I'm deploying a few hundred laptops next year. I want them to be dual boot machines, and have the windows side of things worked out using sysprep. For the second OS I want to use Ubuntu, but am uncertain how best to configure this. I can load a disk-image easily onto the disk, but when it boots, how would I best give the machine a unique name, generate the user (or join to the AD)? What are the tools/resources Ubuntu/Linux uses for this?

EDIT: I should have added: the disks will be cloned using ghost. After this, the machines will not be connected to a wired network - they will be completely wireless. I guess I could potentially pxe install linux after the ghost clone, but it would be quicker and easier just to do one imaging run. Any suggestions? I'm conjuring up some first-boot type scripts, but was wondering if there were any enterprise solutions.


As ubuntu is debian based, you should be able to use FAI for installation.

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    +1 for FAI. If you need to admin them later as well, I would integrate it with CFengine. That's how we deploy and admin our linux servers, it's truly hands off. – natxo asenjo Oct 20 '10 at 7:35
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    @natxo: +1 for CFengine :) – Janne Pikkarainen Oct 20 '10 at 9:54
  • I find that puppet is easier to use than CFEngine, probably not as flexible / powerfull though. – Guillaume Oct 21 '10 at 6:58

A PXE deployment server where the configuration file is generated by a web script. The web server can pick up the IP address of the machine, or the DHCP server can add a query string or path info to the URL for the configuration file.

At least, that's how I'd do it if I knew any of the details with regards to Ubuntu.


Regarding imaging, there's no reason you couldn't handle that the same way. Simply load a small image via PXE that will copy the full image to the hard drive and then make the necessary modifications to the configuration.

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If you download Ubuntu alternative install version, you choose a option o says "Install on OEM machine" or something which allows you to configure the machine one time ( as the user problem simply set the user to be seted (when the machine first starts the user sets the user ) and set a FAI script, this is the same a using a FAI sripts for itself, but is just easier to set.

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