[K12OSN] K12Linux F10 Display problem

R. Scott Belford scott at hosef.org
Thu Feb 5 19:27:00 UTC 2009

In 2007 we ported the computer lab at an elementary school that had
helped give birth to Fedora.  It had been running thin clients since
the earliest of days.  I migrated them from the K12LTSP to Edubuntu.

At the time I did not fully appreciate the difference between LTSP 4
and LTSP 5 or just how nicely tweaked the lts.conf file had been in
the K12LTSP releases.  The migration was a debacle.  Upgrades from
Edubuntu 7.04 to 7.10 and then to 8.04 provided absolutely *no*
improvement in spite of very heavy activity on the edubuntu mailing
list.  My infamous post was entitled "edubuntu, a released debacle and
a practice in failure."

None of the "new" LTSP-based releases from Fedora or Edubuntu work on
the older computer so many of us are either limited to or already have
in place.  Do not upgrade unless you have money for newer equipment.
I have learned that the K12LTSP el, or Skolelinux, or DRBL, are my
only current alternatives for upgrading my existing labs.

I cannot even boot the new Fedora releases, and I've downloaded all 8
revisions through beta 4, on most of the servers that are donated to
us because they don't boot from DVD, and I don't have CD 1 for a
"linux askmethod" http install from a local server with the USB
keychain mounted to /var/www/k12ltsp as I do with the K12LTSPel
releases.  I will get some new CDs today to see if the Fedoara
netinstall disk will work for this purpose.  However, 90% of the
newcomers will not have this skill or tenacity, and they may not have
usb-booting servers with DVD drives.

This is not to disparage the amazing progress with Thin Clients via
LTSP5.  When you realize that the image the clients mount is a
compressed image, and that you can "virtually" offer many desktop
image profiles to various client configurations, you can smell and
taste the future.  This is the play that Sun is making with VirtualBox
and that Novell is making with its thin-client deployment.  You
virtualize the images at the server, and then provide multiple,
manageable images over the network.  It's great with new hardware, but
I am interested in helping those without new hardware.

So, I use DRBL, Skolelinux, and the K12LTSP el.  For all of the City
and County parks where HOSEF installed computer labs and free wifi, I
am ripping the awful Edubuntu footprint and replacing it with the
K12LTSP el.  For day to day client deployments, I find that DRBL is
outstanding because of its ability to work with 'fat' clients.  I have
an Asus eeePC running Debian and DRBL, and I use it to pxe boot my
Acer Aspire, my Sylvania G book, and other "new" chipsets.  This
provides the happy medium with new and old for me.

As far as what happened to the lab that helped give rise to Fedora, it
no longer runs thin clients.  It runs edubuntu at the desktop (they
had budget for new machines), and the clients use a CentOS box running
Samba, LDAP, and NFS for their roaming profile.


On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 5:41 AM, Joseph Bishay <joseph.bishay at gmail.com> wrote:
> It is interesting you say this Doug, as I now am in a similar
> situation.  My thin clients are all Pentium I with an S3trio64 onboard
> video card.  They work well under K12LTSP-EL but we were hitting a
> roadblock with sound, openoffice 3, and printing.
> I utilized the very-cool live USB version of K12Linux and it ends up
> that none of them will work using that system. I understand that it is
> not a specific thing that was done by K12Linux, but rather something
> to do with the drivers that the newer version of X.org ships with that
> is used by K12linux.  However, the end result is the same thing.  I
> need to scrap all my thin clients.  I've start to look for newer thin
> clients, but since everything we are doing is based on donations (even
> some of our admin staff are volunteer) I'm having a hard time finding
> newer machines that work with K12Linux.
> I don't know if there is a happy medium between the newer system and
> the older hardware.
> Joseph
> On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 8:19 AM, Doug Simpson
> <simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us> wrote:
>> Which leads me back to my original thing with K12LTSP.
>> Their early documentation stated that it was designed so that entities could take advantage of their older hardware and not have to upgrade all the "computers" to get the latest software. I took this to mean just that. I can use my older hardware, and just upgrade the "server" and let 'er fly. That has not been the case, however. . .
>> I had some terminals that worked GREAT under FC3 (with a bit if tweaking in the configs) and one of them was a 486-DX40 with 24MB of RAM. It did everything the grandyounguns wanted to do.
>> Next version, I could no longer get that one to work.
>> I do realize that a 486 is archaic and it wouldn't really hurt my feelings to not use it, but from the get-go, the system was designed to be able to use older hardware and not upgrade every time you turn around. With each new distro, it seems to be getting farther and farther away from that model.
>> Doug
>> Doug Simpson
>> Technology Specialist
>> De Queen Public Schools
>> De Queen, AR
>> simpsond at leopards.k12.ar.us
>> "A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned"
>>>>> John Baillie <jbaillie at stmarys-school.org> 2/4/2009 2:58 PM >>>
>> Hello,
>> We are still running K12LTSP release 4.2.1EL-1
>> 2 Servers with about 100 concurrent  users.
>> This setup has served us well and has been hands off for three plus years.
>> I plugged in the k12 live usb (pretty slick) and booted a few of the lab
>> terminals with mixed results.
>> We have a mixture of  CRTs and LCDs and some of them will not display.
>> The clients are all Compaq DS51 and DS5S
>> We ran into the same problem when we demoed the latest ubuntu a few
>> months back.
>> I'm guessing that the newer x servers don't work well with the older
>> hardware we have and it has nothing to do with a particular
>> distribution. It's looking like we will have to dig in and make some
>> manual adjustments to the display properties.
>> I'm looking around /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/X11 but it is not obvious where I
>> should make changes.
>> John
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