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Thin Clients how to, aka the $100 per client student computer lab

Presentation for the ITSC 2008 conference on thin clients, intended for a technical audience.

Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution United States License.

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Thin Clients how to, aka the $100 per client student computer lab

  1. 1. Thin Clients How To Created and displayed with open source software + Linux Presented by Brian Jamison Thin clients – How To Content licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License
  2. 2. Brian Jamison --> <ul><li>Co-Founder of OpenSourcery </li></ul><ul><li>President of POSSE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Portland Open Source Software Entrepreneurs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using open source software to solve business needs since 1995 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>clients: Sony, Nissan, Energizer, Disney... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personally using Linux “on the desktop” since 2001 </li></ul>
  3. 3. About OpenSourcery <ul><li>Founded 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>PSU, Reed, CCC </li></ul><ul><li>Services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Install </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Configure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Overview <ul><li>What is thin? </li></ul><ul><li>Why thin? </li></ul><ul><li>Savings </li></ul><ul><li>Case study </li></ul><ul><li>Common pitfalls </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is thin? <ul><li>Uses a single server for all heavy lifting </li></ul><ul><li>Clients boot, run applications, store data on server, not themselves </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why thin? <ul><li>Savings at every stage </li></ul><ul><li>Peace of mind </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of maintenance </li></ul>
  7. 7. Hardware savings, client <ul><li>Thin client: $106 </li></ul><ul><li>17” flat screen LCD: $171 </li></ul><ul><li>Keyboard, mouse: $20 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total: $297 </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Hardware savings, server <ul><ul><li>Server requires: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RAM: 512mb + 50mb per client </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CPU: 100mhz/32 bit or 75mhz/64 bit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bandwidth: gigabit NIC </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Server for 60 client setup: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2 AMD 64bit dual core Opterons </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4gb RAM, 160gb HD, Gigabit ethernet </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Total: $1741 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cut that approximately in half for 30 clients </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Licensing costs $0 <ul><li>Server operating system: $0 </li></ul><ul><li>Client operating system: $0 </li></ul><ul><li>Applications: $0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational programs, Office suite, Google Earth, Firefox, Video/audio editing, plus 20,000 others. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Updates cost $0 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Installation savings <ul><li>Server setup and configuration, about a day </li></ul><ul><li>Per client, about 15 minutes </li></ul>
  11. 11. Hardware maintenance savings <ul><li>No moving parts on clients – no hard drives, no fans. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid service calls – simply replace unit with an inexpensive spare! </li></ul>
  12. 12. OS maintenance savings <ul><li>Client and server highly resistant to virii, spyware/malware </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing gained hacking client </li></ul><ul><li>Server extremely difficult to hack </li></ul><ul><li>Can be made to automatically start ”clean” on each login </li></ul><ul><li>Updates delivered via the Internet for $0 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Energy savings <ul><li>Each thin client draws 20 watts </li></ul>
  14. 14. Other advantages <ul><li>Centralized storage, backups </li></ul><ul><li>USB keys for each student for individual storage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>allows theming, customization, history to stay with the student </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Case study <ul><li>Charter high school with 160+ students </li></ul><ul><li>Edubuntu </li></ul><ul><li>Software requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Office, Web, Google Earth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Video/sound editing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fractions/algebra apps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terminal Server for Cognitive Tutor on w2k3 box </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Planning <ul><li>Get a specific list of necessary software from admins and instructors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>this avoids apps sneaking in after planning – consider math tutoring software, video editing, multilingual support... </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Content Filtering <ul><li>User login defines content filtering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all access or none </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>this can be made quite complex if desired </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Configuration <ul><li>LTSP on server </li></ul><ul><li>Thin clients PXE boot stock Edubuntu Feisty over the network </li></ul><ul><li>Bootsplash needed configuration to make LCD work during bootup </li></ul><ul><li>Password protected bios </li></ul><ul><li>On logout we auto wipe the home directory to avoid offensive leave-behinds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(students use USB keys for storing their own work) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. More Configuration <ul><li>Lockdown of browser, office suite, desktop, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Trac to store documentation </li></ul>
  20. 20. Students cannot <ul><li>Install new programs </li></ul><ul><li>Gain administrator access </li></ul><ul><li>Get to the Internet unless approved by Instructor </li></ul>
  21. 21. Windows Terminal Server <ul><li>Must deploy due to decision to use a proprietary windows-based tutoring program </li></ul><ul><li>Ironically this was the way students were able to hack out to the Internet, install proggies, etc. </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Tale of the Office Suite <ul><ul><li>OpenOffice billed as Microsoft Office replacement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writer/Word: lacking collab, macro compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calc/Excel: lacks macro compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Base/Access: not ready yet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Powerpoint: lacks read-write compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not for macro wizards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not for extreme spreadsheet programmers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not 100% perfect reading/writing MS formats </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>An excellent fit for students. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Students Experience <ul><li>It just worked. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Common Pitfall #1 <ul><li>Asking a bunch of Windows folks to deploy mission-critical Linux server or services </li></ul>
  25. 25. Common Pitfall #2 <ul><li>Deploying open source applications before they are fully baked </li></ul><ul><li>Hoary Hedgehog </li></ul><ul><li>Jahshaka </li></ul>
  26. 26. Common Pitfall #3 <ul><li>Asking black-box gear to play nicely with open source </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Terminal Server + Tutoring App = Pain </li></ul>
  27. 27. Common Pitfall #5 <ul><li>Failing to demand as much from proprietary software as open source </li></ul><ul><li>”What happens if...” </li></ul>
  28. 28. Common Pitfall #6 <ul><li>The Accidental Tech supporting Linux </li></ul><ul><li>”How do I turn it off?” </li></ul><ul><li>”The video card is broken” </li></ul>
  29. 29. Common Pitfall #7 <ul><li>printers, Printers, PRINTERS </li></ul><ul><li>#1 issue (in our experience) with desktops </li></ul>
  30. 30. Summary <ul><li>It just works. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Thank you <ul><li>Try a thin client at our booth! </li></ul><ul><li>Brian Jamison </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(503) 544-3558 </li></ul>