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Reader question: Edubuntu on the Eee?

One of the real strengths of the new breed of cheap ultraportables is their ability to connect to more powerful terminal services, acting as portable, full-featured thin clients. Thus, while the XO, Classmate, Eee, Noahpad, and others (many being introduced as we speak at CES) have plenty of utility for basic computing, there may be many occasions when students can really benefit from server-centric computing.
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Written by Christopher Dawson on

One of the real strengths of the new breed of cheap ultraportables is their ability to connect to more powerful terminal services, acting as portable, full-featured thin clients. Thus, while the XO, Classmate, Eee, Noahpad, and others (many being introduced as we speak at CES) have plenty of utility for basic computing, there may be many occasions when students can really benefit from server-centric computing.

While connecting to Microsoft Terminal Services via RDP is a piece of cake with any of these machines, connecting to an Edubuntu server is another story. While it can be done via VNC or NX, the easiest way to take advantage of Edubuntu's built-in coolness is to boot over the network (PXE boot). Reader David Forshaw made the following request after trying to use an Asus Eee as an Edubuntu client:

I have to agree with most of your points, but I would also make a shameless personal plea for some mileage from your Blog.

Could you help track down information on using the Asus eee as a client on LTSP.

This is a small low energy device, that of course can be worked independently from the network. Minimal hardware, no moving parts. But perfectly adequate for most educational tasks such as report writing, research etc.

But placed onto an LTSP server becomes ever so much more. Placing many more applications into the hands of students, and most probably with a noticeable improvement on performance. But it also fulfills some of the gaps you mentioned above. Like more drive space.

Edubuntu can provide access to sound and local files when on the network making files transferable. So students can work on or off network.

But when booted over PXE onto an LTSP server (hardwired) the whole machine takes on a new persona.

Of course the standard machine has a smaller than usual keyboard, even a smaller than usual screen, but these can be augmented with USB keyboards, mice and an external video screen. But not essential for every user, but if budgets allow :o)

But it also comes in at a price comparable to other Thin Client boxes, that have far less flexibility ( i.e. no keyboard no screen) and incapable of being used independently off network.

There is just one problem, I have spent my x-mas vacation trying to get it to boot using PXE and it fails after the splash screen. Worse still however is that no one seems to have posted anything yet about how to get it working ( or even confirmation that it does / doesn't).

If either yourself or some of your readers can help it would be really appreciated.

Thanks.

So there you have it folks. Anyone been able to make this work? If not, tell us about your experiences using NX or VNC to access LTSP servers (or even vanilla Linux machines). Guest blogs with any solutions, tips, or innovative ways to use these little devices would be gladly posted.

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