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How to set up a Puppy Linux Cybercafe
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 9255
Location: Stratford, Ontario

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar 2009, 12:43    Post_subject:  

If I may, here a few thoughts:

From my experience, a frugal install will only work if the pup_save file is writable. You can demonstrate this by making a Live CD that has the pup_save on it.

In a cybercafe setup, the simplest arrangement will have a working pup_save in place for each machine, configured for its hardware.

The problem then is how to keep the pup_save from being altered, or how to start with a pristine pup_save at bootup.

Here is a possible strategy:

1. Install FreeDOS on the hard drive.
2. From the Live CD, do a frugal install and create a pup_save that has the necessary hardware settings.
3. Make a backup copy of the pup_save on the hard drive.
4. Create an autoexec.bat file with two jobs at bootup:
a. Restore the pup_save file from the backup copy
b. Boot Puppy using linld or grub.exe

As long as all the mounting tools are removed from the desktop, the system should be fairly bullet-proof.
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar 2009, 19:24    Post_subject:  

Hi all, thanks for your advice. This is the first time Ive been able to log onto the forum all day, as it has just not been responding Evil or Very Mad Thank you for the links Aitch I will read up on them now.

On the whole, its been another unproductive day. Ive installed FreeNAS on my laptop, and managed to set it up with various samba shares (boy....FreeBSD is another world!) I connected it by ethernet to the hub upstairs and upload the initrd.gz and vmlinuz files out via tftp, and tried to boot another laptop that I have in for repair (no hard drive) via PXE off it, no luck, just a message about PXE timing out. It obviously cant "see" the tftp server on the FreeNAS. I even lugged my desktop machine upstairs as a double check, and set it up on the floor connected with ethernet and the same thing happened.

TFTP has only just been implemented on FreeNAS in the very latest release....I really think it is untested and broken...I could be wrong, but thats how it seems. In any case, FreeNAS is an excellent project and Im glad that I learned about it, just for the knowledge that you can use an old laptop with a broken screen to bittorrent (via transmission) all night on minimal power, then stream the content off their onto an xbox360 or PS2 using "Universal Plug and Play" or UPnP (this should be a proprietary windoze thing).

Im going to go back to the smoothwall setup described above (without the hub), Im not sure how it will work but its worth a shot. The tftp server on there seems to be more mature. In the documentation for puppy linux, its been reported that some success has been had using ubuntu to boot the puppy machines from. I would rather steer well clear of Ubuntu if possible because Ive found it to be extremely unreliable. The other way I could test things is using Virtual Machines.....but that isnt a really true test....as I will eventually be using real ones Wink

@rcrsn51

Thanks for the idea. I would rather not have to use a pup_save.2fs file for the moment, or any form of storage on the client machines...for three reasons.

1. Puppy linux *should* be able to perform the majority of tasks by the majority of "linux newbs" simply from liveboot...if it doesnt then weve discovered where we can improve puppy linux!

2. This is also for security considerations, as it would be possible for people to leave passwords and such stored in them, and also any other kind of "material" that passers by would leave behind. Embarassed

3. Hard disks have moving parts and are prone to failure before any other component of the p.c. SSD disks are much more reliable, but expensive The cost of replacing all of the hard drives in all of the machines would be prohibitive. Better the whole cybercafe be run off a single SSD RAID array in a server for maximum reliability.

The cafe does have a regular clientèle from the local area however, there is nothing to say that they couldnt use their own pendrive to store a personalised pup_save.2fs file. They would just have to insert it before booting the computers for it to be picked up...I think Im correct in thinking this?

@ Dougal

I would be very interested in your autoconfiguring xorgwizard, does it just autoconfigure the mouse or attempt the whole x-settings? Even if it just did the mouse it would be an improvement. Have you published it? do you have a link?

Remember, this is not just a "normal" cybercafe, it has people from all over the world visiting it. An ability to (easily) choose the keyboard layout for the users native country would be a great feature to have here, and while I agree that "normally" the screen resolution would be preconfigured, an ability to adjust that before the session starts to the users preference would not exactly be a drawback as such.....if that facility was to be relatively user friendly.

The staff at the cybercafe indicated that they have a great deal of support for the aims and objectives of the Puppy Linux project (Green technology, recycling, "free" software etc), and I have explained to them they may have some initial problems while we get the exact setup sorted out. Whatever Puppy Linux's downfalls at present they will be nothing compared to the trouble of having to keep so may Windows machines quasi-operational. Its a "Win Win", unless your surname happens to be Gates or Balmer that is

I do expect that there is a possibility that some machines may not "autoconfigure" their settings. Puppy has a great facility of "remembering" the xorg settings for different machines. This is so that if a user is using LiveCD or USB installation on a few different machines regularly, puppy "remembers" the settings for each graphic card/monitor combination, and the next time it boots it recalls them and displays how it was last (manually) set up.

If there is a "problem machine" then it would be a relatively simple task of configuring the problem machine manually, and then taking those settings (the xorg.conf) and manually adding them to the pup_420.sfs held on the netboot server (this can be done online without a visit by me remember). That way, when puppy boots on that machine, the settings for it are already automatically programmed in. Im assuming this is possible Rolling Eyes

Thanks again for all of your suggestions and support.

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar 2009, 19:54    Post_subject: tftp  

@Robert (ecomoney): I wanted to reply to your freeNAS query last night, but I've not had the time to test TFTP in freeNAS. [I will be tied up whole day today, so can't test it still. But yesterday I found out that freeNAS has PHP and lighttpd, and it serves dokuwiki well. The webserver is useful if you want to serve a how-to for users (which you can continually update remotely, as it is part of freeNAS)].

For the readers, PXE booting only requires that you set the PC's BIOS to boot from network, restart, and that's it.

The more complex setup involves the TFTP server, for which you can use:
- Windows - any version from Win98 up, just unzip the file linked to, add vmlinuz and humongous initrd.gz, edit the pxelinux.cfg and you're there!
For more discussion, see http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=23615
- Puppy - use magiczauru's tftp build;
- any other distro/system with TFTP (freeNAS is one example).

IMHO, the easiest way to test TFTP/PXE boot is to use the Windows pxe package. It is the easiest way to get started. Even if you dislike Win$, take comfort that a very honorable man wrote that free PXE package, Philip Jounin.

After TFTP success in Windows, then you can test other servers and begin to trouble-shoot.

It's one step at a time, folks. First see TFTP at work, and then explore alternative ways of serving it.

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MagicZaurus

Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar 2009, 22:13    Post_subject:  

Hi ecomoney!

Some tips on how PXE booting works. Maybe that helps you how the whole story works.

1) The client PC network card is set to PXE boot and at system start the network card firmware makes a special DHCP request for an IP and the IP/location of the TFTP server.

2) The DHCP server replies to the client with an IP and the IP/location of the TFTP server. So it is important that the DHCP server is configured to provide the required informations for PXE booting. In Smoothwall there seems to be a configuration page for the DHCP server where you need to activate 'Netbooting' and set the IP and Path of the TFTP server.

3) The client PC network card uses the information from the DHCP server and contacts the TFTP server to get the file 'pxelinux' which is like a bootloader. This bootloader checks the pxelinux.cfg file on the TFTP server to get informations about which kernel, ramdisk and boot options to load. Then it loads the vmlinuz and initrdgz from the TFTP server and hands over to the vmlinuz.

So your first step is to configure your DHCP server correct. After that the TFTP server and pxelinux.cfg.

Maybe you can try it first like raffy mentioned with a Windows box or my dnsmasq-package on a Puppy box. I'm using dnsmasq, because that includes DHCP and TFTP server and so it's easy to configure.

Good luck!
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sat 14 Mar 2009, 14:55    Post_subject: inetd  

Thanks, MZ, I've also observed that dhcp and tftp indeed go together.

In the case of freeNAS, its forum says that inetd is needed, see:
http://apps.sourceforge.net/phpbb/freenas/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=417&st=0

inetd example for BSD is given here: here:http://www.netbsd.org/docs/network/netboot/tftpd.html

Alas, I did not see inetd.conf in /etc. Anyone familiar with inetd?

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sat 14 Mar 2009, 15:25    Post_subject:  

Success!!!!!

Kind of.....

Using some pretty unorthodox wiring techniques, a pair of sissors, copious amounts of insulation tape, this diagram and a lot of head scratching, I managed to make up a crossover cable from a recycled patch lead. I used this to join my desktop pc directly to the smoothwall server's GREEN interface (the network card that will be on the inside of the cybercafe, as opposed to RED which will be attached to the ethernet modem). This meant I could test the setup without needing a network hub, which would have done all of the crossover stuff for me. The results wernt pretty, but they worked.

I could then gain an i.p. address using the network wizard from the puppy linux 4.2 desktop!

Using the instruction for the tftp smoothwall mod here I managed to transfer the modfile to the smoothwall box and run the installation routine, which worked well. I have done this a few times before with other mods back in the days of the Riddings drop in cybercafe. SCP and SSH are certainly more things Im going to have to know more about....I havent had to rely on the command line in quite some time.

This set up the /home/tftpboot folder on the smoothwall box, and installed the tftp server. The GREEN interface on the smoothwall box already has a DHCP server attached which works by default. I configured the smoothwall via the gui with a "boot server" i.p. of 192.168.0.1 as explained in the graphic on the smoothwall forum, via "https://smoothwall:441". Time to give it a try...

Ive had to use yourfilehost for the image, as our website is down for a server change at the mo....pesky windows viruses!

http://www.yourfilehost.com/media.php?cat=image&file=pxe_error.jpg

As show above, the pxe booter in the connected (host) computer manages (I think) to discover that there is a pxe/netboot server in the area, but is unable to transfer the required puppy files to itself to bootup, and so times out.

I would be very grateful if someone with a bit more experience analyse the file linked below. Ive replaced the initrd.gz file to boot puppy because its 55mb (it has pup_412.sfs included), and replaced that with a text file of the same name. I think Ive probably got paths wrong in the pxelinux.cfg file or something stupid.

Many thanks for your replies and advice...like I say I would like to get tftp booting from a FreeNAS box working for our recycling "workshop", as it would mean that we could boot machines, reformat, and install puppy without needing cd's which are slow and constantly fail. I could also advertise it to other cybercafes who could use it to boot puppy linux for a cybercafe type arrangement....it would simply plug into their existing hub.

@Raffy...I really have a HUGE aversion to Windows, I wouldnt even know how to install it nowadays. I get sweaty hands and hairs on the back of my neck just rebooting it to install puppy nowadays. Considering I seem to be getting somewhere with the Smoothwall tftp setup, I wish to keep trying for the time being. No reflection on P.J. Smile

@MZ Thank you for the more thorough and very easy to understand description of the boot process. I will have a few more attempts at understanding the process and maybe correctly configuring the smoothwall /home/tftpboot folder to serve out the files in light of the new knowledge you have given me. Perhaps I will also your package on my laptop I take to business/charities/peoples houses with me so I can boot their pc's and install puppy linux from it...something Ive had on my list of things to do for some time. This would allow me to extract and backup peoples mp3's/jpg's/.doc's etc before formatting their diseased computers and installing puppy. This has caused me a lot of time lost in the past, and should increase my productivity no end.

Ive sent an email to the seafarers missions. Their current site licience for windows expires at the end of April, so I must get something going before then. I have cleared my schedule (apart from the puppy linux introduction video) and will be working on it until I finally figure it out.

To everyone...THANK YOU for all your help and support. Its great to know I have the help of so many knowledgeable people.

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MagicZaurus

Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sat 14 Mar 2009, 16:27    Post_subject:  

Hi!

For me it seems that the DHCP part is working and the client also gets the info for the TFTP, but cannot connect to the TFTP.

Maybe it's a firewall problem. TFTP uses port 69. If this is blocked on the Smoothwall then it gives problems. For testing maybe you can disable the firewall on the Smoothwall.

Next do you have PXELINUX.0 in /home/tftpboot? This is what is loaded first by the network card.

Cheers

MZ
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sat 14 Mar 2009, 17:03    Post_subject:  

This is the results of doing a "ls -1s" while in the tftpboot directory

Code:
total 61966
    1 default.gz
    0 dir.txt
 3642 initrd
56077 initrd.gz
  641 linux.gz
    1 menu.txt.gz
   11 pxelinux.0.gz*
    1 pxelinux.cfg/
 1592 vmlinuz.gz


It seems there is a pxelinux.0.gz but this file is "gzipped", I will try extracting it and trying again. I will also log in and see about this port 69 to make sure it is "unblocked".

Trying now

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 03:05    Post_subject: files  

There are a number of files there, but make sure you map the correct files in the "default " file under pxelinux.cfg. Here is an example:
Code:
DEFAULT Puppy
PROMPT 0
NOESCAPE 0
ALLOWOPTIONS 0
TIMEOUT 100

MENU TITLE Puppy Network Booting!

# Puppy Linux Loader
LABEL Puppy
MENU Puppy Net-Booting
KERNEL vmlinuz
APPEND initrd=initrd.gz ramdisk_size=55000

EOF

It's just like a frugal install, except that there is no pup_412.sfs.

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Dougal


Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 2505
Location: Hell more grotesque than any medieval woodcut

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 07:33    Post_subject:  

ecomoney wrote:
An ability to (easily) choose the keyboard layout for the users native country would be a great feature to have here

xkbconfigmanager (in the mouse/keyboard wizard)

Quote:
Puppy has a great facility of "remembering" the xorg settings for different machines. This is so that if a user is using LiveCD or USB installation on a few different machines regularly, puppy "remembers" the settings for each graphic card/monitor combination, and the next time it boots it recalls them and displays how it was last (manually) set up.

That's the xorgwizard "profiling", which creates the /etc/X11/xorg.conf._some_long_name files.
What you could do is boot all those machines and configure Xorg, then just collect all those profiled xorg.conf files and put them inside the Puppy boot image you use for PXE.
The only problem with that would be when HW is changed (just video card and monitor), but you can always have the staff boot and go through the xorgwizard and then you can connect remotely, copy the new profiled xorg.conf and re-edit the boot image.

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 14:22    Post_subject: SUCCESSS!!!!!!  

Successs!!!! YES!!!!!!

After four full days of "hacking" Ive finally got it to work! Ive not felt this good since I got my first puppy computer to start up without a CD in!

Ive still got to go over the configuration a little, I am sure I have got a whole load more files in there than I need, but while it works Im loathe to try and improve it.

Raffy, thank you for the pxelinux.0 file, I placed it in /home/tftpboot/tftpconfig directory on the smoothwall and rebooted, but it failed to find the puppy boot files (that I had put in the same directory as it). When I moved these files (initrd.gz and vmlinuz) down a directory level from /home/tftpboot/tftpconfig to just /home/tftpboot/ thats when it got going. It comes up with a small message "Missing Parameter in config file" but it boots anyway, nothing to worry about.

I also found a setting on the tftp config page on the Smoothwall "Make active" that I had not ticked Embarassed

Im also going to see if I can change the Smoothwall tftp mod to make it so that it will boot puppy linux just by installing it. Its really about time I contributed something to another open source project, and I have used SmoothWall a lot so I feel the moral "need" to give something back. There seems to be a gzipped file structure as part of the bundle of files that come with the mod, so it should just be a matter of inserting the correct initrd.gz, vmlinux and pxelinux.0 into the mod files (which comes as a compressed .tgz file).

For this experiement I used the pre-compiled puppy 4.1.2 cutdown files I think Raffy put together. At the cybercafe I wish to use standard puppy 4.2, preferably with a graphical X-setup and locale selector if I beg someone to make it for us. This will mean me making a new "humungous initrd.gz" with the new pup_420.sfs file included in it. Im thinking I may have to change some other things to make it netboot, but I dont know what until I have the chance to read through the few instructions that are available.

I must really also spend some time on the 4.2 project now, as it seems to hold so much promise over previous puppy's. Ive completely missed testing RC2, and I see RC3 is out now. The more problems are fixed there now the less there will be to deal with when we get it installed in the cybercafe. Ive also got the script for the intro video to make.

Once again, many thanks for all of the help that everyone has given. There were times I thought I wouldnt even get this far.

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Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 14:50    Post_subject:  

Quote:
Im also going to see if I can change the Smoothwall tftp mod to make it so that it will boot puppy linux just by installing it. Its really about time I contributed something to another open source project, and I have used SmoothWall a lot so I feel the moral "need" to give something back. There seems to be a gzipped file structure as part of the bundle of files that come with the mod, so it should just be a matter of inserting the correct initrd.gz, vmlinux and pxelinux.0 into the mod files (which comes as a compressed .tgz file)


Perhaps a way you can help a great many, & provide a bit of forward assist, is to post your efforts/config files on the Smoothwall forum, as well as Puppy's?
That way even people who aren't particularly looking for 'PuppyPXE via Smoothwall' will find it,......
.... - 'It just works' is a compelling incentive to use, in my experience Wink

PS: Well Done! & Look forward to your 'How to PXE boot Puppy via Smoothwall' in the near future

Aitch Smile
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 17:51    Post_subject:  

Write it all up I will, I promise! Once I understand it all properly myself.

Im sure the puppy linux network boot mod will be very popular on the smoothwall forums.

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 18:44    Post_subject: great  

Great - congrats!

(However, please note that what I provided above is the "default " file under pxelinux.cfg, while pxelinux.0 is a binary file that is part of the Smoothwall TFTP package).

As to the Puppy Linux used for the experiment, Robert must be referring to this small, netboot-ready build of 4.1.2 by Wolf Pup. Both enigma and magiczaurus have been posting humongous initrd.gz at ftp://puppy:puppylinux@ftp.servage.net/ (see this forum thread). The PXE-ready build I did is here, and it is based on 2.13 (still great for Pentium 4 or older PCs).

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cthisbear

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 3453
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 20:32    Post_subject:  

" Im sure the puppy linux network boot mod will be very
popular on the smoothwall forums. "

Congrats mate.

Look after yourself..........Chris.
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