Integrating Win95 and Samba in detail

Christian 'Dr. Disk' Hechelmann drdisk at
Sun Oct 12 19:50:13 GMT 1997

On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Louis Mandelstam wrote:

> > 1. MsClient boot floppy. Used to boot up and connect to network drives
> >    on a SAMBA server. Fits on one floppy disk.
> Yes, that's what I did at first also.  My problems with this were:

I still use that, it allows me to install Win95, NT 4.0, and Linux from one
disk with a nice Menu (Novell's NMENU).

> 1. the client wants to write to the boot diskette, and I wanted to be able
>    to write-protect the disk to prevent damage, viruses etc.
>    I could have installed a custom critical error handler in DOS to absorb
>    the errors if I felt it was worthwhile.

I solved that by packing the whole NET directory in a self extracting archive
and using RAMDRIVE.SYS to get a writeable drive in which the ms-client may
write what it wants... As a side effect it boots faster now :-) This also
freed up a lot of space on the floppy (around 500kb)... The only thing was,
that depending on the machine the name of the virtual drive was not on the
same drive letter, since some of the machines had more that one FAT partition.
This was solved by using 4DOS and a DOS port of sed(1)... Works nice now :-)
The only thing I have to get around is that every bootdisk needs a different
NetBIOS name... I guess I'll use parts of the IP for dynamic name generation...

> 2. PnP unreliability on some machines (though if I read you correctly,
>    you're using DOS msclient, but not setup.exe - instead using a premade
>    archive like I am.

Yeah, I also had fun with PnPray... Putting DWGFGMG.SYS (from ICU) on the
bootdisk seemed to have made things more stable.

> 3. General uglyness and inflexibility in DOS scripting.

I solved that by using 4DOS instaed of :)

> Using a Linux boot disk also fits onto a single diskette, but solves all
> my problems with the above, plus gives me the added advantage that I can
> boot it from the hard drive's autoexec.bat (using loadlin.exe) in order to
> re-install the system from the server, without using a diskette at all.

Well I thought of that too, but user stupidity kept me from that. Sure booting
from the HD ist faster. 

> I would possibly be doing this, but my scenario doesn't allow this because
> the PC hard drives are not all the same size, so with a raw image I would
> at best have to settle for having the lowest common denominator as the C:
> partition size on all the machines, and at worst have partition tables
> which didn't work on all machines. 

That's what bugs me too. I think we need something like chattr(1) expecially
for the FAT fs to get the hidden & system attributes right. Then we could
simply use tar from an linux bootdisk...

> > This works very well (takes about 10 minutes for a 300 Mb install).

Yep, about the same figure here.

> The Linux boot disk uses bootpc to get its IP config from the server,
> which also gives it the hn (hostname) tag.  There are stored as env
> variables.

Well, I'm using DHCP to configure the clients. This applys to the bootdisk
too, but the NetBIOS name seems to be hardcoded in the net\system.ini file...

	Ciao Chris
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