[K12OSN] Preparing K12Linux F11

Terrell Prude' Jr. microman at cmosnetworks.com
Fri Jun 5 04:34:08 UTC 2009

Jeff Siddall wrote:
> Steven Santos wrote:
>> Terrell,
>> I think the case for LTS is as strong today as it always has been.  
>> I completely agree with you on including LTS 4.x in a Centros version.
>> Where I disagree with you is on legacy hardware being the driving factor.
>> Cost of operation is still the leading factor as far as I am concerned.
> I second that.
> I am new to LTSP and am rolling it out in a 10 user office on brand new
> hardware specifically because it is cheaper to support than an office
> full of fat clients.
> In my case I have one LTSP server (Phenom II X4 + 8 GB RAM) + 10
> mini-ITX thin clients (Intel Little Falls board + Morex T3310 + 1 GB RAM
> + 24" LCD).
> The server hardware cost about $1200 and the client hardware costs about
> $460 each for a total of $5800.
> Previously each of these 10 users was getting a $1000 Windows PC every 4
> years for a total of $10000.  Even if _all_ the LTSP equipment is
> forklifted every 4 years (which is unnecessary -- at least for the
> clients) then the total hardware cost of LTSP is still about 40% less
> than Windows fat clients.
> Add to that the energy savings of more than $2000 every 4 years, plus
> the centralized support savings and there is still an excellent business
> case to be made for LTSP on _brand new_ hardware.
> Jeff

I'm seeing two flaws in Jeff's argument.  The first is that he's 
comparing $1000 MS Windows PC's to an LTSP lab.  I, by contrast, am 
comparing $300 Ubuntu GNU/Linux machines to an LTSP lab.  BIG 
difference.  The second is that I'm talking about an LTSP 5 lab, not 
LTSP 4, with the business-case question.  An LTSP 5 solution requires 
considerably beefier hardware, client and server both, than LTSP 4.

Now, do that above calculation for a typical 20- to 30-seat K-12 
computer lab, and the LTSP 5 solution just got considerably more 
expensive by comparison.  The "ongoing maintenance" argument won't fly; 
the decision-makers will see that greater up-front cost and say "NO!" to 
LTSP-anything.  Remember, our expertise is geekdom; theirs is 
administration/education.  Different skill sets.

If we stick with LTSP 4, though, we can continue to reuse old PC's or 
even use $100 thin clients instead of $460/seat.  That $1200 server Jeff 
mentioned just became a fire-breathing screamer; I've done it on a a 
dual Athlon MP with 4GB DRAM.  Now, we just got way cheaper than even 
the $300 ZaReason boxes, and our case for LTSP remains very strong.


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