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Re: [K12OSN] LTSP on OSX

It seems there is a lot of confusion in this discussion.

Let's say you have an x86 Linux PC booted and running an X server.  That
machine is capable of displaying any X client application from any machine
that can run the app.  So, for example, I could telnet or ssh to a
Sun Ultra running Solaris and run an xterm or whatever.  It does not
matter if the "server" machine (the Sun in this case) is running
an X server or not, or even if it is capable of running one or not.

So, if you can get X client applications for OSX (like xterm or
abiword or whatever), you should be able to run them there and display
them on any Linux box running an X server.  I don't know what X apps
are available on OSX, but I seem to be hearing that a lot are or will
be available.  This assumes that OSX supports multiple users (Apple
hasn't somehow crippled BSD).  I haven't used OSX, so I can't comment.

As for booting a thin client, that really only requires DHCP, TFTP,
and NFS, right?  I would bet that you could get DHCP and TFTP servers
for OSX (if they aren't there already).  I have no idea about NFS,
but again, being BSD-based, I would bet something could be done
there, if it isn't already available.  You would have to install
all the LTSP support files, like Linux kernels and such (the
stuff that is under /tftpboot/...), but those are just files to
be served by NFS as far as OSX is concerned.

There is no reason that I can see why xdm (or gdm or kdm or whatever)
can't also run on OSX, but I could be mistaken there.  I don't think
you need to be running a local X server in order to run xdm.  I
believe you could configure xdm to manage only remote requests.

As I have said, I haven't used OSX, so I don't know how much of
what is available for BSD is available for OSX.  If the answer is
"most or all", then it shouldn't be too hard to put together
something like LTSP for OSX.  Most Linux things could be made
available, but I don't know what changes Apple has made to the
kernel or the status of BSD ports for the types of apps and libs
that would be desired.

To make a long story short, the GUI capabilities of the "server"
machine are mostly irrelevant for thin-client usage.  What matters
are things like NFS and X client app support.


Kirk Rheinlander wrote:
> Chris,
> OSX client (desktops) can be X Servers (this is a confusing set of
> terminology, but "X" [windowing] servers run on client platforms). You can
> have an LTSP server, with Macs as clients, but the windowing interface into
> the LTSP server will be "X" and not Aqua (you need to run an "X" server
> application under OSX on the client). But, as another post has indicated,
> you can run these side by side.
> Apple has a new OSX Server called XServe. A 1U rack mount server, with
> unlimited licenses. It is NOT a terminal server, per se, but a traditional
> UNIX server with file and print sharing. LTSP will NOT (Jim, correct me if
> I am wrong here) run on the XServe platform, at least not today.
> LTSP's big benefit is being able to remote boot nearly stripped PC terminal
> clients, with everything running on the server (kinda' a graphical
> mainframe environment), vs. traditional file/print server, which provides
> shared services to a "fat" client (one with the OS, local disk, probably
> local apps, etc.).
> Hope this helps.
> Kirk
> At 10:07 AM 5/23/2002, you wrote:
> >I was reading a previous article here about OSX being *nix based (Free
> >BSD?). And i was curious is it possible to have an OSX box as a LTSP server?
> >The aqua interface is much nicer than what kde or gnome has.
> >
> >Chris
> >
> >
> >
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Don Christensen       Senior Software Development Engineer
djc cisco com         Cisco Systems, Santa Cruz, CA
  "It was a new day yesterday, but it's an old day now."

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