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Yeah, that´s my question. I want the computer only to have a power source and a network cable.

If so, can I install and configure everything from the network interface, or do I need to connect a monitor, etc. to configure everything and then I can unplug them?

Thanks! tell me if the question is unclear!


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I'm sure that the answer has to be yes, but I don't know enough about Ubuntu to tell you how. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 5 '10 at 1:32
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Usually this is done at high-volume installations (think, attaching and powering on a whole rack of servers at once) to automate installations. There is a wonderful tutorial which explains the details, but essentially you will need to ensure the network interface on the server is configured to pick up DHCP information and boot via PXE before the system is ready to perform the installation. There are a lot of other things which have to be configured on the network for this to work properly. Again, this is usually done on high-volume networks where this infrastructure is already in place specifically for this purpose.

Also note that you will need all of the answers to the questions the installer asks in advance. This isn't a process where the server loads the installer and you can SSH in to go through the usual interactive installation process. It's a fully unattended install (i.e. plug in the network, power on, and the server boots via PXE, mounts the installer and seeds itself with the answers needed to run an unattended install).

If it's just one server, I'd find a monitor, keyboard and mouse unless you're doing it for the experience. Once the initial install is finished, you can disconnect all of that and use it entirely over the network (assuming, as David mentioned, your system doesn't get upset if a keyboard isn't connected upon reboot; you can usually disable those warnings in the BIOS).

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Once you have a basic install up an running you can do everything over the network cable. The basic install could be an installation on a USB key or PXE as described above. I typically manage most of my ubuntu installations over ssh.

Doing verision upgrade over ssh is risky, but possible. If you end up with sshd not running and loose all your ssh connections you will likley need a keyboard and monitor. Otherwise, the ethernet cable is fine.

I don't think the default USB key installation includes running sshd, but the new releases allow persistent changes. You could install sshd on the key and then connect it to a system without a keyboard or display.

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It depends. If your computer has a built-in management card with KVM capacity, like an HP iLo or a Sun eLOM or a Dell DRAC, then the answer is quite probably yes -- assuming said management card is set up to be accessed over the network.

For more pedestrian computers, you'll likely have to connect a monitor and keyboard to it at a minimum to do the initial setup -- once the base OS is loaded and the networking configured, you can configure the computer to boot even if the keyboard is missing (a lot of boards stop with "No Keyboard, Press F1 To Continue" type errors) then take both the keyboard and monitor away and then use it over the network.

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HP iLO can install and run any CLI only OS completely over the iLO Management Interface. If it's got a graphical interface you need an iLO Advanced License; IIRC Sun and Dell's solutions are very similar. – Chris S Jun 5 '10 at 2:07

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