Howto install Linux Mint 9 clients with the software distribution system m23
m23 is a free software distribution system licensed under the GPL that installs and administrates clients with Linux Mint 9, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Debian. All administration with m23 is done in a web interface and there are only three steps to create a new m23 client. The integration of existing Debian-based clients is possible, too. Group functions and mass tools make managing a vast number of clients comfortable. Client backup and server backup software are included to avoid data loss. With the integrated virtualisation solution, m23 can create and manage virtual m23 clients that are run on the real m23 server and/or the m23 clients. Scripts and software packages (for installation on the clients) are created directly from the m23 webinterface.
But enough of the introduction! Let's start with the m23 server and client installation now.
First you need to install the m23 server, which needs access to the internet (for a standard client installation). The m23 server stores information about all your m23 clients, caches software packages, provides the web GUI etc.. There is an ISO file for burning the m23 server installation CD or for using it in a virtualisation software like VirtualBox. Debian packages for installing m23 on an existing Debian server and a preinstalled virtual machine are available too. All this can be downloaded from the download section on the m23 project page. The "Installation guide" describes the details of the installation for all types.
After installing the m23 server, you need at least one additional computer (as m23 client). This can be a real or a virtual machine. As the m23 clients are booting via PXE (booting via CD and floppy disk are possible, too) you must know their MAC addresses.
Open the IP of the m23 server as URL in a webbrowser and log in. First you need to add the client by clicking "Clients" -> "Add" in the webinterface. There you enter your settings for the new m23 client and of course the MAC address. If you don't know what to enter in a specific field, this is no problem, because there is the online help on the bottom of every page.
Adding a new m23 client
Now start your m23 client and let it boot via PXE. Gathered hardware information is available in the server's web interface after booting and your m23 client is ready for partitioning and formating. Go to "Clients" -> "Setup" and click on "Setup" in the line of your client. Then you can adjust the harddisk of your client. If your m23 client is a virtual machine or you don't care about the data on the harddisk, you can select "Automatic partitioning" under "Partition scheme" and click on "Execute scheme". This will destroy the data and partitions on the harddisk and create two new partitions (one for the operating system and data and one for swapping). But you can always change the partitioning before clicking on "Finalise the partitioning and formating and choose the distribution". Click on the "Finalise ..." when you are satisfied.
Automatic partitioning and formating in action
Now it's time to choose your distribution. At the moment there are Linux Mint 9, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu (all in version 10.04 Lucid Lynx LTS) and Debian. For Linux Mint 9 you choose "Linux Mint 9 KDE" from the list "Package sources" and click on "Select". In the "User interface" list you choose "MintKDE". Don't be surprised when you find the word "Ubuntu" here, because Linux Mint 9 is based on Ubuntu Lucid.
Choosing the client's distribution
After some time the client is installed and will reboot. You will see the well-known login dialog where you enter the username and password you entered at the client add dialog.
There are many more topics and things to know about m23 which cannot be treated in this article. On the m23 project page you will find a forum for reporting bugs and asking questions, the m23 newsletter, manuals, source codes, videos, screenshots and a lot more.
Tags: software distribution management deployment administration virtualisation virtualization installation client server backup
Created: 2 years ago.
Last edited: 2 years ago.
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