Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sidebar in a Laptop PC Recovery Task: FAI for Net-Install

In working with my "Newer laptop" with its unbootale (damaged) internal hard drive, usable Linux partition on-disk, but unbootable (damaged) MS Windows 7 partition -- the hard reboots that the laptop has made, especially under Windows 7, when overheating, in the filesystem damange on the MS Windows partition as resulting from the hard reboots, those have really impacted the laptop's usability, candidly --  I've tried using System Rescue CD, namely in the TestDisk utility installed on the same. In short, that wasn't enough to make the internal hard drive mechanically "Bootable," again. I've also tried using the same SystemRescueCD -- in this instance, successfully -- more or less to "boot" the Linux partition from on the internal hard disk, using SystemRescueCD booted from external DVD.

Today, I've noticed that it's not so much "Booting the partition," but rather that the System Rescue CD is running a chroot environment, via the SystemRescueCD's own Linux kernel and broader OS. Though that's fine for some qualities of using that Linux partition, but it may not enough for some features of the laptop's nominal usage case, such as: 

  1. Running an X.org session using the non-DFSG-compliant NVidia kernel  modules installed on the partition. Those are  not installed in the SystemRescueCD, and of course, the modules are not  successfully loaded under the chroot implemented by the SystemRescueCD's kernel. Consequently, I'm "Stuck with" the Nouveau driver for X.org and its grand 680x400 screen resolution on my Laptop's NVidia card (chipset GT218/NVA8)
  2. Ensuring that a block device is created under the chroot /dev/ partition, when any new USB flash media device is attached to the PC. I've had to run 'mknod' manually for that purpose, to create an 'sdb' device sufficient to back up my thumb drive's filesystem -- in the latter, using 'dd' -- ostensibly, previous to making a convenient "Boot partition device" out of the thumb drive,
  3. Audio configuration. Granted, my laptop has not demonstrated a great amount of success, at that, even when it could boot directly from partitions on the internal hard disk drive.
  4. "Etc."
So, in order to ensure that that laptop is bootable, even with its damaged internal hard drive, moreover that it would be booted from a kernel and OS  such as I would be able to update, "on the fly" (as is not possible, when booting from an optical storage disk) I'm looking at a possibility of installing a Debian Linux OS onto my thumb drive.

Though it is a bit of a sidebar in regards to that task, specifically, I've found something called FAI, the Fully Automatic Installation system. FAI is essentially a framework for network-managed OS installation. It could be used as an alternative to the BeagleBone Black "Flash microSD" approach, for installing an OS onto a BeagleBone Black. A Linux installations via FAI would need that there would be an FAI server, such that must be available on the local network, in addition to that the install client would need to boot from an FAI install client image. It could be great for managing a network of, if not a cluster of single-board computers. Of course, the latter should be either "flash upgraded", for intsalling the FAI client disk on the on-board storage (cf. BeagleBone Black) or booted from external media containing the FAI client image, in order for an FAI managed installation to proceed. So, of course, it would not be an "automatic installation,"  in that much – an FAI client disk image must be available to the installation client.

I simply wanted to note that, here, before continuing a search for any sort of single-node management tool for creating a USB boot disk. 

In an alternate reality, perhaps I would be able to begin designing, presently, a novel kernel build and kernel distribution platform for the contemporary local network, however in "This universe," I seem to have chosen, unwittingly, to live in an absurdly liberal area in California. In a year's time, the area has become even more grossly so. In every experience I have had with "society," in the local county and throughout the broader north half of the state, it reminds me of the cautions of unhinged liberal agendas, at best, or "The end of days," very soon.  It is an area that I shall leave, indefinitely. I cannot imagine any more likely outcome, except that I leave. The patently, moronically asinine theatrics of an unhinged liberal community, it is "Too much," after a time.