[K12OSN] Re: Making donations work better

Ken Johnson kcjohnson at oidm.com
Wed Jun 2 02:08:37 UTC 2004


The CD worked perfectly and made up for the hours of frustration I've had
trying to get a client to run.

I've tried PXE boot and a boot floppy from two different client machine.
Both will DHCP an IP address then time out trying to load a kernel.


On 5/26/04 6:41 AM, "Tony Hadfield" <tony.hadfield at baesystems.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> There is already a live-cd which turns donated hardware into a thin client,
> the PXES Linux thin client.
> http://pxes.sourceforge.net/
> I've tried it out, works a treat!
> Just download the iso and burn it to CD.
> ________________
> Tony Hadfield 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Holmes Wilson [mailto:holmes at worcestercoop.org]
> Sent: 26 May 2004 09:54
> To: k12osn at redhat.com
> Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Re: Making donations work better
> Hi everyone,
> I just had a funny experience: I joined the list specifically to ask if
> anyone would be interested in working on a Live-CD to facilitate
> turning donated boxes into thin clients, and then while looking through
> recent archives to get a feel for the discussion, I stumbled across
> Steven's post where he proposed the exact same idea.  My angle on this
> is that last year some friends and I started a small organization in
> our town (Worcester, MA) where we're using donated computers and free
> software to set up LTSP labs and give free computers to participants.
> I know that schools, not small neighborhood labs, are probably the
> primary target for K12LTSP development.  But there is a huge potential
> for these kinds of labs because they can be put together on such a
> small budget--especially when you throw donated computers into the mix.
> And a tool like the one discussed would make setting up--and
> maintaining--these labs a lot simpler.
> I definitely appreciate Terrell's point that, in a larger, more
> complicated setting, things can quickly get unwieldy for administrators
> when you give powerful tools to people who don't understand how they
> work.  At the same time, I think that a streamlined system for making
> thin clients would make the deployment of LTSP labs a lot easier.  A
> few points (some of these have been made already):
> On donated computers:
> *Donated computers are free.  That is a huge advantage to groups that
> have volunteers but small budgets.
> *Linux is not always an easy sell.  Dramatic cost savings like these
> sweeten the deal.
> *Donated computers would otherwise be a problem for landfills.
> *Donated computers usually have PCI hardware, which means the NIC and
> video card is easily autodetected
> *Each year this becomes more true.
> *Donated computers do have one major disadvantage: they break.  But
> more donated machines are always plentiful.
> On the importance of making it easy:
> *Even for someone who knows what they are doing, it is a pain in the
> neck to turn donated boxes into thin clients ("where the heck is
> lts.conf again?")
> *There are tons people who know enough about computers to install a
> network card or walk through an install script who are quickly
> overwhelmed by the kind of command line stuff you have to do to make a
> new thin client from a donated computer.
> *Since donated computers break, it's important to be able to replace
> them.
> *The more people you have who can do this, the more flexible your
> division of labor.  Linux gurus can be called upon sparingly for
> trickier tasks.
> *When you improve ease-of-use you expand the pool of people who are
> qualified to deploy and maintain new labs, which means more people
> benefit from this awesome software.
> One of the most amazing things about LTSP labs is how low-maintenance
> they are.  We've had our lab up since last June, with young kids coming
> in to beat the heck out of it 4 days a week since then, on severely
> underpowered hardware, and there haven't been any problems.  That means
> that I can feel confident setting up a lab, training people on basic
> stuff (adduser, CUPS) and letting them run with it, with myself and
> more knowledgable people to contact in case there's a problem.  If they
> get a new box donated and want to add it as a client, it would be
> awesome if I could leave them with a simple way to do it that would
> work 80% of the time.
> Again, to return to Terrell's concern, I see this Live CD thing more as
> something that an administrator would make available to users, rather
> than something people would just download themselves and monkey around
> with.  Particularly because, as he points out, it's tricky to download
> and burn an .iso file.
> Anyway, I have a few friends that would be interested in working on
> something like this.  If anyone's interested in helping I could set up
> a Wiki for planning out the best way to do it.  Takers?
> Finally, this is my first post to this list, so first I'd really like
> to thank all the developers for the awesome work that's gone into the
> K12LTSP package.
> Holmes Wilson
> Worcester Computer Co-op
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