Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Playing Around with Thin Clients

Today I really realized that summer is coming to a close and that I hadn't done anything cool with Linux in a while.  Since I just received a mildly powered desktop (thanks Emily!), I figured finally getting the LTSP thin client server working would be a cool project.

Ubuntu explains it pretty well, but thin clients are pretty much just another computer, that is only used to display programs running on a central server.  The classic application is in a school's computer lab: You have one powerful server running all the applications, and you have a lot of cheap underpowered desktops around the room for people to log into.  Since reading something in Firefox doesn't take that much processing power, the one server can handle many more thin clients.

I have been trying to get LTSP, Linux's thin client server, to work since Wednesday noonish, with little success.  I tried installing it on a 64 bit install of Hardy, but 64 bit and 32 bit weren't playing nice.  I then made the mistake of trying to install Intrepid Ibex alpha 4.  I don't know what Ubuntu's problem is, but I haven't been happy with anything they've released since Feisty.  I never managed to get Hardy to install on anything until they rereleased the CD with a bunch of fixes.  I understand that this is an alpha release, but I remember a year ago when I was able to at least install the alphas.  They would crash, and bork after upgrading something, but they at least freakin installed...

I've managed to get Ibex to install after restarting it three times, although LTSP borked and I had to skip it.  Now I'm trying to build the thin client environment as per Ubuntu's instructions.  Once I get this working, it will be really cool.  Two people can log into either of my desktops and be using the same browser with the same history and the same saved files as last time.

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