[K12OSN] Life after LTSP

Robert Arkiletian robark at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 05:25:43 UTC 2010

On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 6:38 PM, Rob Owens <rowens at ptd.net> wrote:
> 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.

No. Unfortunately, server and clients must be same arch. Only one
exception see below.

> 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.

Apparently, DRBL can do this too with DSL or Puppy ( or other small
live linux  iso) But I have not tried it yet.


> 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.

BTW DRBL is made by the same guys that make Clonezilla.

Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada

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