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thin-client options for sarge

just joined this list recently, figured i'd get in on this conversation,
since my name was mentioned a few times... :)

>> lessdisks - Looks like a newer initiative, with Jonas Smedgaard as
>> debian maintainer. This also lacks the easyness of ltsp.org setup.
>> Version accepted into Testing 2004-05-25

> I have currently a load of work (I need to get good understanding of
> OpenAFS and Kerberos5 to fix a school network before school starts in
> august), but the upstream author of lessdisks, Vagrant, claims most
> current problems of the current package is fixed in a newer release
> waiting for me.

indeed.  many of the bugs for lessdisks don't appear to be present in
the newer upstream versions(see links below).

just fixed some bugs in the official packages recently, too.  of course,
as upstream, i'm always begging to get the newer release into debian :)

> Here's some differences between ltsp3 and lessdisks (from the top of
> my head):

>* Lessdisks supports both SSH-tunneled XDMCP traffic (the
> Debian-packages sdm and sdm-terminal) and the simpler insecure traffic
> used by ltsp3 (which requires less CPU on both client and server).

sdm actually uses ssh X11Forwarding instead of XDMCP used by xdm, kdm,
gdm... still more secure, though :)

>* Lessdisks ties terminal configuration to MAC address instead of IP
> number.

the goal of which is so that you don't have to edit and restart your
dhcp server for each new terminal- you just configure DHCP to give out
dynamic ip addresses and a terminal figures out it's configuration on
boot.  the only time you'd have to reconfigure a terminal is when you
swap out a network card.

i believe LTSP can be configured to use mac address, hostname or ip
address in recent versions.

>* Lessdisks by default (when properly implemented - Vagrant claims it
> works now) uses plain vanilla default Debian Linux kernels, so
> security updates is swift! (hey, I added that part! ;-))

not only kernels, but any package available for debian is available for
lessdisks, generally without modification.

it uses debootstrap to create a standard debian read-only root
filesystem for the terminals, with as few modifications as possible.
this is probably it's main strength.

lessdisks is just a few realitvely simple shell scripts on top of
debian, really :)

> In the close future is also Vagrant working on compatibility for
> ltsp-like configuration in order to make it easier to switch

well, i've incorporated and/or re-written some of the ltsp code for use
with lessdisks, mainly x configuration.

i haven't really put much time into converting from an existing ltsp
installation since i'd have to learn LTSP to do it.  though there's at
least one person quite familiar with LTSP that might be able to do
something to that effect.

> What is currently seen as easier with ltsp3 than lessdisks? Please
> feed the Debian Bug Tracking System with your wishes and bugreports.

i pay close attention to the debian bugs for lessdisks (i am probably
the main submitter of bugs reports and fixes, actually :)

if there are any questions that folks need to know to consider lessdisks
as a thin-client option for skolelinux, i'd be quite happy to assist
folks in any way i can.

main weaknesses of lessdisks right now:

* access to local devices (printer, sound, floppy, cdrom, etc)
* debconf is not my forte
* no man pages
* better documentation in general (imagine that)

there has been some recent improvements with most of these issues, but
help is always needed...

mailing list:


package archive:



cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freegeek.org:/var/lib/cvs co lessdisks

live well,

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