Testing questions

Jonathan Carter jonathan at clug.org.za
Sun Mar 5 12:35:51 UTC 2006

Hi edubuntu-devel

I've been testing flight 4, and have some questions.

1. After installing, I had to run ltsp-update-sshkeys before I could log
in. Will this be fixed by release, or is it something that I might have
done wrong that would require me to do this step?

2. The memory usage after boot is great- just about 32MB. With the
average amount of software (OOo, firefox, etc), it goes up to about
37MB. If I open as much as I can and try to trash the system, it goes up
to more or less 42MB. Does this mean that the spec for the 32MB thin
client usage will mean that the initial memory usage of the thin client
will be 32MB, or should it be less than that at boot and increase when
opening more programs?

3. https://wiki.edubuntu.org/EdubuntuLtsConfParams reports that
SWAP_SERVER is implemented, but not tested. How would I configure this?
With just a SWAP_SERVER = in the lts.conf file? The above
RAM usage should be fine on a 32MB computer, if it can swap to the
server. 10MB is very easy to swap out over the network.

4. The new Intel server boards have a strange "feature", where there's
some kind of a gap between 3GB and 4GB RAM. This means that, if have 4GB
RAM installed (typical for LTSP servers), you will only be able to see
the first 3GB, and would need to install a kernel that supports 64GB RAM
to see the full 4GB. Would it be possible to ship Edubuntu with a kernal
for support for 64GB RAM? And what about SMP support? Does Edubuntu do

5. The themed LDM is much nicer than the old one. How much further is it
likely to improve before release of the next Edubuntu? Would it be
possible to have a session chooser and language chooser? Both are quite
essential, imo. It also doesn't warn you yet when you're trying to
log-on, while you're already logged onto another workstation. A
configuration setting that would disallow multiple logins for the same
account would be great too (sorry for feature requests ;) ). Another
'problem' (perhaps pertaining more to ssh than anything else), LDM
doesn't allow logging in with passwordless accounts. In tuXlabs, we use
pam_unix.so with nullok auth, to allow us to set up some passwordless
guest accounts when a lab is innitially installed, meaning that learners
can jump in and use the lab immediately. Is there a way for LDM to allow
passwordless logins? Another suggestion has been to add a button "Guest"
to the login manager, and then LDM can create a new, random account with
random password, and log you in there. After your session it gets
deleted. Any comments on this?

6. Will Edubuntu ship with any kind of flash plugin? I know that
Macromedia's plug-in has a schleppy licence. GNU/Gnash isn't at release
version yet, and the free flash plugin is very incomplete. Wouldn't it
be best to include some kind of flash plugin by default though? A lot of
educational content everywhere is created using flash.

7. What's the status with sound? I got a sound icon on my client
taskbar, and played some .ogg files in Rhythmbox, and it looks like its
playing, but no sound came out of the client. Does sound work out of the
box, or does it need some additional configuration?

8. I'm trying to understand some of the LTSP tags better. I assume that
they'll work a bit differently on Ubuntu LTSP than on ltsp.org. Does
"XSERVER =" mean that the client should listen for an
XDMCP server on, or has it been adapted to connect to an
LDM session on

9. SCREEN_01 to SCREEN_12 is reported to work, and it does, except that
it breaks something else. For example, "SCREEN_01 = startx" would bring
up a grey cursor with the X cursor. And the keyboard becomes
unresponsive. Is this session looking for an XDMSERVER to connect to?
"SCREEN_09 = shell" does give me a root terminal on tty9, but then LDM
doesn't start up. There's no errors anywhere either :/

10. I've tested thin client specific settings, for example:
          XSERVER = ati
    and it works fine. Should this be marked as tested in
https://wiki.edubuntu.org/EdubuntuLtsConfParams ? or is it not
applicable to that page?

Otherwise, the ssh tunneling seems way more efficient that XDMCP. I
can't wait to see how Edubuntu will perform in the tuXlabs. We'll need
to find some workaround for the RAM issue, though. Many PC's in our
first 50 labs or so have 32MB RAM, perhaps they need replacement.
Otherwise, the bootup speed is fantastic now. And it's nice to have a
bootsplash on the thin clients as well. Can't wait to see it with the
new Edubuntu artwork!


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