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Re: [K12OSN] k12LTSP Documentation

On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 7:08 PM, Peter Scheie <peter scheie homedns org> wrote:
> K12LTSP-EL5, which is LTSP 4.2 running on Centos 5, works well with older
> client hardware.  It's solid, and unless your needs change, it works quite
> reliably. It's age is irrelevant, and updates to the base OS are still
> coming out.  To install it, just boot the server from the DVD and choose the
> default installation options; you'll have a server all set to go in about 30
> minutes.
> However, as time passes, people often want to do more with their LTSP
> setups, things like automatically detecting new sound & video chips and
> running applications on the clients because they have the hardware to
> support this.  To do these things, and to address a variety of other issues,
> LTSP 5 implementations, such as K12Linux, use the packages that come from
> the distributions, and people from various distributions have gotten much
> more involved in the process.  This makes it easier to update the client
> software so that it can handle things like newer video chipsets found in the
> clients, but at the expense of possibly not working with older hardware.
>  The dichotomy is this: 'Bob' has shiny new 2Ghz clients with 2GB RAM that
> he wants to use to handle some of the software load so he doesn't need as
> hefty a server; 'Sara' has old 200mhz PIIs with 64MB but has a decent
> server.  The software can't really stretch to fit with well with both
> scenarios.  But being FOSS, the older version(s) will always be available to
> anyone who wants it. No sales rep has a commission riding on you upgrading
> to the latest version. If K12LTSP EL5 works with your hardware and does what
> you need, don't worry about what version it is or how new or old it is; to
> do so is to buy into the marketing mania that drives many institutions to
> waste money on things they don't really need.  You can, incidently, update
> individual applications on the server, as some have done, for example, with
> OpenOffice.org.  It's not automatic, but it can be done.  Or just setup a
> separate server to host the new application, using a more modern OS. With
> LTSP, it's all remote display anyway; users won't know that it's coming from
> a different server.
> A Centos-based K12Linux will come eventually, but because RHEL/Centos 5
> don't contain some significant necessary pieces for supporting LTSP 5, I
> suspect that it won't happen until RHEL/Centos 6 are out (and I've not heard
> of a timetable for that).
> I still deploy K12LTSP EL5 in small offices and schools, using old PCs as
> clients, and it works just fine thankyouverymuch.  The lifespan of Fedora is
> too short to install K12Linux in these settings.  Stability is more
> important than flashy in these cases. In other cases, K12Linux is more
> appropriate. I use what fits.  Others on this list do likewise.
> As for the wiki, it's a community effort, meaning people document problems
> and solutions as they encounter them. There's no real coordination.  If
> there's something missing that you wish were there, add it.  This is a
> user-based project.
> BTW, for anyone having trouble getting K12Linux installed onto a USB stick,
> consider unetbootin (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/) which will install
> (almost) any ISO file onto a USB stick.
> Peter

Excellent explanation of the situation Peter, very insightful and accurate.

BTW RHEL6 is *rumored* to be coming out in the first half of 2010 and
be based mainly on Fedora 11. I suspect ext4 will be a big new

Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada

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