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Re: [K12OSN] Booting older thin clients

James P. Kinney III wrote:
On Thu, 2007-03-01 at 10:51 -0600, Kemp, Levi wrote:
Ok I have to ask at the risk of sounding ignorent. I asumed that Linux
was going to be running a great deal faster on some of my older
systems than it is. Maybe its the hardware, or it could be the setup.
I havn't set them up as diskless yet because we need to familiarize
ourselves with everything first. Aside from that we have a lot of
Compaq iPaqs 450Mhz with Ram ranging from 128 to 256. They are PXE
capable but right now I'm running it off the local HD, varying amounts
20GB 40GB and 80GB, all Western Digital 7200RPM drives. They don't
appear to be doing much better then XP is and if I can't show that it
will be worth it I won't be able to get the Admin to move on the
project. Any suggestions? Should I just set up a diskless and see for


There are many factors that determine the felt speed of the system. The
greatest factor is RAM. If the system has minimal RAM (128MB is
considered minimal) then heavy environments like gnome and KDE will feel

Now add that these are older IDE drives that have slow IO and very slow
CPU speeds.

So as far as running these old boxes as desktops, they will be slow
since they are underpowered.

But using them as thin clients eliminates most of these issues. All of
the computational work gets done on the _server_ and the load on the
client is minimal. 128MB RAM is just fine as well as the 450MHz CPU. 

The key there is the server has some CPU horsepower and RAM. All the
client has to do is spit bits on the screen.


And that's why my Pentium-166 thin client feels like a dual-Athlon machine.  My K12LTSP server is the dual-Athlon.  Everything (Firefox, OpenOffice.org, KDE/GNOME, etc.) runs on the dual Athlon, not on the Pentium-166.  It's basically a graphical dumb-terminal, like back in the mainframe "green screen" days.

I agree with James; don't try running those old boxes as standalone "fat clients" like you used to do with Windows 98.  The only way that would feasibly work is if you use a "micro" GNU/Linux distribution like Damn Small Linux (yes, that's its official name), which fits on a 50MB mini-CD.  But that probably isn't what you're looking for.

Go ahead and set up diskless.  That's the way you run LTSP/K12LTSP anyway, so that's the proper demo to have.  Whenever I demo K12LTSP, I *always* go diskless + server.


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