Category Archives: LTSP

Linux Terminal Server Project, make a Linux desktop a terminal server than can be used by network booted thin clients.

LTSP 5.2 is out !

After almost two years or work and 994 commits later made by only 14 contributors, I’m proud to announce that the Linux Terminal Server Project project released LTSP 5.2 on Wednesday the 17th of February.

LTSP 5.2 is released

As we wanted this release to be some kind of a reference point in LTSP’s history, we also released LDM (LTSP Display Manager) 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 on the same day.

Packages for LTSP 5.2, LDM 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 are already in Ubuntu Lucid and a backport for Karmic is available in my PPA.
For other distributions, I’m expecting packages to be available very soon. If you want to check out the code, it’s on Launchpad.

It would take a lot of pages to describe all that was changed during these two years so I won’t even try to do that 🙂

Instead, I’ll simply give you a short overview of what one can do with LTSP nowadays:

  • Boot a Debian/Fedora/Gentoo/Ubuntu environment using PXE (dhcp + tftp) and connect to an application server using SSH and X11.
  • Either run the whole session remotely or run select applications locally to use specific hardware or advance 3D capabilities
  • If running Ubuntu, run everything locally and only select applications remotely (that’s called Fat Client)
  • Support for RDP sessions using rdesktop
  • Working local block devices like harddisks, floppy disks and cd-rom drives (thanks to ltspfs)
  • Easily extensible thanks to an amazing plugin infrastructure, providing hooks pretty much everywhere
  • Multi-lingual support in LDM and most of our scripts
  • Scalable to thousands of thin clients, at least on Ubuntu, thanks to LTSP-Cluster
  • Complete documentation, in the LTSP handbook
  • Active and supporting community, mostly on the various mailing-lists and #ltsp (freenode)

Now, to quickly summarize what changed between 5.1.99 and 5.2, here’s the changelog I used in the Ubuntu package:

  • Improve fat client support (a lot faster)
  • Update nbd-proxy for stability
  • Rewrite of ltsp-update-image
  • Updated sound configuration
  • Lots of optimizations
  • Added ssh and whiptail screen script

LDM was made a bit faster in 2.1 and a few ltspfs bugs have been fixed as well as lot of optimization and code cleanup (in both cdpinger and ltspfsd).

Measure boot time on Ubuntu Lucid is under 10s on an Atom-based thin client (1.6Ghz, Hyper-Threated with 512MB of DDR2). That’s just blazing fast !!

Once again, thanks to everyone who made that possible. I’m really impressed by all the changes made to LTSP over the past few years and I really love being a part of it.

No releases are perfect, so if you find bugs, please report them here (for LTSP), here (for LTSP in Ubuntu) or here (for LTSP-Cluster).

Posted in LTSP, Planet Revolution-Linux, Planet Ubuntu | 27 Comments

The new LTSP-Cluster website’s officially out

The LTSP-Cluster project is proud to announce that its website is now on-line.

LTSP-Cluster is a project to extend LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) with the required components for a large scale deployment. It makes it easy to deploy and manage thousands of thin clients connecting to a cluster of Linux or Windows application servers.


The LTSP-Cluster team works very closely with the main LTSP project so the required hooks are included directly in stock LTSP. On top of that, the required load-balancing components, various daemons and a web interface have been developped to add the clustering functionalities.

The LTSP-Cluster packages have been included in Ubuntu in the Karmic development cycle by Jonathan and have already been used for a few large LTSP deployments.

All of these components have been developed by Revolution Linux and integrated with the help of upstream LTSP developers. They are all freely available under a GPLv3+ license.

Existing LTSP users considering to extend their current setup and wanting an easier way to manage it should definitely have a look at it.

People looking for a way to migrate from desktops to a thin client solution for a large network, be that with a Linux desktop or Windows desktop should also check it out.

You can learn more on:

If you like it, please Digg it!

Posted in LTSP, Planet Ubuntu | 3 Comments

Last step before LTSP 5.2


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 if you want to chat directly with us.

Posted in LTSP, Planet Ubuntu | 4 Comments