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[K12OSN] Poor performance woes



I have a K12Linux setup based on EL6-64. The TC's are ancient i686's with 256M RAM and 10/100 nics. The TS has a gigE NIC, and between the TS & TCs is a managed switch with 2 gigE ports and 24 10/100 ports. The TS is connected via one of the gigE's.

We have a student who is having real performance problems when he loads a page. I went in today to be there while he was experiencing woe, and ran the system monitor applet.

When he loads the web page - with no flash in it that I can find - the network maxes out at 12MiB/sec, and it takes an eternity for the page to load. He reports that sometimes this particular page will cause the TC to crash (black screen with text followed by login screen), but he was not able to reproduce that while I was there. I suspect there is some user error involved in the crash scenario, but it will be difficult to prove.

I had tried running firefox as a local app last month, but the school needs flash, and it requires 512M. Performance on these TC's was substantially worse when running FF as a local app, so I backed off of that.

The page he was trying to load is password protected, but I had him ctrl-U while he had it open, and save the source to a file which I can share if need be. It is filled with javascript, but I'm not sure that's the culprit (though it seems the most likely suspect). I found no .flv, FLV, .swf, or .SWF in the file anywhere.

As an experiment, I connected a monitor, keybd, and mouse directly to the server and had him login there. The page loads just fine that way. That might be a possible solution, but for some reason, the display is incredibly blurry. If I make that permanent, I'd have to run some cable through the wall (they're pinched in the door right now, and barely reach).

Before they called me in to look at this, he had been bringing his mom's laptop to school so he could do his work (it's an online course). If it crashes while he is taking a quiz, he loses a test attempt or gets a bad grade, so this has to be reliable.

His mom is on the school board, and she is pushing the school to abandon LTSP in favor of a Windows solution. They think that if they install some flavor of windows on the TC's they will get better performance, but I believe they won't, as flash will need 512M no matter the OS. I think they will need all new PC's if they go that route.

I am on the cusp of losing my network to Windows, at which point I will resign my post as unpaid volunteer sysadmin, so if I sound a little desperate, now you know why.

Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

--
Jim Thomas            Principal Applications Engineer  Bittware, Inc
jthomas bittware com  http://www.bittware.com    (603) 226-0404 x536
The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present - Hobbes


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