Even easier netboot installation…

A while ago I covered netbooting/installation on ubuntu, well I’ve now found an even easier way to do this! It’s probably the easiest way to go about this as it really only involves editing one config file. Some of the info here comes from the official Ubuntu documentation on this, though my approach is actually easier, since you don’t need a separate tftp server.

The main piece of software you will need is dnsmasq, which you can install with the command:

sudo apt-get install dnsmasq

I already had this installed as I’m using it as a DNS cache for my network (which is also pretty useful). It turns out that dnsmasq is a bit of a ‘swiss army knife’, it can do DHCP, DNS and TFTP all together and very easily. You should edit the config file:

sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf Continue reading

A quick update


Haven’t been posting in a while, mainly because I’ve been busy doing other things:

I’ve developed and successfully launched a new website for my Tramping Club, using Drupal – which I’ve now found is really awesome for community type sites like that btw.

I’ve switched to Crunchbang (Cruncheee) on my EeePC, which I really like. I intend to review it at some point, but I’m not sure when I’ll get round to it.

Also, this week has been the first week of uni, so I’m going to be busier from now on. I’ll still try and post as much as I can, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to write any long articles.

That’s about it. I should probably mention a bit of site news too:

I was just listending to Linux Outlaws 80 and they mentioned this whole drop IE6 thing, which I’m really in favour of! This site has now officially dropped IE6 thanks to the Shockingly Big IE6 Warning plugin for wordpress.

Also LO mentioned the email I sent them re Wikia search (yay!!!). Thanks Dan and Fab (if you ever read this!).

Screen switching on the EeePC

I spend a lot of time working on my EeePC 901 using it’s external monitor support, it’s great, I have this little netbook, but when I plug it in to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse it pretty much turns into a desktop PC. The only drawback I’ve found so far is that there was no way to switch between the monitors in Ubuntu without going through the Screen Resolution configuration dialog. That was until I decided it had annoyed me for long enough and got Googling.

I found this page, which documents the Xrandr, which can be used to configure monitors and screen resolutions from the command line. Some of the code snippets on the page got me into writing a script, which could toggle between the displays and be assigned to a hot key. I also added a mode to switch back to the laptop screen when there is not external screen (just in case my external monitor dies as happened in the power cut the other day!). Continue reading

PXE netinstalling for simpletons

Since posting this article I have found a much easier way to do this. This article is still great background information and goes into more detail if you want to take this further, but you should consider reading my new article.

Well, I promised something technical and here it is. It’s turned into a bit of a mammoth post, but the end result is pretty cool!

The idea of being able to install your favourite Linux distro over the network and so do away with burning CD’s (which ultimately get used once and then thrown away) is tantalizing. Not to mention the serious geek points for anyone who has a boot server on their network.

I started out using this article as a reference, as the process seemed relatively simple. However, I soon found out that this article wasn’t strictly accurate and didn’t explain some things too brilliantly! So I decided to see if I could do better.

The following is my account of setting up my own boot server on a spare box I had lying around (though you can just as easily do it on your main computer). I started from a base install of Ubuntu Server 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) which I installed in the normal way (i.e. from a CD). Continue reading