[K12OSN] Booting older thin clients

Jim Kronebusch jim at winonacotter.org
Thu Mar 1 19:31:51 UTC 2007

On Thu, 1 Mar 2007 10:51:59 -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 myself?

As everyone has suggested, yes, Gnome or KDE equipped distros running locally
will perform no better.  When you hear of Linux being able to run on older
thin clients where as Windows can't comes from the many options and choices
out there.  You can go with something like LTSP and use a server as your
horsepower if you'd like.  But if you just want to run local distros without
getting into LTSP check out stuff like DSL (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org) or
DSL-N (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsl-n/).  These are very small and very
lightweight distros that will run circles around Windows on your machines. 
However the lighter weight the distro, the less eyecandy.  Functionality is
just as good, you can still run OpenOffice, but it may not be as appealing
when trying to show others how "great" Linux is.  Many users base
functionality off of eye candy.  But if you just want to see how fast those
old machines can be, try out one of the 2 distros above.  DSL-N is slightly
larger but has more features and a newer kernel.

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