[K12OSN] Life after LTSP

Rob Owens rowens at ptd.net
Wed Nov 10 02:38:08 UTC 2010

On Mon, Nov 08, 2010 at 12:27:06PM -0800, Robert Arkiletian wrote:
> 2)
> DRBL. This is the route I have taken. It's similar to ltsp boot
> process via pxe but ALL processes run locally. Only the filesystem is
> remote via nfs. There is no need for special plumbing for sound or
> local devices. Everything works like a stand alone system. Except the
> first time to launch (not run) apps is slightly longer since the
> binary needs to be downloaded into local ram from the network before
> it can be run. One user can't hog ram or cpu. Full class of full
> screen video and flash, no problem. I even have had an entire class of
> students simultaneously install and run Ubuntu in a Virtualbox VM on
> top of  the diskless client OS. Local apps with LTSP cannot do this.
> Although I do have dual gigabit nics for the lan and hardware raid 10
> for the server. Each client can have it's own nfs mounted /etc and
> /var so there can still be customization per client.
Does DRBL have provisions for running a different architecture on the
server and the clients?  Last I checked it did not.  Of course that's
only an issue if you're using old clients, and pretty soon "old clients"
will be 64 bit anyway.

I'll add another option to the list.  I've never tested it, but Debian
Live has network version which downloads an entire compressed live image
from a server to a client.  I think it can be done either via pxe or
a syslinux menu.  This allows each client to run a live system (similar
to a live cd or live usb) without having to physically distribute a cd
to the clients.

As I understand it, you can use a USB flash drive to save your files and
settings (it's referred to as "persistence").  I wonder if the
persistence files could also be installed on a central server.

In any case, a network-distributed Debian Live would be similar to DRBL
in practice.  It might require less per-client configuration, since a
live system is designed to boot and run on just about anything.  It
would definitely be architecture independent.  An amd64 server could
serve out images for i386, ARM, etc.

I'm not sure if other distros have a similar option with their live
systems or not.


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