[K12OSN] 64 bit ltsp vs. virtualization

Luis Montes monteslu at cox.net
Tue Jun 24 02:45:02 UTC 2008

James P. Kinney III wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-06-23 at 07:49 -0700, Luis Montes wrote:
>> I'm placing an order today for a new server. The school I'm using it at 
>> has about 75 thin clients.
>> Currently we're using an smbldap serer and two dual-core 4GB ram servers.
>> I'm gonna spend 5 or 6 K today on a 64bit 8-core 16GB ram monster. (well 
>> monster compared to what I have right now)
> Sounds like a name-brand Dell, HP, etc. Overpriced to buy and overpriced
> to maintain.

They're not that bad. I could probably part it all out and save a bit 
building it myself, but I like the 3 year on site warranty. I've been 
building my own workstations and servers for the last 14 years and have 
acquired a distaste for it :)

>> Now I'd like to just add this new box to the network as another ltsp 
>> server using 64 bit edubuntu or fedora+ltsp, but so far my couple of 
>> months with a 64 bit desktop have me thinking this might not be the best 
>> approach.
>> The main problem I have is that Adobe's has yet to get off their butts 
>> and product a 64bit flash plugin. I know I can use the nspluginwrapper 
>> but it only seems to work about half the time, and when it does work, 
>> half the time sound doesn't.  I imagine that sound through the thin 
>> clients will be even more troublesome.
> The solution to the flash problem is to use the 32-bit firefox and
> associated components for multimedia. Then the flash player works just
> fine. You will need to get the 32-bit version of xine, mplayerplug-in
> and the associated requirements all in 32-bit. Happily, the 32-bit stuff
> plays very nicely in a 64-bit sandbox!
> You will need to tinker and make pulseaudio run on the server so that
> flash will be happy. 

This doesn't sound too bad. I imagine it'll be a bit of work up front 
figuring out all the dependencies, but I guess I'll only have to figure 
out what all the pieces are once.

>> The other option I have is to load centos5.1 or ubuntu 8.04 on the new 
>> server and something like vmware server to slice it up with 4 or so 
>> 32bit guests.
> Load up K12LTSP-EL v. 5.1 (Centos based) and use the 64-bit version so
> you can use directly the full 16GB RAM. Don't bother with the vmware
> slices as it won't get you anything of benefit.

My only problem with K12ltsp-el is that it's still based on ltsp4. All 
of the cool new development is happening on ltsp 5.
I've been using edubuntu for the last year, and k12ltsp for the 5  years 
or so before that. I still like redhat based distros better and edubuntu 
was rough around the edges (at least as of 7.04), but   the 
fedora/centos ltsp5 versions still seem to be in their infancy.
I'm just volunteering so I can only do upgrades over the summer. 
Hopefully I can be back on fedora or centos next summer.

The benefit of virtualization is cloning and rolling back when i screw 
something up, but if I can easily use all the ram in the server without 
it I'll skip it.

Thanks for the input!


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