On Saturday 14 February 2004, jh at clongowes.net (John Hegarty) wrote:
>We got a 3rd hand server a few days ago and am playing around with it as
>a terminal server. By our standards it is a pretty beefy machine, a
>compaq proliant 5500 with 4 PIII Xeon 500MHz chips and 3X18 GB scsi
>drives. Downloaded and installed a distribution from
>http://www.k12ltsp.org/ which is based around Fedora Core 1 and the
>software developed by the Linux Terminal Server Project
That Compaq should make an excellent server for an LTSP project, esp. if it
has a decent amount of RAM.
>I want to do the first because we have some old PCs and this will give
>them a useful new lease of life. We already have this bit worked out
>having a short run with 3 clients booting from a floppy - trying 15
You can make things a little more reliable by losing the floppies and booting
across the network - you'll just need to replace the NICs in the PCs by PXE
>tomorrow night.The techie students here are having good fun with this.
>We are using newer PCs at the moment and will move on to the old ones
>next week.Our first time playing with RAID arrays too. As rank amateurs
>in the world of Linux it is a testimony to how far linux has come that
>we can get this far with it.
Standing on the shoulders of giants and all that - or more realistically, on
the shoulders of all the people involved in the various parts, from Linus on
up to those who founded k12ltsp.
> * I want the management here to see somthing that might be
> deployed where appropriate, offering a more cost effective and
> reliable solution for the most commonly used applications at
> second level - internet, email & wordprocessing.
Very interested to see you saying this last - I feel that a project such as
you're doing is a perfect use of Linux - giving decent computing facilities to
people who might not be able to afford current hardware, and current MS
license fees e.g. school. However, I wondered whether availability of some
particular educational software might be a show stopper. Obviously for the
trio you mentioned, use of Linux is a no brainer.
>I am looking for suggestions for thin clients and where they can be
>sourced in Ireland.
The problem with nice looking thin clients is their cost, esp. if you want to
source them in Ireland. Given the price hardware has fallen to now, a thin
client is going to cost you more money than a diskful PC with more raw
horsepower. But if you want to do this to make a style statement, then have a
look at www.linitx.com who sell mini ITX kit. Mini ITX is a small form factor
motherboard. The motherboards usually (always ?) come with a processor,
starting at 533 MHz now - this processor doesn't need a fan, so can make a
totally silent thin client. There's a 1 GHz CPU option, which can also be
fanless with a case with advanced passive cooling (available soon). But TBH
for a thin client, the 533 MHz CPU is powerful enough to boot Linux and run an
X server, which is all it needs to do.
www.linitx.com sells motherboards and cases of various designs if you want to
do self assembly, and also complete systems. They're in England, but numerous
people on the list have dealt with them in the past and I haven't heard of any
problems. One of their boxes is doing duty as my DSL router as I type.
>I would also be interested in peoples experiences with thin client both
>from a user point of view and an admin point of view. What are the
>pitfalls and hurdles I need to look out for. At this stage we are quite
>literally playing with this thing to see what we can get out of it.
From the user point of view if they're hanging off a decent server, they're
fine. Especially in a place such as a school with more users than computers,
and with no fixed allocation of users to computers, they are very useful -
just sit down at any screen, login, and you're back in your own setup.
From an admin POV they have all the advantages of Linux i.e. that ordinary
users can't break things other than their own setup and as they are diskless
there's nothing to worry about from the setup POV - just plug in a new one and
One thing to worry about is the server - it of course becomes a single point
of failure. This might not be as big an issue in a school as in a corporate
environment, but it IS an issue nonetheless which needs thinking about.
>I posted a tale of woe a few weeks ago regarding difficulties with
>Eircom giving us DSL without a 3Gb quota. Some people gave me good
>suggestions on how I might approach them. Having taken the advice
>offered, the result is that Eircom are installing next Friday and the
>3Gb quota won't be applied. To those who were annoyed by my non linux
>related post - apologies.
Nice to hear of someone getting a positive result with Eircom :-)
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