Last step before LTSP 5.2

ltsp

Tonight I released both LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) 5.1.99 and LDM (LTSP’s display manager) 2.0.54.
Next up will be LTSP 5.2 that will basically be a bugfix release of 5.1.99 that should be rock solid and that we hope we’ll be able to use as a reference in the future.

LTSP 5.1.99 is bringing a lot of changes, optimizations and bug fixes as well as improvements in areas that haven’t been touched for a long time.
Here’s a quick overview:

  • Add Fat client support for Ubuntu (more on that after)
  • General optimization (using shell built-ins when possible, implement caching, improved data parsing, …)
  • Implement nbd-proxy for more stability (developed by Revolution Linux to prevent SQUASHFS errors and properly handle NBD fail-over)
  • Properly save/restore IFS (avoid some bugs that are usually very hard to debug)
  • Implement vendor specific functions in ltsp-build-client
  • Update a lot of ltsp-build-client plugins, sharing more code between Debian and Ubuntu, improving existing common functions
  • Speed up boot process by starting more functions in background and fixing tty/vt detection for flickerless boot

That’s of course not a complete changelog of what happened in 5.1.99, more details can be found in the package changelog or looking at the bzr branch history.

Now, to come back to that Fat client thing, recently, thin clients are getting a lot thicker. What we are now considering as recent thin clients, are actually the exact same hardware as netbooks and these are perfectly capable of running a full desktop.

That Fat client change adds the possibility to do something like:
ltsp-build-client --arch i386 --dist lucid --fat-client --fat-client edubuntu-desktop

And next time you boot, you’ll get the exact same LTSP login screen and will still be logging in against that same LTSP server, only difference, nothing will be running on the server, everything will be running locally. Of course locally means from the NBD image, there’s still no harddisk involved 🙂
Home directory gets mounted over sshfs which will work fine with most applications.

Thanks to both Jonathan Carter and Άλκης Γεωργόπουλος (Alkis Georgopoulos) for making a working LTSP plugin using the few hooks I implemented a while back in LTSP.

Now, as we clearly want LTSP 5.2 to be rock solid, please help us and test LTSP 5.1.99. It can be found in current Lucid and a Karmic backport is available in my PPA (never tried it yet though).
PPA publishing took a lot longer than expected, it should be online by 14:00 UTC on the 26th of January
Bugs can be reported here for Ubuntu-specific ones or here for upstream ones.

We’re usually around in #ltsp on irc.freenode.net if you want to chat directly with us.

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4 Responses to Last step before LTSP 5.2

  1. PhE says:

    Great news to see fat client support in LTSP.

    Managing client image for a fat client is harder.
    The classic ‘chroot /opt/ltsp/i386’ method is limited : kernel related tweaks (nVidia drivers, VirtualBox) or desktop tuning is hard to handle via chroot.

    What about a special mode which allow booting a single fat client in R/W mode on /opt/ltsp/i386 to do all the client tweaking ?

  2. David G says:

    Thanks for your work, Stéphane. How satisfactory might a 1.8 gHz P4 w/512 mb of RAM be as a fat client? Could one have 3 apps open at once like Firefox, OpenOffice, TuxMath?

  3. Darko says:

    Following your suggestion to install ltsp fatclient using edubuntu 10.04 with the this command:

    sudo ltsp-build-client –arch i386 –dist lucid –fat-client –fat-client-desktop edubuntu-desktop

    I have got the installation running ok and my client can boot into a login screen normally, but when I try to login I got a problem, the client just stop/hang at:

    /usr/bin/xauth: creating new authority file /home/username1/.Xauthority

    I have tried to restart the client and re-login and always stuck with the same problem.
    Is this a bug? or do I need to set some options in lts.conf ???

    Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Edubuntu LTSP on fat client

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