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Testing LTSP on openSUSE 12.2

August 23rd, 2012 by

With openSUSE 12.2 almost here, we have been working hard to get LTSP experience on this release better than ever. Thanks to the power of KIWI and some great scripting by Alex Savin, KIWI-LTSP has a lot of new features and improvements.

Here is how to get started:

* Install openSUSE 12.2 (preferably 32bit version)

* Install all the required packages via this 1-click install (about 200MB download)

* Configure network by following this guide

* Once the network is configured, open terminal and run this as root user (run “su -” to become root user)

kiwi-ltsp -c

The above command will configure all the required services like dhcpd, tftp for pxeboot, nfs/aoe/nbd servers for root, now you can boot up any PC/laptop/thin client using PXE(network booting) connected to the server. The clients would be able to use all the softwares installed on the server without their hard disk modified. The server would require about 256MB RAM per client, and ideally minimum 512MB RAM on the client, disable IO/CPU intensive or plain annoying services  like tracker, apper/PackageKit, nepomuk, strigi etc. for best performance.

New features:

Although the default prebuilt image connects to the server and all the processes are run on the server, with more powerful clients some of the load can be run client side by the use of ltsp-localapps. IceWM, firefox(with all the plugins that are installed on the server if the server is 32bit) and xterm are part of the default image, if you want something more  like VOIP clients: ekiga/twinkle for example you can clone the default image and customize it as per your requirements.

kiwi-ltsp --list-profiles    #Show list of available images profiles
kiwi-ltsp --clone  suse-12.2 new_profile  #Clone existing profile

You can then edit kiwi’s image description in /srv/kiwi-profiles/new_profile/img/config.xml or /etc/sysconfig/kiwi-ltsp LTSP_LOCALAPPS=”ekiga mypackage” to add required packages in the image. You can also use local i686 DVD iso as installation source by adding suse_1220_INSTALL_SOURCE=/path/to/iso there.

kiwi-ltsp -l will build the clicfs image that will be used to boot up clients, kiwi-ltsp -c will add the profile to the PXE boot menu also.

To customize the image manually you can chroot into the image:
kiwi-ltsp --chroot new_profile do your modifications and run kiwi-ltsp -l2 new_profile to build compressed image from your modified tree. Check out kiwi-ltsp -h to see all that this utility can do.

Complete desktop environments like GNOME/KDE can be installed in the image to be served over the network to more powerful clients(1-2GB RAM on the client), using LTSP_FATCLIENT=True in /srv/tftpboot/KIWI/root.default/etc/lts.conf will allow the whole session to run on local client hardware, hard disk is not used of course, so normal booting will get to whatever is installed on the disk.

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One Response to “Testing LTSP on openSUSE 12.2”

  1. biswajyoti