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Re: thin-client options for sarge

> > >> 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).
> And they will work without problem with sarge, and if so, what is
> stopping them from entering sarge ? 

they're not in unstable, either.  it's probably because jonas doesn't
have time right now, more than anything.  our debian packaging methods
are different (i'm still building for woody), so it's not always
straightforward how to migrate my changes into a more sarge-freindly
packaging scheme.

> > sdm actually uses ssh X11Forwarding instead of XDMCP used by xdm,
> > kdm, gdm... still more secure, though :)
> Is it possible to use both ? 

with lessdisks, an individual terminal can be configured to use either
sdm or the XDMCP protocol.  it's also possible to switch between the two
by switching runlevel.

there's also hooks to run whatever sort of protocols you want (such as a
VNC client).

i will also happily answer any questions about sdm.  the sdm(and
sdm-terminal) packages in sarge seem to work well, fortunately.

> > 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.
> It's not easy to install, and get up runningi

a basic guide of the process of lessdisks installation is also available
at http://lessdisks.sourceforge.net/installation

> at least not the packages in sarge. I'll try to use the ones from sid,
> and see what the status is. 

the packages in sid right now have a couple bugs fixed- i think the
install should work with default values.

there are outstanding issues of no X configuration tool and terminal
configuration is broken.

terminal configuration is pretty fixable.

i've written a script which uses xdebconfigurator to configure X, as
well as re-written ltsp's X configuration script to work with lessdisks.

the debconf templates are also quite poorly written.  but there are some
proposed changes which i've largely adopted upstream.  despite my being
a native english speaker, people from all sorts of places have made
great suggestions to correct my poor english :)

> > > What is currently seen as easier with ltsp3 than lessdisks? Please
> > > feed the Debian Bug Tracking System with your wishes and
> > > bugreports.
> Actually, the setup we uses in Skolelinux today (ltsp3 on woody), we
> have 3 debian packages kernel ltsp-core ltsp-X-core
> TO get this thing easily set up, we need those 3 packages. And another
> point. We need to have this working cross platform, so that we might
> use an i386 Server to server Sparc, PowerPC, i386 thin or diskless
> clients. 

unlike ltsp, lessdisks doesn't build the packages that become the root
filesystem for your "diskless" terminals, it installs a script which
uses debootstrap to install a root filesystem, using standard debian
packages, and installs whatever additional packages you want into the

so cross-platform support is not currently available in lessdisks- i
think debootstrap can install a root filesystem for another platform,
but to complete a lessdisks installation, it uses chroot extensively.
this essentially requires that you use the same platform for the NFS
server and the terminals.

it might be possible(and perhaps hackish) to use something like "qemu"
to install and maintain the root filesystem on other platforms.

it is definitely possible to do something similar to ltsp- building
packages of the entire chroot.  but there's a trade-off in
maintainability that way because you're no longer using standard debian
packages for all of the software withing the chroot.

also kind of hackish, you might also be able to boot a single terminal
of the appropriate platform with write-access to the NFS filesystem, and
complete the lessdisks installation that way (i think).

any thoughts on cross-platform support for lessdisks would, of course,
be welcome.

> >From there, there must be an option to install additional packages,
> >to convert the thin client into a diskless client. I'm thinking
> >something  like: - Create some thin-client core packages, kernel,
> >core, and X.  -  Open up for installing some additional packages on
> >the distributed> filesystem, to allow "thicker clients". 

lessdisks has something like this:

the lessdisks-terminal(core) and lessdisks-xterminal(X) packages get
install chrooted, and that chroot is what gets exported over NFS.
inside that chroot is a complete, standard debian system- so you can
install any package available in debian into the root filesystem of the
terminals.  they're as thick or thin-client as you want them to be.

> > main weaknesses of lessdisks right now: 

i'll add a new weakness to the list:

* cross-platform support

> > package archive:
> > 
> > http://lessdisks.sourceforge.net/debian/current
> We need them in the main debian archives. 

of course!  i would love to see the newer versions in debian proper.

live well,

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