OleNepal install

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Installing the OleNepal Server Remix

The installation itself is very straightforward. NEXS is a standard iso file (iso-9660 is the cd standard). The mkusbinstall puts it on a usb drive.

To summarize:

  • Open a folder on your laptop called, for example, XS.
  • Download the NEXS_4.81 from http://dev.olenepal.org/NEXS/NEXS_4/ into XS
  • Save the attached mkusbinstall script in XS
  • Prepare a usb drive (1gb or better):
  1. Take a USB disk, create a single partition with type 0x83 (Linux) (e.g. using fdisk) and format it as VFAT (e.g. using mkfs.vfat). This conflict of partition type vs filesystem is intentional; the Anaconda installer seems a bit sensitive to other configurations and may get confused at the bootloader install stage if you don't use this configuration
  2. This is the only step that causes difficulty. Out-of-the-box usb drives are formatted as FAT32 (which should also be VFAT). The important point is that it has expanded addressing over the original DOS FAT file system. Ideally, this format should work as is. However, you need to perform the above steps. However, the mkusbinstall script seems to have trouble equating VFAT with FAT32.
  • Insert the usb drive into the server and boot from it (typically hitting F11 to invoke the boot menu). Note: this install repartitions the hard drive erasing any and all previous content.
/usr/share/nexs-custom/netsetup.sh laxmi (the name of the school)
  • If you have an XC (content) drive, you can insert it in a usb port and it will install automatically via the usbmount scripts in *etc/usbmount/mount.d.
  • Prepare one or more routers for the LAN network (a typical router maxes out at about 40 connections so one router per classroom (where the XO is used) is appropriate. Note this is not an issue of connectability - often students in adjacent classrooms can see more than one router (routers should squawk the SSID schoolnet1, schoolnet2, and so on. Any scheme will work ( class6, class5, class4, etc.). Load balancing occurs as students are asked to connect to a specific SSID. Normally, the laptop will link into the same SSID as it did in the previous session so after the first time it takes care of itself.
  • The access point/router needs to have its DHCP disabled, have a gateway and DNS server of 172.18.0.1, and have a static ip address of 172.18.0.3, 172.18.0.4, and so on. If the school server is not connected to the internet, it is probably best to disable security on the routers. If it is connected to the internet, you may want to enable WAP2 and provide a password. This means that someone in the school needs to know how to re-enter the password if the XO gets confused since it is unlikely that students and teachers will be familiar with WAP2.

Router setup can be tricky since the easiest way to do this is via the built-in web address (typically - connect to the router, enter: http://192.168.1.1 (or whatever the mfg has designated) into the browser. However, when you change the network parameters and save, often you will have to log in again to the router using the changed parameters. When all else fails, reset the router to the default settings and start over. This normally is done with a paper clip held down on a reset button for some time. After the reset, you must remove power to force the router to reboot (most routers are running some version of Linux and must reboot to set up the new parameters).

This sounds complicated, but if the files have already been downloaded, the process can be completed in about an hour.

Unfortunately the software install requires a monitor (on the MSI, a vga monitor) and a keyboard (on the MSI, a usb keyboard). A mouse is not required (and not used). You will be interacting with the boot script using very primitive methods (e.g. tab and arrow keys to navigate, and enter). The problem is twofold: (1) a problem with the Anaconda installer. Australia has a fix but it has not yet been integrated into NEXS, and (2) the MSI and many other systems require the use of the keyboard to select boot from usb (e.g. F11 to invoke the boot menu). Once the school server software is installed, all further system administration can be done by ssh from an XO or other laptop connected to the network.

One special note: since the school server is supplying IP addresses via DHCP, if the dhcpd daemon is not running, you need to boot as root (i.e. monitor and keyboard). The daemon (and most others) are started at boot time. Therefore, you need to reboot after running netsetup.sh before accessing it from the LAN. This is probably an issue that can be fixed in the netsetup script. However, it is important to remember since it can happen that a deployed server doesn't connect because dhcpd did not start.

Tony Anderson

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