[K12OSN] Booting Acer One from SD card?

Peter Scheie peter at scheie.homedns.org
Sat Nov 29 15:54:46 UTC 2008

The discussion of Brian's 45 Acer Ones jives with something I've been thinking 
about. I want to get an A1, but I'll need a few months to save up for it.  In 
the meantime, I'll have to live vicariously through you, Brian. ;-)

On #ltsp, someone mentioned using netbooks as 'wireless pseudo thin clients' (my 
term).  They had installed just enough of linux to get NX running and then 
pointed that at the LTSP server.  This has been discussed before, sometimes 
described as a 'chubby client'.  It gives you the advantage of having all the 
apps in one place (the server) but also the advantage of wireless.  The person 
on #ltsp said that the use of NX kept the wireless bandwidth consumption low 
enought to support a whole classroom with one WAP, and was, if I recall 
correctly, under 100K per user.

The downside of this arrangement is that you have to install an OS, a 
specialized one at that, onto each A1, which means that scaling up is more more 
difficult from a management standpoint.  Predictablility is paramount for most 
teachers, and having the OS on the client not boot because someone messed with 
it can ruin a computer system's reputation.  My latest idea is to put the OS 
onto an SD card and boot the A1 from that.  1GB SD cards are cheap, about $5, 
maybe less if you bought a large quantity.  You could burn a bunch of these 
including extras, give the extras to the teacher(s), so that if, when the kids 
grab the A1s for whatever project, one says "This one's not booting", the 
teacher can just pop in a new SD card.  This does have the problem of kids 
taking the SD card, but it's easier to deal with than needing to have the A1 in 
your possession to actually getting it working which would be the case if the 
internal storage were used.

Any thoughts on this idea?


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