System ram requirements for LTSP

Jim Kronebusch jim at
Mon Sep 17 04:55:06 BST 2007

On Sat, 15 Sep 2007 13:41:18 +0200, David Van Assche wrote
> Hi,
>    I understand that 128mb per client is needed from the server, but what if
> the thin clients have ram themselves? Is there any way to utilise that, or
> is it completely ignored? I ask because our thin clients are all laptops
> with 512 mb ram.

With Edubuntu Feisty, your clients should have at least 128MB RAM.  Your server also
should have at least 128MB RAM per client.  The client needs the RAM to properly display
graphics and handle input devices such as keyboard and mouse events.  The server needs
the RAM to run the clients processes, such as Firefox and OpenOffice and any processes
needed to boot the client.  If you have a client with 512MB RAM it will all be used by
default by X11 (the program that handles user input and displaying the graphics).  This
will be a little bit of overkill for general client use, but if you plan on running
Firefox, the extra RAM will make its usage a little more stable as Firefox can chew up
system memory when displaying graphics.  

Since these machines will have plenty of processor and RAM, you could use them as
modified FAT clients.  Central management could still be achieved by utilizing some sort
of Diskless Remote booting from a Central image stored on a server and configuring that
image to handle users via LDAP and NFS mounting /home.  This will most likely be the
route I take for teacher machines next summer and I am testing it right now as teacher
machines in three labs.  I haven't gotten the DRBL figured out exactly how I would like
it yet, but the idea is you could make your changes to that single image and every time
the machines boot they would reload the image.  I have the start of a howto for this
setup located at This would make great use of more
powerful clients and only require a server with a moderately quick hard drive array and
some good network output.  Once the machine would be booted they would run independent
of the server.  This is how I plan on making my single LTSP server serve over 100
clients and still be the central management location for 60-70 teacher/staff
workstations.  Another idea I have been toying with is possibly a server based Virtual
Machine image which would make it easier to have different hardware at each workstation
and still house a central image.


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