default drivers in TKL


I would like to know if the TKL core package (14.2- LAMP Stack) has all or most of the most common default drivers. I'm using Clonezilla to make onsite complete image backups and it would be good to know if a restore of one of those images would work on dissimilar hardware. The Clonezilla FAQ's say this about the question of installation of an image on dissimilar hardware:

"For GNU/Linux image, it's very possible, you have to pay attention to the kernel-hardware support issue. Try to use generic kernel and install as many drivers as possible in your source machine. Then the created image will support hardware better."

You will probably suggest that I use TKLBAM but for this purpose I need local images.


Jeremy Davis's picture

So as a general rule most older hardware should be supported OOTB. Although by default, only open source drivers are included. You may have issues with ethernet drivers that don't have open source drivers available, or new chips developed and produced within the last few years.

You can work around the former by enabling the non-free repo and installing the relevant firmware package(s), have a read on the Debian wiki for pointers. Unfortunately, working around the latter can be a real pain. If you hit that issue, then the only real workaround that I'm aware of is using a newer kernel (and the relevant driver code). If it's packaged in Debian testing then it shouldn't be too hard to work around. But if it's not already packaged for Debian then it can be a real pain (as it is with any OS that doesn't have specific drivers packaged).

IMO, rather than trying to accommodate all hardware, personally a better way to go would be to audit the hardware that you may be using and then just add the necessary drivers.

WRT to using TKLBAM, you could indeed use that, but it would still require you to install the TKL OS (e.g. from the ISO). And if the image doesn't support your hardware OOTB, then getting it working from that won't be any easier than getting a clonezilla image to work.

IMO though, unless you have really crap hardware, or crazy high load on your servers, running on bare metal is a major waste of resources. IMO you'd be better off using some sort of hypervisor with your workloads running as VMs (or containers depending on how much isolation they need). Containers in particular are an awesome way of maximising hardware utilization as they run close to bare metal (less than 5% overhead) but allow "over allocation" of resources if you want.

My personal preference is ProxmoxVE. I have a small server running and I have about 10-15 VMs/containers running (a Windows VM, plus a couple of TKLDev instances, plus a heap of TurnKey appliance containers. Mostly I just use them for testing but I have a couple running full time (e.g. my home file and media server). I also have Proxmox in production at my old work (I still do a bit of IT support). That has 2 Win 2k8r2 servers and some TurnKey containers and it all runs on desktop hardware. TBH Windows server runs much better hypervised than it ever did on real hardware. And if you have a couple of server and a good storage setup you can configure clustering. You can then even migrate live VMs from one node to another.

Thanks for your detailed reply. One question- once I install the TKL ISO (to a bare metal server, yes) does the installation contain all the drivers within the ISO or are only the drivers needed at installation time installed? Put another way, are all the original drivers in the ISO still there in the installation even if not needed for that particular hardware?

Will look into the hypervisor approach- its good advice.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Short answer, it should include everything. So if it installs ok from ISO, a Clonezilla image should also deploy fine.

TBH, I've never actually tested that theory though so YMMV.

FWIW, in v13.x the installer was a little broken and it was impossible to install to a HDD which was already partitioned (without wiping them all and starting again). I wanted to install Linux to my laptop (desktop system based on TurnKey and built using TurnKey's tools). But I already had Windows installed and didn't want to wipe it out just yet. To work around that issue, I booted the ISO in live mode, manually partitioned my HDD and formatted the one I wanted Linux on (ext4), copied the rootfs from the ISO to the relevant partition and manually installed grub. It all just worked!

I did have some issues when I upgraded that system to Jessie, but once I resolved those, it's still running fine...

I'll try a Clonezilla restore on dissimilar hardware and will let you know- thanks.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Good luck with it and look forward to hearing how it goes. :)

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