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Our school will finally be moving on to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from XP (most probably). There will be a pilot run on ~40 PCs with same hardware. So what would be the best (and least time consuming) way to install Ubuntu to these computers? We want a fully configured Ubuntu which should be identical on each computer.

The present steps we are considering:

  • Use Clonezilla: Install Ubuntu on one hard disk, install apps, configure it and then use Clonezilla to clone the hard disks.
    Concerns: Disk UUID's, their behaviour on same network (same hostnames).

  • Use Remastersys: Make a fresh installation, install apps, configure it and use Remastersys to create a full-backup type installation ISO and then install it on all PCs to get fully configured PCs
    Concerns: Will it really work (in theory it should), time consuming, too many steps involved.

All PCs will be identical, even their usernames so perms are not an issue. Please suggest some better way to do this.

Note: Not all PCs are on network so network installation is not an option.

Please help as it is a make it or break it situation for the deployment of Ubuntu.

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You are lucky your school is switching to teaching about computers on Ubuntu. It is definitely better and much more powerful than Windows. Wish that would have happened in my school! –  udiboy1209 Apr 7 at 18:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would suggest using a bootable sector based cloning tool or a file based tool that can backup the mbr, but I can't recommend any specific tools as I haven't had such a need in years. I used to use something free made by EaseUS.

I'm not familiar enough with hostnames to address your networking concerns.

The options you've listed will both work, but there are some things to bear in mind:

  1. Remastersys doesn't support UEFI

  2. Remastersys is no longer updated and as such may or may not work with 14.04 (worked fine for me on 13.10).

  3. Remastersys won't include any graphics drivers you install (eg fglrx).

  4. There is a size limit imposed on the squashfs file when using remastersys. I think the max size for the compressed squashfs is 4gb, but don't quote me on that. It sounds small but squashfs gets great compression.

  5. Clonezilla doesn't clone grub2 from the mbr, it re-installs it.

Regarding your concerns:

  1. Clonezilla will set the proper UUID when writing.

  2. Remastersys is easier to use than clonezilla in my mind, assuming you use the gui.

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The way I do it now is to use clonezilla as you suggest but then reinstall ubuntu on the clone this time choosing the option to retain the files on the existing copy of ubuntu. It works but it takes a long time.

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