Patrick's Proposal to Standardize Platforms
Patrick’s Proposal to Standardize Platforms, completed during the 2013-14 year, was Patrick Melanson's fourth official proposal for Spacesim. The proposal intends to fix the problem of the inconsistent setup of spacesim computers, specifically to make platforms easier to use.
Patrick’s Proposal to Standardize Platforms
At spacesim, we have an excess of computers, but all computers have a slightly different setup. For example, one might have Windows 98, another might have a separate partition for Orbit files, another might have an old version of Orbit, and yet another may have three different folders for Orbit files. All in all, this makes for an inefficient system, as it is unclear as to where any of the files are, what settings should be set, where the server should look for data, and so forth.
A standardized deployment system would be much faster and more efficient, as manually installing Windows on each machine would be unnecessary, as would figuring out where to install Orbit, and any other files required
- Have a central server which contains all images of all platforms (e.g. Windows 98 image, Windows XP image, Linux image, etc.), and images for the different Orbit software (independent of the OS image).
- Clean up the structure of Orbit releases to make a less cluttered distribution.
- Create a separate partition (D:) which will store all Orbit files. This will ensure that the Orbit files are OS-independent, and can survive OS reinstalls. It will also make it easier to image a very specific set of software, so that (for example) the MC EECOM station will only have the MC EECOM software.
- Create a method by which to update files consistently across all platforms, to ensure that the current system of “C:/new-orbit”, “C:/orbit5”, “C:/orbit5t”, and so forth is avoided.
To accomplish this, a server capable of cloning and imaging computers must be set up with all the appropriate images, and all appropriate Orbit files. One possible way of doing this is to use a Linux machine (possibly virtual) and run FOG on it, then to image computers over the existing network. For every computer, backups will be made of any important files, then the computer completely wiped and the partition table deleted. The C: drive will be imaged with the desired OS, and a new D: partition will be imaged with only the required orbit files. The update system could simply be a .bat file which checks the current version, then archives the current Orbit files and downloads new ones if necessary.