cluster/lab/thin clients question...

Matt Price matt.price at
Fri Sep 9 03:59:50 UTC 2005

Hi there,

I've just discovered edubuntu and am starting to think it might be
helpful for a project I'm workingo n, but want to get some advice. 

I run a beginning computer course in a local housing project with a
mostly-immigrant population; students refurbish donated computers,
install Ubuntu, and take the computers home.  It's a neat programme, and
I'm glad to be able to do it.

I've just received a fairly large number of computers, many more than I
can hand over to students this year.  I'll end up with about 30 extra
Pentium-II's and a handful of Pentium-III's.  I've been thinking it
would be nice to set up a proper computer lab with this equipment, but
I'm not sure of the best way to go about it and am hoping for some
advice.  here are some features I'd like to have:

- centralized user profiles, so a user can log in on any machine and
have everything work just the way she set it up last time
- optimal use of scarce CPU and memory resources -- not all the
computers are likely to be in use at any given time, so it would be nice
to be able grab idle cycles from other machines if at all possible
- relative simplicity in the setup process -- I'm doing this mostly on
my own and I'm really not a networking expert. 
- some kind of software -- maybe instant messaging? -- that demonstrates
to students how the computers are all connected. 

I've been poking around in the Edubuntu wiki and it seems like there are
a variety of possible solutions here -- thin  clients, fat clients,
locally-run programs, server-run programs, cpu clusters using mosaik
(sp?  found that somewhere and have lostthe reference...).  I myself am
quite ignorant and thus not especially opinionated about how to
proceed.  I would love to hear suggestions from some of you more
competent and experienced folks!  So any suggestions welcome, especially
those accompanied by helpful hints...



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