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Delegating simple ZENworks imaging tasks using 'export IMGCMD'

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Andrew Grant

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Posted: 28 Sep 2006
 

There is an underrated option in the ZENworks SETTINGS.TXT. It allows you to run a command (normally to launch the imaging software) with parameters that you specify when you boot from a ZENworks CD. The ZENworks documentation mentions this feature but gets vague when it comes to editing the ISO.

In our context we have Tech staff that need to image groups of workstations at their own timetable. Although they are responsible for their workstations, they are not people who we want to give access to the ZENworks imaging objects. By making specialised ZENworks CDs to load a particular image we can allow them to load their machines at their convenience without having to contact us. We only hear from them when they need to update their image(s).

For example, this works particularly well with the person responsible for our lecture venues. If a machine needs to be reloaded (often after hours) he can boot from the CD using the Automatic mode and then take a coffee break while the machine loads.

The most difficult part of this is editing the ZENworks ISO file. Below are instructions for Linux and Windows respectively.

Linux Instructions

There is some promising ISO editing software with a nice front-end being developed (gtoaster) but at the time of writing it wasn't ready, so we have to do this old school. These instructions were made with SLED 10 with standard software installed.

Section 1: Installing pre-requisite software

  1. Open YaST2 and launch 'Software Management'.


  2. Set the filter to search and type in 'mkisofs'.



  3. Ensure that there is a tick next to 'mkisofs' and click Accept.

Section 2: Preparing the SETTINGS.TXT

  1. Open the generic SETTINGS.TXT (download an example from here) in your favorite editor (i.e. Vi, gedit etc).
  2. There are two lines that need to be uncommented and changed to suit your environment
    • The PROXYADDR is the DNS address of your imaging server.
    • The export IMGCMD line is the command that gets run once the CD has finished booting. NOTE: for more detailed information on what can be done with img, browse to this section of the docs.

Section 3: Editing the ISO

Here we need to mount the ZENworks iso, extract and modify the contents and then create a new ISO.

  1. Place a copy of the default ZENworks iso (bootcd.iso) in /tmp.
    NOTE: The default place to find bootcd.iso on OES Linux is:
    /opt/novell/ZENworks/zdm/imaging/winutils/bootcd.iso


  2. Open a terminal as root. I'm in the habit of having a directory for mounted ISO's (so they stick out like a sore thumb). Run 'mkdir /media/virtualcd'.


  3. Now we mount the ISO by running 'mount -o loop /tmp/bootcd.iso /media/virtualcd'.


  4. Create a directory to store the contents of the ISO. Run 'mkdir /tmp/zencd'.


  5. We extract the contents of the ISO to the directory we've just created by running 'cp -Rv /media/virtualcd/* /tmp/zencd'.


  6. Copy the SETTINGS.TXT file that you created earlier and copy it into the /tmp/zencd directory (overwriting the default SETTINGS.TXT already present).


  7. Change directory to the root of what is going to be your new ISO ('cd /tmp/zencd').


  8. Now we create the new ISO by running 'mkisofs -o /tmp/customzencd.iso -b boot/loader/isolinux.bin -c boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-info-table .'
    NOTE: In the above command, don't forget to include the '.' at the end of the command!


  9. You can now unmount your ISO by running 'umount /media/virtualcd'.

Burn the customzencd.iso ISO with your favorite CD writing software.

Windows Instructions

Section 1: Download and install the ISO editing software

  1. Visit http://www.magiciso.com/download.htm and download the latest version. Although it's commercial software, it will work indefinitely for ISO files less then 300MB :-) .
  2. Install the software using the default settings.

Section 2: Preparing the SETTINGS.TXT




  1. Open the generic SETTINGS.TXT file (download an example from here) in your favorite editor.


  2. There are two lines that need to be uncommented and changed to suit your environment:
    • The PROXYADDR is the DNS address of your imaging server.
    • The export IMGCMD line is the command that gets run once the CD has finished booting.
      NOTE: for more detailed information on what can be done with img, browse to this section of the docs.

Section 3: Editing the ISO

  1. Run MagicISO and then open the ZENworks ISO (normally called bootcd.iso).
    NOTE: The default place to find bootcd.iso on OES Linux is:
    /opt/novell/ZENworks/zdm/imaging/winutils/bootcd.iso



  2. Drag and drop SETTINGS.TXT into the root of the ISO (in the same directory as autorun.inf and boot.cat)


  3. Choose File --> Save or Save As depending on your needs.

All that remains now is to burn the ISO image using your CD writer software (i.e. Nero Express).


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