Can I have individual configuration files for different clients?
In your TFTP server's download directory you just create a configuration file named thinstation.conf-<ip address> (e.g. thinstation.conf-192.168.1.2) or thinstation.conf-<MAC address> (e.g. thinstation.conf-12AB34CD56EF).
A file just named thinstation.conf.network will be the default configuration for all Thinstations.
If you have made a thinstation.hosts file (which maps MAC addresses to host names) you can name the configuration file thinstation.conf-<host name> (e.g. thinstation.conf-peter). Much easier to remember.
Can I have individual image files for different clients?
Easily - if you boot off a local media, but it is not so easy with network boot. Usually the DHCP server tells the client to ask the TFTP server for one specific image.
However, you can let the DHCP server detect the clients MAC address first and then hand out a specific ip address AND a unique image file name to the client. This way you lose some of the flexibility of using DHCP, but you get a more secure network, since you are in control of which NICs are acceptable to get net access.
Normally you should be able to make a comprehensive image which covers any clients and then use the conf file to select the needed modules for the individual client.
My NIC does support PXE but PXE boot doesn't work
If you have an early PXE implementation, it might be buggy. See http://syslinux.zytor.com/wiki/index.php/Hardware_Compatibility. Version 2.0 or newer is preferable. Most NIC manufacturer make update to the PXE bios, which may be upgraded.
However, double check your DHCP/TFTPD setup and ensure that if you have changed the basepath or basename parameters in build.conf you have put your pxe files in the appropriate directory.
My NIC doesn't support PXE and making/buying a boot ROM for it is out of the question. Can't I just boot off a hard disk?
Sub-Q1: How much disk space do I need then?
8 to 20 megabytes if you can afford it (depending on what applications you load).
Sub-Q2: So little!? Couldn't I use a USB keyring or a Compact Flash Card instead?
Yes - see Lars Karlslund's contributed Compact Flash card + syslinux boot HOWTO.
Can I boot off a CD (KNOPPIX style)?
Yes. That's what the Thinstation boot CD does! You can use Thinstation without ever touching your PC's harddisk.
Can I boot off a CD if my BIOS/CD doesn't support boot?
Yes, with a little help from a boot floppy: Smart Boot Manager.
Can I boot off just a floppy?
Well, you can mimic etherboot with a floppy even if your NIC doesn't have a boot ROM. This mean you can use a floppy to connect to the DHCP and TFTP server and download the rest. Maybe a bit slow during boot, but it works well.
Goto http://www.rom-o-matic.net/ and download an image for your NIC. Follow the instructions on that site to make a net bootable floppy.
Can I avoid the TFTP server?
Yes, but it requires booting from local media.
If you don't need any reconfiguration of Thinstation once it is built, you just hardwire all configuration within thinstation.conf.buildtime (ensure that you have NET_FILE_ENABLED=Off to avoid looking for configs from the server).
If you want to use local configs, set STORAGE_CONFIG#=... correctly in thinstation.conf.buildtime and supply a thinstation.conf.user file with the path STORAGE_CONFIG#/thinstation.profile/thinstation.conf.user (# being a number between 1 and 8).
Can't I avoid the DHCP server?
You must boot from a local media then.
Setup all the network parameters in thinstation.conf.buildtime and then build the image.
You can still get your configs from the tftp server if you want, but will have to define where to find it with NET_FILE_ALTERNATE=<IP of TFTP server> in your thinstation.conf.buildtime
Peripheral Questions (NIC, Video, Mouse etc.)
Which mouse protocol to use ?
For a traditional serial mouse (rhombic 9 pin connector) you probably need the MICROSOFT protocol. Mice with a PS/2 connector (small round one) needs ... PS/2 :-). However, wheel PS/2 and USB mice need the IMPS/2 variant. For unsual mice see http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-mini/XFree86-Second-Mouse.html#PROTOCOL
How do I get the scroll wheel on my mouse to work?
Assuming the server and the server software application supports the scroll wheel, all you have to do is to change one line in the thinstation.conf:
- From: X_MOUSE_PROTOCOL="PS/2"
- To: X_MOUSE_PROTOCOL="IMPS/2"
Remember to hard reboot your Thinstation afterwards
How do I get my USB mouse to work?
You will need to use X_MOUSE_DEVICE=/dev/input/mice in thinstation.conf to support a USB mouse, in addition to including the "usb-hid" in build.conf.
The Thinstation X server doesn't start - it keeps on trying and trying.
First make sure you have setup the mouse correctly. A misconfigured mouse can prevent X from starting! Go figure...
Next make sure you have built in the correct video driver in the image. Try the VESA driver alternatively (any video card should be VESA compatible). Make sure X_HORIZSYNC and X_VERTREFRESH in thinstation.conf has the correct values (or comment them out if you don't know). X servers can be very picky about this!
If you have trouble finding the right modes, have a look at http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/XFree86-Video-Timings-HOWTO
My BFG9000-Pro mk. III-c (or whatever) graphics card ain't supported by Thinstation. But XOrg 6.9 supports it!
If there is a driver for for your video card and it is for the same XOrg version as Thinstation uses (currently 6.9) and if it is compiled with GCC 2.95 (this is becoming uncommon), then support it yourself :-)
Create the directory structure
Put the driver itself (<name>.o) there and chmod it into -rwxr-xr-x.
Edit build.conf and add xorg6-<name> as a module and rebuild. And done!
If there isn't any XOrg 6.9 support you still might still try the VESA driver, though.
My keyboard layout isn't supported or is broken
See the keyboard request guide. However, see also Faulty keyboard layout with MS Windows server using RDP (rdesktop)
Seamless Integration of Client Side Floppies and CD-ROMs with MS Windows Terminal Servers
By Robbo Aylett, ICT Services, Hobart College, Olinda Grove Mt. Nelson, Tasmania Australia. 7007. (robbo.aylett AT hobart.tased.edu.au) Edited by Mike Eriksen January 2004
Often you see thin client users confusing their local floppy and CD-ROM drive with the servers drives.
To get around this issue, you simply have to activate Samba support in Thinstation and add the following to the MS Windows server logon script:
net use a: \\%CLIENTNAME%\floppy net use d: \\%CLIENTNAME%\cdrom
This is referred to by some Windows Admins as a MAP BACK.
(EDIT: From the mailings lists, it has been suggested to use: net use x: \\%CLIENTNAME%\<device> "" /user: not to get problems with encrypted passwords. Mike)
(NOTE: If you can't or don't want to use the thinstation default share names, you can change the defaults to anything you want. For example, you might want to change them to a$ and cdrom$ by editing the $SAMBA_FLOPPY and $SAMBA_CDROM entries in packages/samba-base/lib/smb.conf.tpl before building thinstation-2.0. (the trailing $-signs makes the drives hidden from My Network Places-browsing - you may want this if you haven't complete physical control over your network). If you do change the defaults, make sure to change your logon scripts too!
However, before this will work, you have to disable the floppy drive on your terminal server and thus remove "A:\" so you can map it as a network device.
To do this, login to your MS Windows 2000/2003 terminal server(s) and open up the device manager (right click on My Computer and Select "Manage". In the new dialogue box, expand Device Manager by selecting it. In the device tree, look for "Floppy disk controllers" expand it. You should see 1 entry there, right click on it and select "disable". (Being in Windows, you may or may not need to reboot. You will need to if you decide to re-enable it, though) Only do this, if you have no need for a floppy disk when logged into the console session of your terminal server.
If you really want to map a thin client CD-ROM drive to "D:\" but the server's CD-ROM is already there, you can use Disk Management to re-assign the CD-ROM to drive "E:\" (or another letter or NTFS folder of your choice...) and then map the thin client CD-ROM drive to "D:\", like in the example above.
You may need to remove the Server CD-ROM, by disabling it in Device Manager, so users don't see 2 CD-ROM drives and get confused.
I hope this helps you with your floppy and CD-ROM access!
The X font server doesn't work
Make sure you use the right tcp port on the font server e.g. X_FONT_SERVER=192.168.1.2:7100 (at least Red Hat uses port 7100 but check with your distro) in thinstation.conf.
I can't connect to a unix server using X (just black screen and mouse pointer)
Make sure XDMCP is running on the server and accepts connections. There is a good step-by-step procedure at http://www.redhat.com/mirrors/LDP/HOWTO/XDMCP-HOWTO/procedure.html (not Red Hat specific).
Microsoft Windows / Citrix Servers
Poor colors and no sound connecting to a MS Windows server with RDP (rdesktop)
NT4TSE and Windows 2000 Server only support 8 bit (256) colors. Windows 2003 Server support 24 bit color (16. millions) and XP 16 bit (65536) colors. Make sure to have a "-a 24" or "-a 16" as command line option in thinstation.conf.
However, make sure you run the Thinstation client at at least 16 bit color. You may get strange results if both the Thinstation client and the MS Windows server use 8 bit color maps (more info below).
Windows 2003 support sound redirect (if configured properly). Use the "-r sound" command line option.
Psychadelic colors when using 8 bit colors with RDP (rdesktop)
This happens when both the Thinstation client and rdesktop is configured to use 8 bit color. The problem is that with that few colors (256), a palette is used to define the color scheme, and this has to be share among all applications. The solution is to run the Thinstation client in either 15, 16 or 24 bit color depth.
Faulty keyboard layout with MS Windows server using RDP (rdesktop)
Rdesktop has a few problems with some non-US keyboards. Check out the rdesktop CVS to see which has already been fixed.
If you report a keyboard problem to the mailing lists, please follow this guide: keyboard guide.
Flickering display with animated content in MSIE
See this knowledgbase entry. Easy in IE6, but requires a registry hack in 5.5. Thanks to Chris McKeever for this one.
Cool! I just run MS Windows on a server and save all the licence money!
Well, that would be illegal.
In order to connect with terminal services to your Windows server from Thinstation, each client must have:
A CAL (Client Access Licence - you get 5 or 10 CALs for "free" with the MS server licence).
A TS-CAL (Terminal Server CAL.)
(note the difference between CAL and TS-CAL. A TS-CAL is more expensive than a CAL). Please read here for a more detailed and authoritative answer: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/howtobuy/pricing/tsfaq.asp
Also, Brian Madden has a good page on Windows 2003 licensing.
So, using Thinstation you save:
- The money for the client operating system itself (you just have to pay for the CAL and the TS-CAL)
- Really a LOT on client administration
How do I use 128 bit encryption with ICA?
param icaencryption true
to build.conf and
ICA_ENCRYPTION="RC5 (128 bit)"
to a thinstation.conf.
Thinstation as a Workstation
Can Thinstation be a light Linux workstation - or how do I get root access?
Yes, but Thinstation is a minimal thinclient, so you will have very few tools and no compilers etc,.
The standard XWindows interfaces are icewm or blackbox.
To login in text mode you have to press Ctrl-Alt-F2 (even if you are in rdesktop or ICA mode or what-ever).
Login as root.
The password is pleasechangeme as default (Change it!!! - see below).
How do I change the root password - and should I change it?
YES! You really must change it! Why? Hmmm - only you, me and the rest of the internet know the default root password is pleasechangeme... And you shouldn't trust me :-)
The password is set in build.conf (param rootpassword)
Can the clients have a /etc/hosts file the usual unix style?
Yes and no. There is no traditional editable hosts file, but you may tweak the Thinstation setup to support the same functionallity.
Edit the file packages/base/etc/init.d/network at line 283 (just before # Add Mac Address to .conf file) and add:
echo "192.168.1.2 my_server1" >> /etc/hosts echo "192.168.1.3 my_server2" >> /etc/hosts
(use your own relevant numbers and names). Note the double >>.
You can add as many as you need.
How are the clients named networkwise when using DHCP?
As default they are named ts_<MAC address>. "ts_" is defined in thinstation.conf by the NET_HOSTNAME entry. You may change this, but if you use more than three characters the MAC address will be truncated.
However, you may make the file thinstation.hosts in the root directory (where the kernel and the image is) to link a name with the MAC-address. The syntax is:
# You can have any amount of spaces/tabs between names # HOST MAC GROUPS COMMENTS bigboss 000103014152 printer hires # On Miles Desk daffy 0060082FCBE8 # Daffy's workstation donald 00A02403B0BE printer # Donald's workstation
This will name the clients bigboss, daffy and donald.
What is the group configs about?
Imagine you have a LOT of Thinstations. Some are old Pentium Classics, some are newer and have a printer attached and some have a good VGA and large, new monitors.
Instead of making individual config-files for all your Thinstations you can group them with thinstation.hosts and create a thinstation.conf.group-<group name> (e.g thinstation.conf.group-printer). A thinstation.conf.group-<group name> is just another thinstation.conf with a different name (as is thinstation.conf.buildtime).
Be careful with all these "thinstation.conf" variants: the latest read will overrule an earlier read. See Configuring Thinstation
Why does TS try to download the config file from a TFTP server when I boot from a local media?
Because you did not set NET_FILE_ENABLED=Off in thinstation.conf.buildtime!
Do you have more docs on ICA, rdesktop, tarantella, blackbox...
We don't really document all the connectivity packages (ica, rdesktop...) since the developers behind them have more knowledge and do it much better than we can.
Search at the parent package's homepage and get better advice. We have links to some of them here.
Can I add my own package to Thinstation?
Yes. It requires some Linux/programming skills, though.
Look at the Developer documentation Create your own package