I replied in the other post but I will put it here too. Go to http://www.linuxslate.org and all the needed parts are there. As far as which distribution any should work, I used redhat 6.1 I had handy. The easiest way to set up 20 machines would be to get one working perfectly and then move the hd to a desktop and use ghost or driveimage to make a copy of it. Then just put this copy on all the other hd's on at a time. You can get 2.5" to 3.5" ide adaptors for around $10, there was even someone in another thread offering some for sale. Just be gentle with the ribbon cable in the 1200 when removing its hd, I have had mine out several times so it is safe as long as you take care.
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