Re: Getting people into Linux

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Les Mikesell wrote:
On Fri, 2007-01-05 at 09:51 -0700, Phil Meyer wrote:

What I've always wanted - and have been too lazy to work on myself - is
a method where any number of systems could be easily configured to
track the changes in any other system with a publish/subscribe scheme.

You can get that by booting a live CD at some expense in runtime speed.
What I'm looking for is that same convenience without the disadvantages
of having to create custom builds and updates to the CD image.  I think
this could happen with a system that effectively turned any working
system into a distribution master.

Have you seen the pungi project? Its getting real close to automated 'roll your own distro'.

Since FC6 installs are based upon yum, this touches much of what you want to do.

For example:

One of the projects I work on deals with embedding Linux (FC6 by my choice) on small mini-itx based systems. These generally boot from Compact flash.

There are two methods that we are working up.

method one:

Mirror the FC6 archives for core, updates, extras.
Freeze the archives (stop updating) at release of product.
All new installs turn out exact duplicates of the released product because the updates are frozen.

Another copy of the archives is allowed to advance.
Install from the advancing archives on all developer and test systems.
Freeze this archive at next release.
Rinse, repeat.

It takes about 7-9GB per release. :(  But space is cheap now days.

Now add pungi to the mix for Method Two.

Using the same set of archives and pungi, I can produce an install CD containing just the packages to be installed on the systems. That CD does not take up 7GB, is portable, and easily reproducible -- think thumb drive. Drop a custom kickstart file on that CD/drive and any monkey can install one of our custom systems, anywhere, any time.

Now for the tail end:

We will maintain a 'special' yum archive for our applications.
Our production systems check only that repository every day for updates.

For major version releases (FC6 to FC7) a tech will replace the CF card.

This is basically the 'hard way', but with tools like pungi, kadischi, yam, and others, we are getting very nearly to very good place with all this.

Our 'next step' is to make the root and boot file systems on those cards work like live CDs and are therefore non volatile, while the data partition on the same CF card is writable. Not quite there yet.

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