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G'day everyone, I'm new to this forum and Linux (day 2) but I would like to break free of the strangle hold that Microsoft has over me. I would like ...
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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Minimal distro Linux with web browser


    G'day everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and Linux (day 2) but I would like to break free of the strangle hold that Microsoft has over me.

    I would like to create a workstation that uses as little storage space as possible but install the following:

    Web browser
    Apache
    PHP admin
    and VMWare server with Virtual machine proxy (IPCop 1.4.21)

    My end goal is the user boots computer and the following happens:

    A virtual machine proxy server boots and uses the computers NICs in bridged mode with the host operating system

    The computer boots to a webpage interface (pointing to the localhost) that allows editing of a remotely stored MySQL database held on my LAMP server (still to be created), I'm guessing I need to install MyPHPadmin for this.

    I've been searching and reading so much over the last couple of days and this fits my needs perfectly. I started building this using Debian 5.0.3 but found that it was using a lot of space and I couldn't figure out a way to get rid of GNOME and only use a web browser when the user logs in - auto login (I'm still not sure if all of this is possible)

    If I was on the best track please tell me (debian 5.0.3 for whole install) and suggestions of what I need to make it would be greatly appreciated or "how-to's" would be great also.

    Thank you in advance for your time and sharing your knowledge,

    Griffo

  2. #2
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Debian is fine for this use.

    I've been searching and reading so much over the last couple of days and this fits my needs perfectly. I started building this using Debian 5.0.3 but found that it was using a lot of space and I couldn't figure out a way to get rid of GNOME and only use a web browser when the user logs in - auto login (I'm still not sure if all of this is possible)
    Start with a minimal install. There is a point in the installation where you select which packages to install.


    Do not select Desktop Environment, to avoid install GNOME or XFCE. You can add just what you need later. By doing this, after the install, you will at first have only a command line to work from, so you'll need to be comfortable setting up your internet connection and installing packages from the console.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Try Netinstall of Debian. It will install minimal system and you can install necessary packages through apt-get/aptitude after installation.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

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  5. #4
    oz
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    I too recommend the Debian netinstall as the best way to go for a clean, lightweight system.

    You can find it here:

    Debian -- Network install from a minimal CD
    oz

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    Thank you for the quick reply everyone, I wasn't expecting a response this quick.


    Quote Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
    Debian is fine for this use.
    Do not select Desktop Environment, to avoid install GNOME or XFCE. You can add just what you need later. By doing this, after the install, you will at first have only a command line to work from, so you'll need to be comfortable setting up your internet connection and installing packages from the console.

    Thanks, I'll give it a go. But without a GUI can I still have a 'pretty' web browser, my dreams are still haunted by memories of DOS web browsers...functional but looked like crap.

    What would be the minimal software requirement for me to add a web browser to Debian without a GUI? or is there a web browser shell for doing what I'm trying to accomplish.

    I've started to learn bash, but I've got to get used to using the right slashes and the slightly different commands from my old DOS days.

    During the installation I think there was a guided setup for the primary NIC and the type of IP assignment for the card. But due to my end goal having VMWare using bridged NIC's with the host operating system, I'd like to disable TCP/IP in the host operating system on 2 of the NIC's as the proxy virtual machine will comunicate through these, is this possible in Linux or will I have to statically assign an address outside of the range of the connected network? - maybe a .conf file or ifconfig command?

    EDIT*** I should state that this setup has 3 NIC's, all 3 used by the proxy (LAN, WAN and wireless access) but only 1 used by the host OS.

    Quote Originally Posted by devils casper View Post
    Try Netinstall of Debian. It will install minimal system and you can install necessary packages through apt-get/aptitude after installation.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozar View Post
    I too recommend the Debian netinstall as the best way to go for a clean, lightweight system.

    I've just done a quick read through about the Netinstall and while I'm at it I'll try to add this to my PXE server as the final product won't have an optical drive. I'll give this a go this morning. What would be the minimal software requirements for adding a web browser to this?

    I can't believe I've avoided Linux for so long, the more I look into it the more flexible it is, consider me officially converting.

  7. #6
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by r31griffo View Post
    What would be the minimal software requirements for adding a web browser to this?
    It would depend on the browser type, such as command line only browser vs GUI browser, and the actual browser (because of dependencies) that you would want to add.
    oz

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozar View Post
    It would depend on the browser type, such as command line only browser vs GUI browser, and the actual browser (because of dependencies) that you would want to add.
    My bad, I should have specified. I'm after a GUI browser, I don't really have a preference on which one. It would be a nice touch if the users couldn't close the web browser, only shut down the system (if they need to). If this is possible it'd be great, otherwise I'll have to use the GUI.

    Is there a way for apt-get to automatically install dependencies for an application?

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    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll give it a go. But without a GUI can I still have a 'pretty' web browser, my dreams are still haunted by memories of DOS web browsers...functional but looked like crap.
    You can add a GUI after the install. You said you were having trouble removing GNOME, and I'm of the philosophy that it's better to add just what you need than spend time removing all the crud you don't need.

    From the basic install, you can add the X windows system and a light weight window manager like openbox.

    So a good fairly minimal install might be (I don't think I'm forgetting anything necessary but it's been awhile)

    Code:
    su -
    apt-get install xorg udev hal openbox iceweasel
    Iceweasel is firefox without the branding.

    Openbox - Debian Wiki
    Openbox guide urukrama’s weblog

  10. #9
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Is there a way for apt-get to automatically install dependencies for an application?
    This is a standard feature of apt-get.

  11. #10
    oz
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    Should you decide you want a lightweight browser that is low on dependencies, you can consider something like dillo:

    Dillo Web Browser :: Home Page

    It's not loaded with features like Firefox, but it's light and fast.
    oz

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