New To ubuntu But need lots of help

I was asked to help out in a small christian school with computers.  As it stands they are a mess.  I want to install ubuntu on them all.  I have a group of 9 that are all the same.  I have another group of 16 that are the same, and a 3 group of 18 that are all the same.

The groups should have different will all have different fixed user names (student, teacher,admin).  For the simpicity of it all I was going to use pcdiskclone to make the groups the same.  My problem how to make it where I can see each computer differently on the network.  not sure what to do at this point.  Each group should have the same software.  All the machines are on the network.

Looking for ideas of how to setup and install.  In windows it was easy.  In Ubuntu it is new and tougher.

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14 Responses

  1. Drew says:

    This procedure should be exactly what you need.

    You will have to manually install ubuntu with the individual network names.

  2. Greg says:

    These are good questions, but you’re just scratching the surface. I have 2 recommendations:

    1) Connect with your local Linux Users Group. Nothing like being able to talk, face to face, with folks about technical stuff.

    2) Start a thread at either the ubuntu or edebuntu forums on this topic – you will get very specific answers tp your questions.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Jon says:

    What exactly do you mean by “make it where I can see each computer differently on the network?”

    Not sure what pcdiskclone is.

    I have two suggestions for you. Handle users and groups by copying /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow, and /etc/group from one master machine to the others. It’s not very sophisticated but it does work. Obviously password changes and new accounts will have to take place on the master box.

    Look into making your own .deb meta package. It’s pretty simple. In that package you can include a list of dependencies for applications you want installed through apt. Then you can install them all with dpkg -i or by making your own repository and hosting the .deb there. I prefer the latter.

    Also, if people are going to be storing lots of their own files I recommend looking into NFS for the /home directory. You’ll probably want a big disk in one of the machines to hold all their data if you take that route.

  4. aethiolas says:

    Working in a department that has to deal with multiple computers of the same type in a lot of situations unfortunately I have not found a truly easy way of doing what you’re asking. Obviously I think that cloning is your best bet but afterward you will need to boot individually into each computer and rename the machine by hand. This is an extra step that I personally hate having to complete(400+ Dell Laptops to need to be renamed is not fun @ all). But its the best solution I’ve found so far. Good luck!

  5. Matt Kukowski says:

    Look into puppetd or puppet. It allows you to manage (easily) thousands of machines from a central machine.

    In other words, if you need to change something on ALL the servers, you do it from the master and the puppet computers follow what ever rules you set. uses puppet!

  6. Bob says:

    You may want to look @ Ghost for Linux

  7. Ken says:

    One word – systemimager

    This will do exactly what you need and it’s easy to set up and use.

  8. Bill Randle says:

    Are you familiar with WUBI? I’m kind of a newbie also, and I think this is great, it worked perfectly for me. The link to the site is
    I cut and pasted this from the site.
    Wubi is Simple

    No need to burn a CD. Just run the installer, enter a password for the new account, and click “Install”, go grab a coffee, and when you are back, Ubuntu will be ready for you.
    Wubi is Safe

    You keep Windows as it is, Wubi only adds an extra option to boot into Ubuntu. Wubi does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader, and does not install special drivers. It works just like any other application. Wubi is spyware and malware free, and being open source, anyone can verify that.
    Wubi is Discrete

    Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and if you do not like it, you can simply uninstall it as any other application.
    Wubi is Free

    Wubi and Ubuntu cost absolutely nothing (free as in beer), but yet provide a state of the art, fully functional, operating system that does not require any activation and does not impose any restriction on its use (free as in freedom).

  9. TankerKevo says:

    WUBI is great, but then you will still need to have or purchase 43 Windows licenses.

    I’m with Ken on this one, check out .

  10. TankerKevo says:

    This link walks you through the setup of systemimager:

  11. John Eddie Kerr says:

    A good book to have on hand would be “Moving to the Linux business desktop by Marcel Gagne”
    here is a review:

    The chapter on thin clients is very good, something not mentioned so far, but may be worth consideration.

    The December 2008 Linux Pro Magazine has a story on iTalc. iTalc is a program that “gives teachers complete control over the digital classroom an integrates the PC as a learning aid tool”

    But first, I would get some computers up and running.

    Join the wftl-lug at

    Good luck

  12. DerHesse says:

    – use OEM Install Mode, during ubuntu setup. (once)

    – Clone this machine to a DVD.

    – Apply the clone to every Computer, regardless what hardware you are using, Start each machine and set User and Machine individually during initial boot.

  13. quizz says:

    i think it’s too late, buy maybe ltsp would have made any help? but surely you need one good server for that

  14. Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and if you do not like it, you can simply uninstall it as any other application.
    Wubi is Free….

    But first, I would get some computers up and running….

    Good Luck….


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