[Linux-aus] knoppix + redwall = ???

Michael Eilon mgeilon at cyllene.uwa.edu.au
Thu Nov 2 21:10:03 UTC 2006

HI all,

my first post to this list!  I've been a lurker all this time :-)


I'm looking for advice regarding a suitable Linux distro:

it needs to be one of the Linux "live" distros (Knoppix, etc) which run off
a CD and don't need a HD.

But I need a variant in which I can customise the user interface... I don't
want to have to set the web browser proxies and the default printer every
time I boot into it.

After much searching for Knoppix-like "live" distros, I found Redwall
Firewall, which does the trick by saving all config files to floppy disk or
USB flash drive.

Very neat... but it's not suited to the teaching computer lab environment I
have in mind (it's designed for use on a server as a firewall, and has a
CLI only).



I need something to run on the many "dead" (read: dead HD, but otherwise
OK) PCs in our teaching computer labs.  With a suitable distro, I could
resurrect the PCs at minimal cost, and expose the kiddies to Linux.

But I can't just use Knoppix, because every time it starts up, I have to do
things like: set the proxy in web browser(s); configure lab printer for
OpenOffice; create desktop icons for apps; create desktop document with IT
regs, etc.

These are trivial to do once, but I can't always be on hand to perform them
whenever a PC reboots (if I have 10-15 of these Linux PCs per lab...)

It'd be great to have these tasks automated: every time the PC boots,
Knoppix runs and looks for a floppy/USB drive with a config file on it
(like Redwall Firewall does), then configures the GUI (KDE or whatever)
with the required changes.


Is there a way of doing this with Knoppix?  Haven't found anything to date
(but could be looking in the wrong place).

Are there distros that allow for this sort of thing?

Such "diskless" Linux workstations would be ideal: I can keep PC numbers
up, but with minimal maintenance (any problems -> hit reset and walk away).

But I don't know how to do it!  Any/all suggestions or pointers gratefully

Thanks and cheers,

Michael Eilon
Assistant computer manager
School of Physics
The University of Western Australia

<mgeilon at cyllene.uwa.edu.au>

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