My experience with LTSP. First brief history.
Several years ago, I started with LTSP 3.x as an experiment. Client was
a Packard Bell Classic Pentium 75 with 16Mb RAM. To make client silent,
un-plugged the CPU fan (in the case) and it lasted almost a year. (I
think LTSP server was on Redhat 7.3, not sure.)
Moved to new house. Did not have time to set-up new LTSP lan. Did
without for a few years.
I work for a company that had some old hardware laying around. Last
year, I set-up a LTSP environment using Edubuntu 7.04. Still had my old
Linksys lan cards with bootrom. Was amazed that clients searched and
found (on first try) the server and started. Server was a clone with AMD
3000plus CPU, 1Gb RAM, and a 20Gb hard drive. Two clients where some
Compaq EP Deskpro with 433 celeron, 64Mb RAM, cdrom and floppy drive.
Local devices worked with no mods to lts.conf. But, clients became slow
(/tmp filling up and no compression.) Solved /tmp file problem. Waited
(and lived with 7.04) knowing that newer version coming soon (only three
months or so.)
Due to Windows workstation upgrades (different story), acquired a second
AMD 3000plus with 1.5Gb Ram and a 40Gb hard drive as server. Built a
fresh install of Ubuntu 7.10. Added LTSP5 and clients would not boot.
Could not even find the DHCP server. Discovered that there was no
lts.conf file. anywhere. Built lts.conf file and clients started. Yah!
Had the opportunity to buy three Dell GX50 celeron 700, 128Mb RAM for
clients. The old Compaq EP always booted with a command line prompts.
Newer Dell GX50 now boot with Ubuntu geographical boot screen (nice.)
So much for history lesson, now a view of mine or two.
LTSP5 running on Ubuntu 7.10 is much faster than Edubuntu 7.04. I feel
this is largely due to file compression used in LTSP5 and Ubuntu 7.10.
We now have three users that have access to internet (research) and
company information, that could not have access previously. And instead
of it costing $1000USD plus per workstation (three workstations,
$3000USDplus) (for Windows based junk) we have about $250USD in the
entire server/client LTSP5 system. And it works. Granted, I have
instructed my user to NOT use any usb drive in clients right now as they
cause Nautilus to leave processed running, but I have not had time to
properly research why, yet. In the mean time, don't insert usb drives
into clients and we will be okay.
Point is that with out LTSP5 on going work, this would not be available
to use. Yes, it has some bugs and problems, but we are getting along
just fine with it and I have faith that these issues will be reduced in
the near future.
In my brief and limited experience, I have this to remind every LTSP
user of. First eliminate any hardware issues you might have. These
hardware issues can lead you to believe that you have software issues,
when you may not. Changing clients (from Compaq to newer Dell units)
changed the speed clients respond. That hardware change and use of
compression (with Ubuntu 7.10) has given us a very nice system to use.
(Fixing some of our internal lan issues helped alot, too.)
Sorry about the length of my message, but with all the traffic on the
discussion lists of late, I just thought that everyone needed a boost by
reading about a good experience (not that previous "list" traffic has
not been productive or necessarily negative.)
Thank you Edubuntu/Ubuntu LTSP team for all your hard work. Oh, and Jim,
thank you for LTSP, if it wasn't for that hospital (if I am remembering
the original story correctly) we would not be "here" today.