they have stated that they have already done this...just not made it Public Domain)

So, according to what I set forth, here, "a TS is a mainframe where ALL user work is done on the mainframe using a piece of software on his/her PC".

If we intend to go further, we should either REDEFINE TS or we should make clear that the Puppy implementation is a departure from a TS.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Unix (Bell labs, SCO, AIX, HP-UX, etc) is a mainframe. You just need one of their clients or a "true" terminal to logon and do work. Recent years, these terminals now run X desktops, same as todays distros

And, please, anyone, don't be upset if I used the bad word mainframe here.. Its an 'Architectural' word that has been in use since WWII. It always was intended to serve multiple (users) simultaneously

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar 2011, 01:47    Post subject: One Linux Terminal Server  

Those interested in experiencing a Linux TS go here:
Please take a moment to help the community by leaving them a response to your experience. This helps all of us.

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Aitch


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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:10    Post subject:  

Hi gcmartin

Thanks very much for the detailed interpretation of a TS, and link to the Edubuntu project

I wholeheartedly agree that any Puppy implementation should adhere to expected 'standards' as Joe/big_bass is insisting on with his TXZ_Pup

Puppy has been a bit footloose....but nothing exceptional or exciting seems to have materialised, despite some good ideas in the Saluki/remastered thread....just variations on a theme/content, as far I see

I witnessed a debian install via PXE a few years ago where the TS was explained to me by a Sysadmin, so I have 2 options I'm interested in, which could possibly be combined on a single server
1) remote install of Puppy via PXE
2) remote server, utilising old low grade hardware/thinclient type boxes/similar, using remote logon to a [Puppy] Terminal Server

Master Wrong's work on the Puppy cluster also seems possibly connected, as not everyone has a dual xeon box available...but several P3s/P4s clustered maybe as a Terminal Server/possibly combined with a Puppy mirror?

I realise this may be energy hungry by modern standards, and I'm looking at either retiring my old SCSI/server hardware, or finding a use for it.....such as this

The only doubt/question really, is what is needed in terms of IP addresses/broadband connections for the server.....and can clients connect via 56k modem and still get good functionality?

Oh, and how much is involved in administering this sort of setup?

thanks

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar 2011, 06:50    Post subject:  

Aitch wrote:
Puppy has been a bit footloose....but nothing exceptional or exciting seems to have materialised, despite some good ideas in the Saluki/remastered thread....just variations on a theme/content, as far I see
Because of other Real-Life (tm) priorities?

Quote:

I witnessed a debian install via PXE a few years ago where the TS was explained to me by a Sysadmin, so I have 2 options I'm interested in, which could possibly be combined on a single server
1) remote install of Puppy via PXE
2) remote server, utilising old low grade hardware/thinclient type boxes/similar, using remote logon to a [Puppy] Terminal Server
These are two different things altogeher. Point no 2 is Terminal Server proper, as elaborated by gcmartin above. Point no 1 is already achievable as discussed in other PXE threads you referred in the first post.

If you want to boot from a website (as your debian links alluded), it's very easy. All you need is the gpxe *) boot disk (cd/usb/floppy - choose whatever you want), and boot from it. When the computer boots, press Ctrl-B, and type:
Code:
dhcp net0
chain http://your-web-server/your-single-file-puppy
The webserver obviously can be anything, it can be ibiblio (if someone uploads the single-file-puppy there), or it can be local webserver as in my screenshot. Your single-file-puppy can be created in this way:
1. Use mknetboot.sh to get the humoungous initrd.gz and vmlinuz.
2. Use wraplinux to combine this humoungous initrd.gz and vmlinuz together.
There you have it!

*) I used gpxe because ipxe, at the time of writing, doesn't work for me. And it only provides iso download for CD, other media is not supported (ie you have to compile it yourself).
**) those mknbi tools referred in the debian links is now known as "wraplinux", which is what I use.
***) you don't even need to use wraplinux really. Only the mknetboot.sh step is required, because you can do this in gpxe as well
Code:
dhcp net0
kernel http://your-web-server/vmlinuz
initrd http://your-web-server/initrd.gz
boot
gpxe-boot.png
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gpxe-boot.png


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Aitch


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PostPosted: Sun 13 Mar 2011, 00:02    Post subject:  

jamesbond wrote:
If you want to boot from a website (as your debian links alluded), it's very easy. All you need is the gpxe *) boot disk (cd/usb/floppy - choose whatever you want), and boot from it. When the computer boots, press Ctrl-B, and type:
Code:
dhcp net0
chain http://your-web-server/your-single-file-puppy

The webserver obviously can be anything, it can be ibiblio (if someone uploads the single-file-puppy there)......


That's exactly my point!

It isn't there NOW!

Do we need to vote to get it put there, or do we have to ask Barry K if he thinks it should be, or what?

As to the other Terminal Server idea, I think it's beyond my ability/confidence threshold, (?) but I have the hardware, in the form of a scsi drives Dell dual P3 server about to be retired unless I can find a good use for it

thanks

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar 2011, 08:45    Post subject:  

Aitch wrote:
That's exactly my point!

Ah, bulls-eye! Very Happy

The question is, though, why? What's so appealing about network install? I can see the benefit in closed network environment (corporate, university, school, or even home network) - where you set-up an install server, put the copy of the OS there, and then install all the other computers from there ... But I don't really see the benefit of network install over the Internet?
Let me elaborate:
1) I mean, you first have to download that gpxe.iso first, and boot that up, right? Why not download and boot up the full OS instead, it's only 100-odd MBs, not that much (definitely compared to Fedora DVD, for example)
2) If you have to install multiple computers, isn't it more efficient to download one copy, burn it to CD (or USB or whatever), rather than re-downloading the full copy each time you do the network install?
3) If you download an ISO, if the download is interrupted, you can continue (if you the correct software at least - e.g wget). If you do network install, and the network is screwed up half-way - you have to re-download everything.
4) With a CD you can always get the CD from elsewhere - internet cafe, your friend, your friend's friend, magazine, etc - even when your home network/computer is completely uninstalled. WIth network install, you *need* to have a working network *at least*.
5) You can't network-install over dial-up. You can, as a matter of course, download the ISO over dial-up (if you have the patience).

I guess before you can start gather the vote, you must convince the voters Smile

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar 2011, 22:27    Post subject:  

Has ANYONE tried the Linux Terminal Server mentioned earlier.
If you have what is your reaction(s)?

Has anyone every tried MS Terminal Server service?

If you haven't, you MAY discover how 20 year old technology really does allow us to exploit our PC for WYSIWYG desktop users.

Try it and post your experience.
P.S. I could NOT get this to connect via Puppy with any of the browsers it offers. I had no problem connecting in Windows with Firefox, etc. I am NOT sure where to post this for better understanding why it doesn't work in Linux.

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Sun 20 Mar 2011, 06:26    Post subject:  

I tried the Edubuntu weblive "terminal server" you linked above. Works ok with Fatdog, but one must use the 32-bit compatibility library for it to work as the applet apparently downloads and uses 32-bit NX client to connect to the server. The size of this NX client is about 20MB. Remote system felt very laggy and sluggish (especially opening the first few menus and windows), but improved slightly afterward because of NX cache. But to be fair, I'm halfway around the world from the server is, so yeah in general it performed better than expected.

Question is - why download 20MB client to the machine, when you can download 100MB for the *entire* OS and have a fully local experience? (ie no lag). As my other thread discusses, the savefile can still be on the remote end - thus experience is identical to this (boot everywhere, get the desktop where you left it). For a very laggy connection (ie satellite), we can even adopt the tmpfs-pup_rw like the one used for thumdrives --- main storage is in tmpfs, thus having local speed, and snapmergepuppy saves it back to the remote storage.

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Sun 20 Mar 2011, 18:51    Post subject: James solved issue for connecting from Puppy to Edubuntu  

jamesbond wrote:
I tried the Edubuntu weblive "terminal server" you linked above. ... Question is - why ...
Thanks James for sharing how to use FATDOG for getting the Edubuntu session running.

Ideas on what you noticed
You have produced marvelous work on the effort you mention. I agree with you that if your only connection was over Satellite or over Continents, there may be a lag as compared to your solution.

But, I am not seeing the lag you speak of (probably because I am closer to the servers than you). In fact, I find it as fast as my local Linux PCs for browsing and running those desktop applications you see on their Terminal Server.

The real reason Why?
I opened another thread, couple days back, here. You inspired me when you opened this thread to determine if others would consider the benefits that helps Puppiers from all walks of life with a simple solution similar to what you see at edubuntu. See this: Your Why? has a more general scope.

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