KDE kiosks which boot via PXE always with certain settings?

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fossicker
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KDE kiosks which boot via PXE always with certain settings?

Post#1 by fossicker » 27 Jun 2015, 22:46

I looked all through the forums but haven't been able to grok how to do exactly what I need, which is to create a PXE server that will boot PXE clients into permanently customized Porteus with KDE.

A library has 6 patron computers in vlan 192.168.2.0/24 obtaining DHCP, NAT and firewalling from pfSense.
DHCP scope is 192.168.2.50 - 254. A single DHCP reservation always gives the same IP address 192.168.2.5
to a Dell Optiplex 790 (the "server") and the scope gives out options TFTP and Network Book = 192.168.2.5.
I have Porteus KDE desktop with Libre Office, Firefox, printing, installed on the OptiPlex hard disk.
When the Optiplex is booted into PXE server mode, the six patron computers successfully boot the Porteus desktop via PXE.
The Optiplex will live in a rack and will not be used by patrons.

I have half a mind to remove the hard drives from the PXE client patron computers.

I like the boot-from-network option and don't necessarily want to purchase a bunch of USB thumb drives and super-glue them into the patron computers.
How do I get the Optiplex to always boot into PXE Server mode?
Is the Copy to Ram option worth pursuing, if so how to I tell the PXE clients to copy to RAM?

How do I make changes to the desktop environment that shall be persistent forever more when PXE clients boot?
And PXE clients booted into the Porteus Desktop must not be able to make permanent changes locally or saved to the PXE server?
I've played with Porteus Settings and have made adjustments and saved to module (I tried a file also) and adjusted porteus.cfg but after adjusting porteus.cfg the PXE clients won't boot (can't access the save file).
Here are the changes I need to persist for the patron computers:

Libre Office icons, Skype, Paint and mplayer on the desktop. Firefox icon on the desktop set to the library's home page.
(I don't mind that DuckDuck go is the configured search engine, it will remain.)
There is a networked printer that I can easily get working in Print Settings and I adjust the comment fields to something like "Upstairs printer, please pay 20 cents per page at the Circ desk."

Right now I've got the patron computers booting via PXE into Porteus Firefox kiosks, using pfSense to deliver the TFTP and Network Boot options to clients. tftpd is running on a Windows server to deliver the PXE boot files, and Abyss Web Server running on the same server to deliver the rest of the boot over http. Works great, but the head librarian wants a more comprehensive desktop environment.

How do I get a PXE server to deliver a permanently customized Porteus KDE desktop environment just like is currently happening with Porteus Kiosk? I know PXE desktop is served up via NFS, not http.

Help is appreciated. Stepwise, please.

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fanthom
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Re: KDE kiosks which boot via PXE always with certain settin

Post#2 by fanthom » 28 Jun 2015, 08:39

hello fossicker,

"How do I get the Optiplex to always boot into PXE Server mode?"
edit porteus.cfg and set 'PXE boot' as default for booting. you may also disable 10 secs countdown.
if you want to get rid of all other booting options then sample config is here:
http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/Config

"Is the Copy to Ram option worth pursuing, if so how to I tell the PXE clients to copy to RAM?"
boot porteus then edit (cant remember exac path) /srv/pxe/boot/pxelinux.cfg/default and add 'copy2ram' cheatcode to default entry for booting

"How do I make changes to the desktop environment that shall be persistent forever more when PXE clients boot?"
a) boot KDE desktop in normal mode (not PXE enabled)
b) set it up as you like
c) create module from /home/guest
d) add the module to /porteus/modules folder
e) boot porteus and check if everything is working
f) if yes then choose 'pxe boot' option and check if clients get the same configuration

"And PXE clients booted into the Porteus Desktop must not be able to make permanent changes locally or saved to the PXE server?"
this is default so no need to change anything. users will be able to tweak desktop settings but every PC restart will bring defaults.

"I've played with Porteus Settings and have made adjustments and saved to module (I tried a file also) and adjusted porteus.cfg but after adjusting porteus.cfg the PXE clients won't boot (can't access the save file)."
do not use save.dat - use module created from /homer/guest

i think kiosk is better suitable for such task as has proper locking: users cant tinker with any desktop, system or even application settings (firefox/chrome). kiosk could be extended with LibreOffice, Skype, Paint or any other application.

please have a look on the demo: http://porteus-kiosk.org/download.html#demo
and contact me if you are interested with such custom build.

thank you.
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

fossicker
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Re: KDE kiosks which boot via PXE always with certain settin

Post#3 by fossicker » 29 Jun 2015, 22:09

Perfect, many thanks.

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