Motherboard for diskless Linux systems

Motherboard for diskless Linux systems

Post by bob » Thu, 05 Mar 1998 04:00:00

I'm trying to set up some diskless linux systems.  These systems would
mainly be running a web browser (probably Netscape) and eventually might
run WordPerfect Office or Applixware.  I'd like to find a system that is
small (physically) and hopefully inexpensive (this is for a non-profit
org).  My first thought was to find a good all-in-one motherboard and
build up the systems.  I tried the Asus SP97V, but I can't get the
builtin SIS 5598 video chipset to work worth a darn with XFree.

My question is, does anyone know of a good all-in-one motherboard that
will work well with Linux and XFree86?  Or any small, inexpensive
prebuilt systems I could use as diskless Linux boxes?

As an alternative, does anyone know of any inexpensive X-Terminals??   I
suppose I could beef up the Linux server a bit and run everything off of
X-Terminals.  I kind of liked the idea of having local processing power
with the diskless systems, but I'm flexible.


1. Diskless Linux X-Terminal (Was: Re: Diskless Linux machines)

We are using floppy-only machine as X-terminal here.

Configuration is:
  386SX 25 MHz, 4MB RAM, NE2000 Ethernet, 1.2M Floppy, mono-VGA, 1 COM-port
  no hard-drive, no co-processor; (approx. price $400 new)
  Kernel 1.0.8, XFree 2.1

All you need is to boot from floppy, NFS-mount /usr and /lib directories
and start X over nfs. Then you can rlogin (or telnet) to another machine,
setup DISPLAY, and start window manager there.

For making the boot diskette you can use basic Slackware distribution.
You should rebuild the kernel without any kind of unnecessary support (like
harddrive, SCSI, SLIP and so on). After that you can take Slackware's "boot
disk", put new kernel there, copy network configuration files from /etc.
After copying the kernel don't forget to change RAMDISK size to 0 with
rdev and run lilo.  For networking you need route, ifconfig, rpc.portmap,
mount, rlogin (or telnet).  You should edit /etc/rc.d/inet* scripts and
put "mount ..." for /usr and /lib in you rc.local file.

Kernel+sh+X+rlogin will run in 4Meg RAM, so you don't need swap.
X-server performance is really decent.


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