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Re: Diskless workstation issues

2006/3/29, Petter Reinholdtsen <pere@hungry.com>:
> I believe there is some confusion about terminology here.  I use the
> terms like this, and recommend others do the same:
> Thin client
> -----------
>   Client booting over the net, mounting read-only file system over the
>   net from its boot server, running X locally, and all user
>   application on a thin client server.  This is the default LTSP
>   configuration.
> Diskless workstation
> --------------------
>   Client booting over the net, mounting read-only file system over the
>   net from its boot server, running X and all user applications
>   locally.  No user applications are executed on the server.  This is
>   not the default LTSP configuration, and is enabled using the
>   ltsp-make-client script from the debian-edu-config package.  Someone
>   used to call these half-thick clients, but I do not like that term.

which is the default configuration on skolelinux now ?

I have the following questions then.

I used to have a lab with thin client that were running on a server
with woody debian potato that had been setup in 2000 with the then
very new plume system (similar to lessdisk for what I have
understood). The server is a bi-pentium II at 600 MHz with 512 MB RAM
and 18 GB HD, the 20 clients were (are !) old 486 computers with 32 MB
RAM (the newest machines are PII with 128 MB RAM). Everythin was
running fine, sometimes (but sometimes only) a little slowly for some
large applications.

As we were quite dependent on the technical people who helped to set
the classroom up, and as they told me they could not afford to take
the time to do some upgrade to woody then sarge to be on par with the
current stable release of debian, and to have some more modern
applications (like the new gcompris for example that does not build on
potato !), I decided to reinstall the server with skolelinux.

The installation went fine, and I tested the system with a machine
that I had for the tests, a PII with 128 MB RAM. It was fine. So I
went to the school, plugged all the computers ( old 486 terminals) in,
configured dhcpd.conf with the appropriate info as these are ISA
machines ... and waited a long time for the terminals to boot.

It took me some time to understand that the clients were not, as they
were, thin client, but that by default they became diskless
workstation that used a lot of the ressources, swapped on the network
... As these terminals do not have enough memory, they swap all the
time I suppose (by the way, how can I measure this swapping ?) and as
the server that was OK previously and was a good machine back in 2000
is now a crappy little one, it is ont its knee.

So my questions: how can I configure skolelinux sarge to be

1/ _ONLY_ a thin clients server and clients configuration,

2/ a system where only "light" applications are uses (I use XFCE on
the terminals)

3/ how can I also easily change and have a unique xfcerc for all users
to easily change it and adapt the menus it contains ? Maybe with some
links. (before trying I would like to know if someone already has some
xperience of such a configuration)

Much thanks,


I tried
Everything was running fine

> Friendly,
> --
> Petter Reinholdtsen
> --
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Nicolas Pettiaux - email: nicolas.pettiaux@ael.be

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