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Re: [K12OSN] Booting older thin clients



Yes, the cache is available to all. This is a case where coming in second is better than coming in first, as the first user/client to load an application has to read it from the disk, whereas the second user (and third and fourth, etc.) gets to take advantage of the cache of the app that was created when the first user started up the app.

A 2ghz machine with 1GB RAM will work just fine for five clients. You could probably even handle to eight or ten clients, depending on the apps they run, etc. But for demo purposes, use five clients so that people can see how quick it is. And by the way, handling, say 10-15 clients would just be a matter of adding another gig of memory which will cost you only about $100. Try that with Windows: getting 5-8 more speedy computers for just $100.

Petre

Kemp, Levi wrote:
And the cache applys to all the clients together correct? Once one loads it, the cache is on the server and its saved there for all. The only available computer to temp as a server would be a 2GHz Athlon with a Gig of RAM. I know IDE is slow, but thats all I have to work with. Think that will be enough for 5 pcs?
Levi

________________________________

From: k12osn-bounces redhat com on behalf of Petre Scheie
Sent: Thu 3/1/2007 11:08 AM
To: Support list for open source software in schools.
Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Booting older thin clients



Running Linux from the local hard drive won't be much different than running Windows
from the local hard drive, so your experience is 'normal'.  At 450mhz, the machines will
run, but things won't be snappy.

The REAL power of LTSP is when you install it on a fast, modern computer and then plug
old machines in as clients and applications run via the clients run lightning fast,
because they're actually running on the server, but appearing on the client.  Plus, you
hook up another old client and it seems fast, too.  And another, and another, and so on.

Understanding the concept is sometimes difficult for people who are used to thinking in
Windows' "one computer for each person" terms; it's even more difficult for
non-technical people to grasp, perhaps not even worth trying to explain.  But show it to
them and they'll get it, whether they understand it or not.

As to the fast server part, the cost of fast drops daily.  Right now, you can go to Best
Buy and get a $600 HP box that will support 8-10 client machines.  That's for a
dual-core box with 1GB of RAM; add another gig of RAM for $100 and you can double the
number of clients it will support.

So, borrow a fast machine if you must, or bring one from home.  Use at least a 7200RPM
drive with 8MB cache in it (sounds like you've got this kind of drive already).  Use
that for the server, and use your 450mhz machines as clients to that.  Then you'll see
speedy performance.

One more thing: When you show this off to people, be sure you've brought up the popular
applications beforehand, so that they're in cached memory.  The first time (after boot)
an app is loaded, it will be slower because it has to be loaded from the disk.  All
subsequent loads will be from cache and will happen quickly, e.g., from cache,
OpenOffice.org takes about 2.5 seconds to load, so that's what the clients will get.

Petre

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?

Levi

________________________________

From: k12osn-bounces redhat com on behalf of "Terrell Prudé Jr."
Sent: Thu 3/1/2007 10:18 AM
To: Support list for open source software in schools.
Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Booting older thin clients


I have one 3Com 3C905B NIC with a bootrom from disklessworkstations, and it works just great.  It's installed in a Pentium-166 w/ 32MB DRAM.  The only reason that I didn't order more is that we have a bunch of Dell OptiPlex GX1's that support PXE-booting.  :-)

--TP

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Microsoft Free since 2003 <http://www.gnu.org/> --the ultimate antivirus protection!



Michael Blinn wrote:

      Thank you - I ordered a test batch of bootrom NICs from disklessworkstations and will be booting old machines soon!
      Regards,
      Michael
Petre Scheie wrote:
              No, it's part of the x86 architecture, the same way it 'knows' to ask the floppy drive or hard drive for some sort of boot code.  I've got a 486 from 1994 or so with a bootrom NIC and it boots just fine (I just use it for showing off).  Any PC will do.
Petre Michael Blinn wrote:
                       Yeah, my adult users would lose the CDs (;
Does the NIC with bootrom route require a semi-new BIOS that can recognize a NIC as a boot device? If not, from a purely intellectual standpoint, how does the computer know to boot from it? Thanks Petre,
                       Michael
Petre Scheie wrote:
                              You can boot a thin client from a CD, just like you can boot one from a floppy disk.  And you can still use the CD drive and the floppy drive for Local Device Access (LDA).  But there are some tradeoffs.  First, to use the CD or floppy drive, users will have to remove the boot CD/floppy, which means they're going to lose the CD/floppy or scratch/break it or forget to put it back in, etc.  If your users are all adults, this might, MIGHT be manageable; but if your users are kids, I think you'll find it frustrating.  BTW, LDA does not support music CDs in the clients.
You can buy a NIC with a bootrom for $20 at disklessworkstations.com. These are great, and you never have to worry about losing the boot media. Of course, using an etherboot CD or floppy is cheaper, so it really depends on what your priority is.

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