Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Edubuntu Victory!

Since my Network+ class, I've been working on setting up an Edubuntu LTSP (Linux Terminal Service Project) classroom. The stumbling block was getting old Pentium II computers to PXE boot. Most of the older machines don't have a PXE option in the BIOS. I'd tried to use the rom-o-matic.net to make a bootable disk, but wasn't having any luck at all.

The new version of Edubuntu is different. Instead of Edubuntu being a completely different distribution, it's an add-on to a regular Ubuntu installation. To install an Edubuntu server or workstation, you install Ubuntu from the Alternate Install CD. If you want to create a server, you press F4 after selecting the language, and choose the "install LTSP" option.

The first Alternate Install CD I burned, I used the new Brasero disk burning utility. Everything seemed to checkout okay; MD5 checksum and disk integrity looked good. The installation when well until it had to install LTSP chroot. Each time it tried to install, it failed. After several more disk wipes and reinstallation, I tried burning another disk, this time using GnomeBaker -the utility I'm used to. On the next install attempt; success.

Free Geek Central Florida also recently got a donation of three enterprise level 24 port switches. I plugged one in, plugged the newly installed server up to it, and plugged my laptop to the switch. Netbooted my laptop by pressing F12 at boot, and it successfully booted in the the server.

I still had the problem of getting all the older computers to network boot. I surfed back to rom-o-matic.net. While looking through the list of individual Network Card drivers, I noticed a gPXE:all-drivers option. "Okay, that looks interesting." I downloaded the image, burned, and booted an older Pentium II up. It booted right into the Edubuntu server. I think this netboot image should be on the Edubuntu site.

So, this morning, I feel on top of the world.


The next task is to install the classroom in the Interventions Unlimited center.

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