Headless server installed 'headlessly' -- Possible?

Discussion in 'Installation/Configuration' started by markfilipak, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. markfilipak

    markfilipak New Member

    Hi. This is my 1st posting. It's good to be here.

    I have an idea that I haven't found anywhere.

    Is it possible to create a Linux install CD that creates a minimal headless server, and then, to run the installation headlessly?

    It would boot normally, but then go to Ethernet for the installation screens that format the hard disk, install the kernel, and create an admin account -- the other end would be plugged into my laptop, not the Internet, and the install queries would appear in a window on my Linux laptop -- probably a browser window but a purpose-built Linux application would be okay, too.

    Once the Linux headless server was installed, I'd move it to its final location, plug in the Internet, and add the remaining utilities, programs, and user accounts via the Internet as normal (but of course, with no keyboard or monitor).

    I don't know whether that is ever done, but I can envision that it's possible. Have you, dear reader, done this or maybe know of a potential source for such an install CD. Since the headless server would be CLI (not GUI), I imagine any flavor of Linux would do.

    Thanks Much -- Mark.
  2. Taleman

    Taleman Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    It is possible to do such installation. I assume you are planning to connect with ssh to the installed system and continue configuration there?
    Some linux distributions have automatic installing cababilities, so that way the installing with some configuration and setup work by you could be done. Set up the installed system so SSH-server is installed and running and maybe has your SSH key so login as root is possible.
    Another way is to install on a system with keyboard and monitor, and then take disk image and copy that to the headless system. Or maybe just move the disk there.
    There are also KVM switches that allow connection with Ethernet, plug that to the host and connect to the device and you get display and can use keyboard. I do not remember now manufacturer of the product.
  3. markfilipak

    markfilipak New Member

    Hey Teleman,
    After the target system is connected to the Internet? Sure. Of course.
    Oh, of course: Unattended installation! ...I'm so stupid sometimes.
    That's a good idea. I could put the target disk on Drivewire via USB from my laptop. But what about the hardware differences?
    I don't think that's possible with a laptop.
    Thanks for your good ideas. Do you know of any web-based guides dealing with unattended installs. I imagine it's difficult.
    -- Mark.
  4. till

    till Super Moderator Staff Member ISPConfig Developer

    It depends on how much the systems differ, but in most cases, Linux will detect the hardware at boot on its own correctly, so it's worth a try in my opinion. I guess many ISP's use image-based installations to prepare their servers.
    ahrasis likes this.
  5. markfilipak

    markfilipak New Member

    Well, I'm excited. (Tomorrow will be a busy day for me!)
    Two 'by the way's:
    1, "Unattended installation" was the key. I searched for (and found) lots of articles on unattended installations. Now, all I have to do is understand them... :)
    2, "Got milk?" I intend to use the server as a dropbox-style resource for the research-minded members of the ffmpeg user list. To that end, I'd like to find a dropbox-style application that can dispense transfer tickets just like dropbox so that we can share gigabyte video samples via HTTP without having to log into the server and without requiring a multitude of user logins. Got ideas? Names? Links?
  6. Taleman

    Taleman Well-Known Member HowtoForge Supporter

    It is more difficult than using the usual installer.
    You did not say which Linux distribution you use. Here is one link:

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