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Re: [K12OSN] Any one used SYMBIO?

Are you using the The Symbiont Boot Appliance (SBA)?
Or just the management suite on top of K12LTSP ?


Steve Hargadon wrote:
I use Symbio Technologies products all the time.  I know there's a bit
of a commercial / free software conflict, but there are some things
that their software does that I really appreciate.

First, I should say that I am doing commercial installations for
schools.  Meaning, I help a school purchase a server and set it up,
and then convert their existing machines to thin clients.  My school
customers tend to be schools that are struggling with technology
issues, and without LTSP would not have adequate computing resources
(thanks again to all involved in LTSP).  However, they also don't have
the time or resources or knowledge to start LTSP from scratch, but
once implemented are eager to learn and be self-sufficient.

Here's what I like about the Symbiont Management Suite, which I now am
trying to use every time I set up LTSP.

1.  All of the configuration settings that the school would have to do
by hand for individual workstations can be done from a gui interface.

2.  Specific hardware configurations for workstations can be saved and
applied as a template to other workstations with the same hardware

3.  Workstations can be grouped (say by classroom), and from that
grouping you can apply certain default settings or see the status of
the workstations at any point in time.

4.  User and workstation status indicators are readily available, so
you can see who is logged on, what workstations are running, and who
is actually on a given workstation.

5.  Because the program is based on webmin, I can remotely view the
same screens that my user is looking at, and I can talk them (easily)
through adding a workstation, or changing a display resolution, or
setting up a printer.  This is way easier than trying to show them the
coding of a configuration file.

6.  The program has a setting that doesn't allow anonymous
logins--this is super helpful on the initial setup.  When a
workstation boots up for the first time and is trying to get an IP
address from dhcp, the program tells you what the mac address of that
machine is, and lets you give it a name and apply a hardware
configuration template to it.  It may not seem like much, but when you
are trying to help someone get 60 computers up, being able to quickly
name each computer (example, FirstA--meaning first grade, computer A)
and then apply the CompaqDeskpro 2000 hardware settings, and then
group it in the first grade room makes keeping track of everything
really easy.  It also makes it very easy for the principal or tech
coordinator to see and understand what is going on.

7.  You can send a message to an individual user.

8.  I find that sound is well supported when Symbiont Mangement Suite
is installed.

9.  Technical support.  You buy Symbionts products through a VAR, but
as the VAR I am able to get training and help, which is really nice to
have as a backup--since as much as I love and appreciate this list, it
really helps to have someone with direct responsibility to help you
solve a problem.

There are other features that I haven't learned to use, but these are
the practical ones that have made it worthwhile to me to encourage my
customers to purchase the Symbiont program when I am doing an


On 5/8/05, Richard Johnson <richard richardljohnson com> wrote:

I just read an article in the May issues of Liux Magazine on SYMBIO. Has
anyone used it and if so what is your thought on it?


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