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[K12OSN] W98 client setup for Samba

Hi all,
I have a few questions. Any little guidance can help me get up to speed
when I will not waste time in dead-ends.
No doubt that almost everyone on this forum had dealt with similar issues ...

I am one of PTA volunteers maintaining computer lab at Nixon Elementary in
Palo Alto, California. http://www.nixon.palo-alto.ca.us/
Our computer lab has 20 Win98 workstations connected to NT domain. (NT4
server - ready to be obsoleted by a RH Linux/Samba server). To prevent kids
from messing up the desktop and other settings I am running server-based
(roaming) mandatory profiles for each of the stations. This is not the way
profiles were intended to be used primarily - but it works. We are using
computer-based logons (each computer has a "username" which is the only
name used to connect to the domain from the specific station) so having 20
profiles doesn't represent any problem.

Now I want to switch to Samba where I have unique logon names for each of
the students as well as of the kids. Here I certainly do not want to
maintain user profiles - not only wasting of server and workstation space
or increasing time to complete logon but  users shouldn't have customized
configuration (desktop) anyway.
Having the desktop "locked" as suggested at 
This seemed to be promising - but for some reason it doesn't work for me.
Perhaps it doesn't work with profiles on (or off?)?...

- The ideal case might be - in my opinion - having the setting configured
(and locked) for each computer individually with no way to delete, add or
even move desktop items when a STUDENT is logged on. (Also other
restriction as SW installation may be enforced).  I spent a day with
POLEDIT changing registry with no luck.

Certainly there should be a way to modify settings - that would be when an
ADMIN member (or a teacher) would log on.
Is there a simple way to have that happens? Preferably w/o profiles
individual to each of the users?
(I was thinking of a *very dirty* way how to make the system locked: In
AUTOEXEC.BAT at the windows boot I can keep overwriting USER.DAT and
SYSTEM.DAT. This would be a real hack and can lead to more trouble. And
also - we don't want to reboot the machine too often (or even  between logons).

I may try to set-up policies - but if I understand right it is necessary to
switch PROFILES on in order to have policies working. Is this right? That
might mean dealing with hundreds of profiles again?

As I saw in some of the posts here, I may keep deleting locally stored
profiles in logon script. That would be a must if  we would really use
individual profiles, as our wimpy station machines cannot handle over a
hundred of profile copies on the local drives.

What way would be the best? 

Another issue:
Whatever I did on Samba configuration I wasn't able to separate 
"logon home" from "logon path". The best I can achieve so far is to have a
hidden directory (.profiles) inside of  "logon home" directory. /home is
mapped so students can use it as their home directory - so it doesn't look
safe - when eventually using profiles.

Thanks for any help!

Martin Vana
PTA volunteer
Palo Alto, California
martin_vana usa net

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