[K12OSN] Update on LTSP Booting Speed

Stephen Crampton SteveSings at gmail.com
Sat Sep 13 20:42:46 UTC 2008

Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to respond to numerous
questions I have asked.

I wanted to update you on what actions I have taken and what the
status of the lab is.

First, to clarify matters, the server I am currently using has two
Athlon 64-bit processors, running at (I think) 2.4 GHz, and 4 GB of
memory.  In addition to the built-in 100Mbps Ethernet card, it has a 1
Gbps Ethernet card and an IDE hard drive.

I installed K12LTSP 5EL.  By default the installer chose the Gbps
Ethernet card for the LTSP clients.

I'm using a managed switch that has 24 100Mbps ports and 4 1Gbps
ports.  The LTSP server, of course, is plugged into one of the 1Gbps
ports.  I went into the management web administrator and turned off
the spanning-tree stuff.

I have three old computers that seem to have no problem booting up on
the system.  Also, I recently acquired a Nohrtec Microclient, Sr.,
which boots off the system and seems to be capable of running blender
over LTSP.

I originally wanted 30 thin clients, because my class sizes get that
big, however, it now looks like I will get 15 thin clients for the
rest of this year.  Because of the school district's procurement
policies, we are being steered toward Wyse thin clients, which I do
not know much about, but which look like they might make capable thin
clients.  I hope to have the thin clients within a few weeks.

Until then, I have about 10 other computers at my disposal.  They are
Lenovo ThinkCentre machines and I have been having problems getting
them to boot on the network.  (I cannot touch their hard drives.)  It
has been suggested that the problem is the tg3 module, but I'm not
sure what I can do about it.  I tried adding NIC=tg3 to the default
file and also backporting the ltsp-client, but to no avail.

To make these 10 computers useful, I am currently trying to make a
custom live cd to boot them.  I installed Fedora 9 on an old machine
at home and livecd-tools.  For some reason, the process has crashed
twice, logging me out in the process.  In both cases, the computer was
unattended and it may be the problem has to do with power management
(I'll try to disable it).  I wonder whether I can get the livecd
platforms to log in and use the LTSP server's /home directory.

To make blender and other applications run more quickly, I also want
to figure out how to get them to run locally on the clients.  The
clients are all powerful enough, even the fanless ones.  It seems to
me that the ideal setup would have the LTSP server serve the operating
system and applications to the clients and then let them do most of
the work.  You would be able to have low-profile, energy efficient
clients, but you might be able to serve a lot of them with one
reasonable powerful server.

Best regards,
Steve Crampton

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