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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Vista and 7.

What is FOG?

FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Vista and 7 that ties together a few open-source tools with a php-based web interface. FOG doesn't use any boot disks, or CDs; everything is done via TFTP and PXE. Also with fog many drivers are built into the kernel, so you don't really need to worry about drivers (unless there isn't a linux kernel driver for it). FOG also supports putting an image that came from a computer with a 80GB partition onto a machine with a 40GB hard drive as long as the data is less than 40GB.

Fog also includes a graphical Windows service that is used to change the hostname of the PC, restart the computer if a task is created for it, and auto import hosts into the FOG database. The service also installs printers, and does simple snap-ins.

FOG System Overview

This is a very basic overview of how FOG works. The FOG server, by default, provides DHCP, NFS, PXE, FTP, HTTPD, and WOL services to the clients on the network. All computers on the network should have PXE boot as their first boot device, then as is shown by client 1, FOG will chose if the machine should boot the FOG image, or to the local hard disk. Client 2 in the diagram is pushing an image to the server and storing it using NFS, where it could later be pushed down to other computers. The manager is the machine that controls all the tasks of the FOG server. The manager can be any web enabled device from an IPod touch with Safari to a XP desktop top running IE.

What OS does FOG run on?

FOG can run on nearly any Linux distribution, but the installer we have written runs on Fedora 7+ and Ubuntu?

FOG is good for anyone running Windows XP, Vista and 7.  FOG is currently being used by many schools and small businesses who can't afford the licensing of commercial products.

What makes FOG different?

* FOG is easy for end user. The end user no longer needs to worry about NIC drivers to image a computer, this is all handled by the kernel. FOG management is done via an easy to use web GUI.

* FOG is centralized. Most of tasks done on FOG don't require the user to visit the client PC. For example if you imaging a computer all you need to do is start the task. After the task is started WOL will turn the computer on if it is off, PXE will load the OS, DHCP will give it an IP address, FOG will tell the server it is in progess, and PartImage will image your computer. Then when imaging is done FOG will tell PXE not to boot the machine to the fog image and your computer boots up. After the computer is booted, if the FOG service is installed, FOG will change the computer's hostname and that computer is ready to use!

* FOG is easy to access. All you need is a web browser to image a computer, no client software required. We have heard of organizations using FOG who image computers from an iPOD touch or iPhone.

* FOG is Powerful. With features like virus scanning, memory testing, disk wiping, testdisk, and file recovery, FOG does more than just imaging.

* FOG can grow with you. The FOG server can be broken down and run across multiple machines. For example, your NFS, apache, PXE, and DHCP services can all run on different servers to maximize performance.

* FOG is community driven. Is a feature missing in FOG that you would really love to see? If so, let us know and we will do our best to include it in FOG.

* FOG is well documented. The FOG WIKI contains a user guide which is over 50 pages long!

* FOG is free. Whether you have 2 computers or 20,000 computers in your organization, FOG is free!

Go there...

Video Tutorials

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