Farm Guide

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The farm machines are a set of 14 rack mounted servers in the CSAIL machine room, available for experiments. In November 2008, these machines were upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10.


Important Packages

  • am-utils: used for amd to automount NFS. At some point we might want to migrate to autofs, the in-kernel implementation.
  • g++: depends on GCC
  • gcc-4.2: for compiling older C code

Hardware Details


  • Dell PowerEdge 650
  • 2x Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.06GHz
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2x 120 GB disks
  • 2x Intel e1000 gigabit Ethernet (eth0 connected)
  • BIOS: Revision A01


  • Dell PowerEdge SC1420
  • 2x Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 3.20GHz (with Hyperthreading: 4 virtual CPUs)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2x 160 GB disks
  • 2x Intel e1000 gigabit Ethernet (eth0 connected)
  • BIOS: Revision A03

Installing Ubuntu

Installing Ubuntu on these machines is relatively straightforward.

  1. Grab the Ubuntu Server CD from the Media Lab Ubuntu Mirror
  2. (Optional): I put Ubuntu on a USB key, instead of on a CD, by following the "flexible" directions in the Ubuntu install guide.
  3. Reboot. (Optional): For the USB key: Press F2 to enter bios; change Hard Drive boot order to put USB Flash first.
  4. Use the default partitioning on /dev/sda.
  5. Tell the installer to mount /dev/sdb1 as /space, but not partition it
  6. Install the default Ubuntu Server. Add the OpenSSH package, but no others.
  7. When logged in to the new system, edit /etc/network/interfaces to have the correct static IP address. Edit /etc/resolv.conf to have the right DNS server and search domain (copy from an existing machine)
  8. ifdown eth0; ifup eth0 to use the new configuration
  9. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list to use the media lab Ubuntu mirror, since that is faster.
  10. apt-get update; apt-get upgrade
  11. With the base system installed, install the "important" packages above.
  1. Install the PMG stuff: cd /; curl | tar xzf -; /usr/local/adm/bin/updatemachine
  2. copy home directories from a backup
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