[K12OSN] OT: Apple Imac lab

Rob Owens rowens at ptd.net
Fri Feb 27 22:02:34 UTC 2009

On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 03:18:42PM -0500, David Hopkins wrote:
> > PowerPC Apple boxes don't use PXE; they use a system more akin to how Sun
> > boxes net-boot.  That said, they make fine thin clients assuming they've got
> > decent screen resolution.  That'll of course depend on when it was made.
> This would be a completely new lab with new hardware.  Probably 20"
> all-in-one units.
> > Since you're talking about iMacs, that means they all use the newer
> > OpenFirmware, like all other "NewWorld" PPC Macs.  You should be able to
> > netboot these things just fine.  However, if you run into trouble with that,
> > I've done basic Yellow Dog Linux installs with pretty much just X11 (no
> > GNOME, KDE, Firefox, or any of that other stuff).  Just enough to get X11 to
> > run.  Then you can stick the following in the rc.local file.
> >
> >   X -query w.x.y.z
> >
> > where w.x.y.z is your LTSP server.  This alternate strategy works very well
> > with anything, regardless of architecture, just so long as you've got X11
> > installed (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, any GNU/Linux, Slowaris, whatever)
> >
> > So, if it's dirt-cheap, has 10/100 like all iMacs should, and has decent
> > screen resolution, then yeah, go for it!
> >
> I think the estimated cost is almost $40K for this lab.  I"m not keen
> on it, but I was asked about it.  If someone can show me a way to do
> movie editing, sound editing, etc with OSS and local apps using the
> latest k12Linux, I would be ecstatic.
If the school is willing to spend money on new hardware, why not compare an all-Mac lab to an all-Linux lab, without using LTSP.  That's more of an
apples-to-apples comparison.  LTSP isn't always the best solution, and it sounds like standalone Linux systems would have a better chance against
standalone Macs in this case (specifically because of the video and audio editing).

$40K would buy you at least 50 pretty nice white-box machines with 22"
widescreen monitors.  Probably closer to 60.


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