[sf-lug] Slides from UbuCon @ LinuxWorld 2008

toya toya at linefeed.org
Tue Aug 12 18:13:05 PDT 2008

Hi Sameer,

Very interesting history. In Brazil I used to work for the Ministry 
of Communications who has a project called 'Gesac', where we found a
simular solution for when you have nice machines as clients.
Gesac is a digital inclusion project which creates free internet access
for poor, remotes communities. It has over 3 thousand of this computer
labs spread all over the country receiving satelite internet connection.
It exist since 2003, besides access to the internet, we would also provide
some services for free to the communities like, trainnings, video/audio
stream, a wiki, a cms, hosting places for websites produced by them, voip,
24/7 technnical support via internet/phone. 

I worked as a consultant for the Ministry on building the services we 
provide and also within the communities giving trainnings and specially 
teaching them about hardware and the most important concepts of a Operation
System, free software, specially about linux, about the many distributions,
how is the system architeture and some internet related stuff.

It was a really good project but it didn't had that much money and it was
a battle to keep it going.
we had to deal with machines running with 64MB memory, no HD..hehe mostly
junk from the government basement (specially the bank of brazil) that was
donated to the communities. Sometimes NGOÅ's, companies or the municipal
government would add some money or better equipment to help out the project.
The federal government was mostly dedicating their budget to provide the 
internet connection and those services, but they would also give 1 good 
computer that would be the server for the thin client network (normally we
would build a network with 20 machines). Anw, LTSP was a great solution 
for us till when the 'quality' of the donations started to grown:)
and we start to receive better machines so we started to investigate for
a better solution which at the time was XDMCP, where you run X in the 
thin clients - at this point our machines *did* had a hd!

I took a quick look at the ubuntu solution you pointed out and remind 
me of XDMCP.


> Hi Toya,
> We've been using LTSP for over one year now. We've had our Ubuntu-based 
> Linux lab for three years now. In fact, now that I think of it, we have 
> had Linux machines in our labs for a while now. Before we had Ubuntu 
> machines, we had RedHat, SuSE and even Lycoris at one point 
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoris_(company))! Anyway, the 
> significant problem with individual installs was in keeping the machines 
> maintained. That's why we switched to LTSP with Edubuntu.
> That worked great, but some budget somewhere yielded to a complete lab 
> upgrade, which resulted in core duos on each desktop (thank you, 
> taxpayers!). while LTSP worked well in the thin client setup, having 
> core duos with 2GB RAM sitting there doing the work of a PII with 64MB 
> RAM was somehow not justifiable. How do we leverage the power of each of 
> the 32 workstations? That's where the lowfat client came in. 
> (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/LTSPFatClients)
> It works a lot better because the lowfat configuration allows for 
> crunching on each workstation locally, while loading the server with 
> networking, dhcp, nfs, ldap and backups etc. Latency-sensitive apps 
> perform much better. USB media plugged into the workstation also behaves 
> well because now it is actually working locally. Updating the image is a 
> bit more work, but not that much of a hassle.
> Sameer

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