Success with new 9.10 server ... sort of

David Hopkins dahopkins429 at
Fri Feb 19 23:04:00 GMT 2010

Today was the test of the new Edubuntu 9.10 server in the elementary school
lab.  Things went fairly well with a couple of issues.  The teacher had more
positive responses about the new server but I really want this to work well.
Especially as the alternative is to remove all thin clients and move to
Macs.  I think Edubuntu is the right choice, just need to get a few more
items fixed.

1) I tried using Sabayon to define mandatory profiles for the accounts.
This didn't work unless I first deleted all the .gconf*, .gnome* files.
There was a bug report on this. Perhaps 2.29.5 fixes this, but I'm using
what is in the repository and that is 2.28.  Even after deleting those
files, if I had set up a session to have Desktop icons, those were copied
with 644 permissions instead of 755.  This is also reported as a bug.  Is
the latest version of sabayon going to be available via apt-get soon?
Alternatively, how do I compile 2.29.5?  I am very much afraid of
accidentally breaking the current setup which would be bad.

2) I need to force screen resolutions to 1024x768 for all systems.  For
LTSP4.2 this automatic, but LTSP5 picks 1280x1024 which makes the icons just
a little too small for the kids. They work, but the teacher would prefer the
prior resolution.  There are keywords for the lts.conf file but I've not had
success with them always working.

3) How do I get vnc enabled? e.g. use vncviewer from a remote system and get
a new session. I'm not trying to connect to an existing user's login.  I
noticed ubuntu doesn't use xinetd but uses openbsd-inetd instead and this is
needed for nbd for the thin clients.  Googling for solutions hasn't been
very fruitful.  This is so the teacher who is on a different server than the
classroom can demo the exact same versions of the apps (which aren't
available on CentOS yet) by connecting via vnc to the ubuntu server.

4) Thin Client Manager doesn't seem to show any logged in sessions even
though there are.  Has anyone gotten fl_teachertool working with Ubuntu?  I
started following the installation instructions for building fl_teachertool,
and have mostly finished (with some changes since the instructions are for
Fedora). However, before I rebuild the image to test, I need an answer to
the next item.

5) I added some packages to the ltsp chroot for local apps (yesterday) and
rebuilt the image via
  ltsp-build-client --copy-package-lists --arch i386
  ltsp-update-image --arch i386
 For those apps, things are working. But I've now added more to support
fl_teachertool.  Before I rebuild again, how can I insure that I can safely
get back to a known good image? Can I just make a copy of the image before
updating it, and if the new image doesn't work, move the old back in place?
Are there potential issues with ssh keys?  This is my biggest concern as I
want to add more local apps and need an assured way to revert to a 'known
working' configuration.

Again, overall things went well, I just want to be sure they get better. ;)

Dave Hopkins
Newark Charter School.
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