As noted earlier, I've been using Knoppix to get a pair of Linux boxes up and running for my father. Both sit on a private LAN (along with his notebook and a Deskjet color printer) via an old Netgear RP114 broadband router connected to the cable modem.
He uses a "Leave it to Beaver" theme for his machines. They are:
- ABit BP6 Motherboard with dual 500MHz Celeron (PII) CPUs
- 512MB PC100 RAM
- 80GB Disk
- Soundblaster Live
- 17" HP LCD Monitor
- Generic keyboard and mouse
- Pentium 4 1.8GHz CPU
- 512MB PC2700 RAM
- 2 250GB Disks in a Software RAID-1 configuration
- Integrated i810 audio
- 17" HP LCD Monitor
- Generic keyboard and mouse
The goal was to configure both machines with a usable desktop so he could learn Linux. June will be the play system. If it gets messed up, no big deal. Ward will be the server that runs Samba and can store a bunch of the files that are also on his Thinkpad T40.
To make life easy, I turned to Knoppix 3.6 to get things started. It detected everything flawlessly, so I just had to partition each system (and configure the software RAID on Ward--that's a separate exercise) and then install Knoppix. I selected the "beginner" install, which gives you a multi-user Debian system while still retaining the fancy hardware auto-detection that Knoppix is famous for.
Once Knoppix was installed (2.6.7 kernal and all), the remaining task was to do a bit of post-installation customization and setup.
I made a checklist that contained all of the things I needed to test, install, configure, or otherwise tweak. Here's the short version, partly for my records, and partly for the benefit of anyone else trying to do something similar.
Static IP addresses. I had to add a "nodhcp" parameter to the kernel at boot time. That involved editing /etc/lilo.conf and tacking that on to the end of the "append lines" for each kernel:
append="ramdisk_size=100000 init=/etc/init lang=us apm=power-off nomce nodhcp"
Then I ran /sbin/lilo to re-install the boot loader and rebooted to verify that it worked. Then I added a few lines to /etc/network/interfaces so that each machine got an address on his
129 192.168.2.0 network:
auto lo eth1 iface lo inet loopback iface eth1 inet static address 192.168.2.2 netmask 255.255.0.0 network 192.168.2.0 gateway 192.168.2.1
DNS. I edited /etc/resolv.conf so that it'd search the zawodny.com domain using his router as the first DNS server, and one of my coloated servers as the fallback:
search zawodny.com nameserver 192.168.2.1 nameserver 188.8.131.52
Update Packages. I next upgraded all the packages on the system. Luckily this is Debian, so it's easy with the magic of apt-get:
apt-get update apt-get -dyu dist-upgrade (marvel at the 500+ packages downloaded) apt-get dist-upgrade (answer occasional questions)
Firefox and Thunderbird. I needed to make sure he had the latest and greatest in the Mozilla world. Again, apt-get to the rescue:
apt-get install mozilla-thunderbird mozilla-firefox
That even added 'em to the KDE menu. :-)
Printer Setup. Both machines need to be able to print documents on the HP Deskjet 862C. Luckily, I could just use the printer config tool in the KDE Control Center to do that. It's a nice little front end to CUPS that made the process as easy as it would be on Windows (or easier?).
Numlock. For reasons that elude me, he wants the Numlock key enabled by default. Though the BIOS has this set already, something in Linux undoes that during the boot process. But the KDE Control Center makes that trivial again. The Keyboard config tool lets you adjust that as well as the key repeat delay, rate, etc.
sudo. We both need root access without having to type the root password. I used the visudo command to add two lines to /etc/sudoers:
jzawodn ALL=(ALL) ALL dzawodny ALL=(ALL) ALL
Clock Syncronization. The two systems didn't quite agree on time, so I manually set each using rdate and hwclock and then installed the ntp-simple package to handle keeping it in line:
rdate -s woody.wcnet.org hwclock --systohw apt-get install ntp-simple
Of course, the ntp-simple package is pre-configured to talk to a reasonable set of outside NTP servers.
SSH. For remote access, I needed to have sshd start at boot time. The cable router was already configured to forward traffic to TCP port 22 from the outside to Ward. That simple required a few symlinks from /etc/rcX.d/S20 to /etc/init.d/ssh.
Samba. The default /etc/samba/smb.conf file in Knoppix was nearly perfect for allowing home directories to be shared. I had to tweak two lines, changing a "no" to "yes" and vice-versa:
browseable = yes read only = no
Then I used smbpasswd to generate passwords for both of us:
smbpasswd dzawodny smbpasswd jzawodn
Finally, we used with XP notebook to visit \\ward.zawodny.com and \\june.zawodny.com to make sure he could map a drive to each.
Exim. I haven't done this yet, but I plan to get Exim4 running so that it can use the zawodny.com mail relay to send mail when necessary. It will use the existing TLS authentication which allows relaying for otherwise "unknown" hosts.
Posted by jzawodn at December 28, 2004 09:56 PM