Is it just me, or is LTSP a mess?

David Van Assche dvanassche at
Wed Sep 10 10:05:34 BST 2008

I've taken a look into the email in question, and can answer some
questions. I in no way am affiliated with canonical, though I do work
within the ed/ubuntu community. Firstly, Scott mentions not using
8.04, clearly you should upgrade as that will solve 50% of your
issues... the other issues are all valid, and I guess the problem is
one of communication between developers and end users. Lets address
the issues seperately:

- The gnome lingering process problem

Agreed.. this is a heavy issue that is a pain in the behind, but it is
not LTSP centric... the fault lies with gnome. Right now the
workaround is a watchdog script, which seems to work ok, but is by no
means a fix... This needs to be tackled from the gnome side... Right
now the solution is in monitoring and ending misbehaving processes
through the script or by hand via pkill -u or killall. It makes sense
to clean all processes at least 1 time per day... consider it

- tcm (thin client manager)

Indeed this no longer exists, and I believe it has been discussed
about here before on various occasions. Italc has replaced thin client
manager as the software that should be run to control thin clients
from a centralised location. The new documentation reflects this (new
in intrepid ibex), and I agree it was confusing, but a quick jump to a
channel of importance (#ltsp primarily, but also #edubuntu) will give
you the answers you need. Or a search in google. To install it is
apt-get install italc-client

- port forwarding

The reason this is not built in is because no one knows how the
network structure looks like at a particular location. There could be
many different setups, but the documentation tells you how to easily
do this in the most common way (this has been in documentation for a
while now):

Setting network forwarding
Primary server will act as an network gateway for other servers. With
this configuration, other workstations will be able to
access the network behind the primary server. Here is an example of
script that setup the network forwarding. We put it in
/etc/network/if-up.d/, and make it executable. The script
will run at each network start. In this example, the primary
server private IP is It must be adapted for the IP address used.
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
echo Setting up the forwarding
iptables -A FORWARD -j ACCEPT -i $LAN_NIC -s $LAN_IP_NET
iptables -A FORWARD -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

- speaking to canonical employee

Well, you may have spoken to canonical employees, but just like in any
larger company, unless you talk to the ones involved in the area you
are asking about, you'll probably get blank stares or answers that
don't fit. You did not speak to any educational or ltsp canonical
developer. I guarantee that if you search a little you'll quickly find
out who they are. If you are serious about your issues and concerns,
then why not try to contact one of these developers directly?

- lts.conf file

This is where LTSP gets complex, and its the same across ALL
distributions... If you don't know how to create a file, then it is
not recommended you touch a lts.conf file. Increasingly, reliance on
this file has been diminished to the point that in MOST setups the
lts.conf file is not really required. But if it is, a quick read
through the documentation will show you an example file and where it
should go.

- upgrading from earlier versions

Finally, I would recommend against upgrading, but instead noting the
setup you have and migrating that to a new already working ltsp setup.
If you have ubuntu 7.10, then installing a new 8.04 from the alternate
cd is the best practice that will cause the least pain... and if you
have problems... go to the #ltsp channel, where you will probably get
an answer to any question within minutes. oh, and for the record...
the devs do read this list...

Kind Regards,
David Van Assche

On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 1:21 AM,  <monteslu at> wrote:
> ---- David Van Assche <dvanassche at> wrote:
>> Asmo is certainly not the only person. I know of at least 10 live
>> deployments that have no problems with ubuntu/edubuntu. I'm running
>> pentium 2 500mhz with 128 mb ram as the majority of my thin clients
>> (must be a good 8-10 years old) and they run like clockwork... the
>> problems almost always have to do with server configuration and how
>> the ltsp 5 has been setup there... If you believe jumping to another
>> distro is going to solve your problems, think again. LTSP is now
>> distro independent and whatever problems you run into on ed/ubuntu you
>> are likely to run into on another distro (probably with many more
>> problems jumping at you first.) Ubuntu is the ONLY distro that has
>> LTSP as out of the box as it does.
>> If there are issues with 8.04, then please, by all means note them
>> down... file a bug report... or at least list them here so we can help
>> go through them...
> Read Scott's email from August 24th.
> He raised several valid points.
> I'm currently running 2 8.04 servers for 70 (6020P & older clients)
> I've run into issues with sound, as well as thin clients locking up.
> Going from K12LTSP to 7.04 last year was tough, and I had hoped that this summer's upgrade to 8.04 would make things easier, but it I think I traded my old problems for new ones.
> It seems that traffic on this list as well as the irc channel on freenode slowed considerably once ltsp moved from edubuntu into standard ubuntu.
> If k12linux picks up momentum us school ltsp users almost have to move to it just to stay part of whichever community is larger for help.
> At least no one has started complaining about the crossposting between this and the k12OSN list.
> Luis

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