Mint Server?

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Mint Server?

Postby AK Dave on Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:51 am

The home-based computer "lab" for my kids (10.5y, 9y, 7y, 2y + spouse) has evolved to be a LTSP project. I have one older Athlon machine to integrate into the project, with plans to build a reasonable server and two or more light or thin clients for it. Because Mint has been so well received amongst my userbase, I'd like all of the client computers to boot and run Mint. Which means, as I understand it, running Mint on the server for diskless thinclients, or something else on the server and having the clients boot themselves (lightclients) to access the network conventionally.

Any thoughts on using Mint as a server for a project like this?

These blogs makes the concept look simple, and if it is all in Ubuntu repos it should all work fine with Elyssa:
http://linux4dummies.wordpress.com/2007 ... sp-server/
http://linux4dummies.wordpress.com/2007 ... untu-pt-1/

The basic idea is to upgrade Mom's computer with something new and nice, but use the power of said machine to serve thin clients for the kids. It would be cheap and easy to give the clients small drives and make them self-bootable, but I think I like the elegance of keeping them diskless. Nevertheless, they're not slated to be given internet access on their own, but will be confined to apps like OO and edubuntu games since at least one of the thinclients is going into a child's bedroom and our internet policy at home is "public view only" (plus a little help from a dd-wrt firewall and an opendns account with my wife as the keyholder). So I wouldn't be talking about more than ~5gb of drive needed. Her old computer (Athlon w/ 1gb) is about the power-level I'd like to build thinclients to, only much smaller, but it would be nice to recycle that computer as a standalone machine. My thought for it was to put XP on its internal drive as the "token Windows box" but have its default configuration be netbootable as a thinclient like everything else.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby miket on Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:57 am

Hi,

AK Dave wrote:Any thoughts on using Mint as a server for a project like this?


You can use Mint as a server platform, however the kernel isn't really profiled for such use, you will almost certainly get better performance
from the server if you were to use Ubuntu 7.1/8.04 Server Edition instead, the kernel is profiled for server usage and will give better performance.

Don't forget that to boot a thin client across a network you are going to need a fast LAN otherwise you could end up waiting for ages
for the thin clients to boot. You may want to consider using Ubuntu JeOS with the Ubuntu Desktop installed on top of it to create lightweight,
quick boot clients.

Just an idea :)

Mike.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby felipe1982 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:51 am

AvanceIT wrote:[...] use Ubuntu 7.1/8.04 Server Edition instead, the kernel is profiled for server usage and will give better performance.
Interesting. Is this documented? How is it [linux (kernel)] optimised for server performance? I had (incorrectly) assumed Ubuntu Server was just Ubuntu with desktop apps removed, and other apps (virtualisation maybe) added by default (or something along those lines). I had no idea they used different linuxes [kernels]. I'll ask google.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby miket on Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:12 pm

Hi !

felipe1982 wrote:
AvanceIT wrote:[...] use Ubuntu 7.1/8.04 Server Edition instead, the kernel is profiled for server usage and will give better performance.
Interesting. Is this documented? How is it [linux (kernel)] optimised for server performance? I had (incorrectly) assumed Ubuntu Server was just Ubuntu with desktop apps removed, and other apps (virtualisation maybe) added by default (or something along those lines). I had no idea they used different linuxes [kernels]. I'll ask google.


There are many ways in which a kernel can be profiled, it all comes down to what you want the machine to be best at :)
If you put a Ubuntu 8.04 Server next to a Desktop version and set them both up for file sharing via samba and/or NFS the difference is quite noticeable.
It is the same if you use the server as a network router or firewall, it out performs the desktop version quite noticeably.

Of course by default the server version doesn't have GUI so it's all CLI ... unlike the desktop version :)

I'm sure if you look on the Ubuntu site there will be details of the differences somewhere ...

Mike.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby AK Dave on Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:29 pm

I think the big problem with the thinclient approach is going to be the necessity of hardwired fast network infrastructure. This is at home across two levels of a townhouse involving computers in multiple rooms that are not wired for networking. To do this right, I will need to fish some cabling through walls and create network drops where none have existed before. I would be fooling myself to believe that I can get the bandwidth I want from dash-N.

So I think the plan has to be "light" clients, not thinclients, and a different arrangement. Back to the whiteboard to sketch this out a different way.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby miket on Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:35 pm

Hi !

AK Dave wrote:I think the big problem with the thinclient approach is going to be the necessity of hardwired fast network infrastructure. This is at home across two levels of a townhouse involving computers in multiple rooms that are not wired for networking. To do this right, I will need to fish some cabling through walls and create network drops where none have existed before. I would be fooling myself to believe that I can get the bandwidth I want from dash-N.

So I think the plan has to be "light" clients, not thinclients, and a different arrangement. Back to the whiteboard to sketch this out a different way.


Take a look at Ubuntu JeOS, ( http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisub ... ition/jeos ) with the Ubuntu desktop installed it makes a great lightweight client platform ... I have used this a few times now and it has been extremely successful.

To add the desktop environment all you need to do is run this from a terminal once JeOS is installed :

Code: Select all
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install gdm
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg


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Re: Mint Server?

Postby AK Dave on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:14 pm

Interesting. I hadn't considered anything related to JeOS since I'd always assumed it to be more suitable for virtual machines than actual thinclients.
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby miket on Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:27 pm

AK Dave wrote:Interesting. I hadn't considered anything related to JeOS since I'd always assumed it to be more suitable for virtual machines than actual thinclients.


The wonderful world of Linux - where the only limitation is your imagination :D
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Re: Mint Server?

Postby AK Dave on Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:57 pm

More realistic limitation is budget/pocketbook.

I'm fundamentally and morally opposed to paying good money for overpriced crap hardware from craigslist that frankly someone ought to pay ME for the privilege of having me take their crap off their hands and put to good use instead of me paying them some unconscionable sum for garbage that couldn't even sell on eBay.

So I'm reworking my computer plans for my kids. Where I'd previously planned to build one decent new computer and thinclient the rest, it looks like it is going to be much cheaper to buy several low-end newegg reconditioned machines and network them together. One zippy 8gb quadcore -VS- three older 1gb Athlon64x2 boxes?
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