LTSP – stands for Linux Terminal Service Project. LTSP is a software package, when installed on a Linux server, lets Thin clients to connect to LTSP and run applications that are processed on Server. So what is a Thin client? It`s a regular workstation that can be booted up from network. Client can be booted also by local boot device (like a harddisk, CD-ROM or USB disk). But I will talk about network booting. And how does it work? Workstations is configured to boot from network, in order to boot your network card must support Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) or NetBoot.
LTSP looks something like this:
It works as fallow:
- The client first requests its IP address for the LTSP server via DHCP and loads the Linux kernel from a preconfigured Linux image on the LTSP server via the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) service running on the LTSP server. During this process the client makes a (new) DHCP request for the IP address of the LTSP server and the path to its chroot environment. When this information is retrieved, the client mounts the path on its root filesystem via either the Network File System (NFS) or Network Block Device (NBD) services running on the LTSP server.
- The client loads Linux from the NFS mounted root filesystem (or NBD filesystem image) and starts system. The client connects to the XDMCP login manager on the LTSP server.
- User logs in and uses system
For LTSP to run on server need to be running 4 services:
- DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol: used to lease IPs to clients.
- TFTP – Trivial Transfer File Protocol: to transfer files to clients, like the client software.
- NFS – Network File System: used to mount remote directories. NBD – Network Block Device: used to mount remote storage devices.
- XDMCP – X Display Manager Controller Protocol: used to implement graphical login displays.
Why to use such a system?
Well LTSP is very popular in use in schools and one good think is that system can run on low end PC and life cycle of such a pc can be up to 10 years which offers great saving. Also an educational institution may also gain more control over how their students are using computing resources by switching to a thin client configuration.
How to set up LTSP quick guide.
In Linux terminal type this commands:
- sudo apt-get install ltsp-server-standalone openssh-server
- sudo ltsp-build-client or if your on a 64-bit system with 32-bit machines do sudo ltsp-build-client –arch i386
- for editing the server’s IP values use /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf
- after that you need to restart DHCP server – sudo /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server restart
- and update sshkeys -sudo ltsp-update-sshkeys
- and if you updated dhcpd.conf then you need to update you image also by typing in terminal ltsp-update-image