FLOSS Weekly 53

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FLOSS Weekly
Episode 53

Contents

FLOSS Weekly 53: FOG

FOG, a Windows imaging solution tying together several open-source tools with a PHP-based web interface.

Guests

Chuck Syperski

Chuck Syperski is the lead developer and co-creator of the FOG project. He started getting involved with FLOSS/open source software in 2003, while studying at college. Chuck also has another, smaller, open source project called PSCafePOS, which is a point of sale system for school lunchrooms that ties together the district's student information system.

Jian Zhang

Jian Zhang is a developer and co-creator of the FOG project.

Topics

Fog

Description of topic

Links

Questions from the audience

If you have any questions about the topic, enter them here:

  • Can Fog image partitions other than NTFS, like EXT3 (Linux) or HFS (Mac)?

We can image linux when using an image type of "Multiple Partition." We can image Mac, OS X isn't running on apple hardware, because apple's bios doesn't support PXE booting. So the feature is currently not active.

  • The Fog wiki says that the creators are from an "educational environment" —which one?

We work for DuPage High School District 88 in Villa Park, IL.


We tend to focus more on cloning Windows (but we can image Linux too) in an enterprise environment, and as such include a native Windows service that runs on the client computers. The client does much more than plain imaging tasks such as:

  • Hostname Changer - Changes the clients hostname and adds the client to Microsoft AD.
  • Auto log off - This module can log a user off of a workstation after X minutes of inactivity.
  • Green FOG - This module turns off the client computers at a fixed time daily.
  • User Tracking - This module tracks user log in/log out activity and logs it to a database.
  • Printer Installation - This module can remotely install/remove printers on the client computer.
  • Snap-ins - This module can install extra software on a computer after imaging, on demand.
  • Display Manager - This module can change the computers screen resolution.

We also have tasks advanced/utility tasks in FOG which include:

  • Virus Scanning
  • Memory Testing
  • Hardware Inventory
  • File Recovery
  • Disk Wiping
  • Windows local password reset
  • Mass computer wake up


We try to make management completely centralized, by this we mean it is possible for a tech to re-image a without leaving their desk, even if the computer is turned off.

FOG has a unique uni-cast queuing system, where a tech can schedule 500 computers to be imaged, if the queue size of the server is set to 10 or 15, only 10 or 15 computers will be imaged at one time. This prevents the server from being overloaded, while automating mass imaging.

We also try to make installation of FOG very easy, after the operating system is installed you download the fog package and run the installation script and it will install the required dependencies.

We also try to make FOG scale easily. We have something called storage groups, where you can add multiple server's to your FOG setup called storage nodes. When you have multiple nodes in the same group, the nodes will share images, or replicate images to each other. Then when deploying an image from a storage group, the clients will use all members of the storage group.

  • Since you use a Server/client system do you use compression or multi-cast to accelerate the transfer?

By default we use gzip compression on all images.

The use has the choice of whether they want the image(s) deployed via multi-cast of unicast, we support both.

  • Can you give a brief example of snap-ins?

A snap-in is basically a piece of software that can be layered on top of a base image. For example, you could have an image that has only Windows XP and Microsoft Office installed on it, with a snap-in you could install Adobe Photoshop right after imaging. A snapin is basically automated software installation package.

  • Have you considered supporting automated Windows installs, such as with Unattended ?

Sponsors

No Sponsors this week.

Significant Products

  • Product Name and description go here. One bullet per product or service. This section is for products a host, guest or panelist discusses in some detail or with admiration.

Production Information

  • Recorded Date: January 20, 2009
  • Release Date: January 24, 2009
  • Duration: 39:10
  • Log line: FOG, a Windows imaging solution tying together several open-source tools with a PHP-based web interface.
  • Edited by: Tony
  • Notes: NA

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