From: Hedemark, Magnus <mhedemark@tr...> - 2004-03-01 12:24:39
I wanted to pass onto the list my experience with HP t5500 thin clients as
others who have seen it at LWE last month are probably interested as well.
I first saw an HP t5000 at the LTSP booth at LWE. The gentleman at the
booth was very nice and helpful with LTSP-specific questions, but couldn't
tell me much of anything at all about the HP units other than I could buy
them from Disklessworkstations.com.
I asked over at the HP booth and the guys there didn't know anything,
either. But they did tell me a talk was coming Friday afternoon about the
thin clients and that the product manager would be there.
Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought that HP was saying that to run Linux on
these things you had to buy a special version of the hardware from
Disklessworkstations.com. I work for a medium sized company that does all
purchasing through approved VARs, and I wanted to be able to buy a couple of
these through my VAR to eval. After a couple of months of back and forth,
the brick wall seemed to be that Disklessworkstations.com could only sell
direct to me and HP prevented them from reselling through VARs. *grumble*
So I ordered two of the standard t5500 units through our regular VAR (*not*
through Disklessworkstations.com) hoping that this was nothing more than a
slimmed down PC with no moving parts. BINGO! If you go into the BIOS and
change the boot order so the network boots before the built-in 32M flash, it
PXE boots into LTSP just fine.
You *do* have to follow the LTSP special instructions for PXE booting. And
you *do* have to go out of your way to probe the proper modules for USB
keyboard and mouse (also documented on the LTSP site, but this really ought
to be on by default, no?)
So I built an HP d530u desktop box with CentOS-3 (a free RHEL 3 clone) and
put a second NIC in it for the LTSP subnet. I attached a Netgear FS108
desktop switch to the second NIC and then plugged the HP t5500 thin clients
into that. Once I figured out the MAC addresses of these things and
modified dhcpd.conf accordingly, they booted fine.
If anyone from HP in the thin client product group is lurking here I think a
couple of things would be prudent to consider:
* Make it more clear on your web site that the t5000 series can PXE boot
Linux without buying a special version from a business partner. You almost
lost the sale because of some ambiguity here.
* Please consider affixing a label to the outside of the unit with the MAC
* If it would bring prices down, I'd be happy to do without the legacy
ports. Just don't do anything that would adversly impact the video
components. I need to be able to drive a 17" LCD at minimum of
1280x1024x24. Bonus points if I can drive a 19" LCD to 1600x1200x24. ~$340
is slightly high for a thin client. Break below the $300 mark and I think
you've really got something compelling.
For giggles I also PXE booted these guys into a ClusterKnoppix cluster
(OpenMOSIX) and they behaved just fine, except under Knoppix I couldn't use
my Belkin USB KVM switch. I briefly flirted with the idea of running an
OpenMOSIX kernel on these under LTSP but I can't run the risk of end users
pressing the power button and unceremoniously killing other peoples'