[ubuntu-uk] New Ubuntu LTSP installation at Exwick Community Centre - Exeter, Devon

Rob Beard rob at esdelle.co.uk
Fri Jul 18 00:27:17 BST 2008

Hi folks,

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I thought I'd post again as 
I've made progress and I thought you might all be interested.

I've been involved with a project to install a computer suite at a 
Community Centre in Exeter.  The system comprises of a Dell server 
running Ubuntu 8.04.1 and some recycled old Dell machines (P3 1Ghz, 
256MB) as client machines with new monitors and custom units to house 
the computers.

The actual project itself has been in progress about 9 months but only 
recently started to make real progress.  We managed to get funding from 
a local radio station charity which covered the cost of the new monitors 
and server (the server is a Dell PowerEdge R300 with quad core Intel 
Xeon CPU @ 2.66GHz and 4GB RAM, so a bit overkill for 6 clients, but 
it's got the room to expand).

Today was the first day of setting the server up.  I went over there 
armed with a freshly downloaded Ubuntu ISO.  After a couple of hours 
working out how to network the kit together I managed to get a working 
installation of Ubuntu with the LTSP components (this got me at first, 
Ubuntu was the 64-bit version, although the clients are 32-bit, luckily 
the Ubuntu Wiki pointed me in the right direction on how to fix this).

By the early afternoon I'd got my first client machine up and running (I 
was limited for space, network ports, power sockets and the fire alarm 
went off!).  I was very impressed on how quick it was on such old 
hardware.  The screen updates were a little slow but the programs ran 
much quicker (I presume because they were actually running on a beast of 
a server), and even things like sound worked out of the box (this is 
something I had so much trouble with a couple of years back when I first 
looked at LTSP 3 on Debian).  I even started my laptop up as a client 
which with a Gigabit connection to the server really did fly.  I've 
never seen Ubuntu run so quick on my laptop!

Anyway, the next step is to get the server configured for visitors to 
the centre.  Hopefully the staff at the centre will be able to offer 
training on Wordprocessing, Spreadsheets etc using OpenOffice.org, 
Graphics using The Gimp and Inkscape, Desktop Publishing using Scribus 
and OpenOffice.org Draw and audio editing with Audacity.

To keep the kids happy there is a fairly reasonable selection of games 
and things including Tux Paint.

Although it's been hard work getting the funding together and planning 
everything, I'd certainly say it's been a worthwhile experience.  I'm 
hoping that when the suite is officially opened we could use it as a 
live demonstration site so other community centres and even businesses 
and educational establishments in the area can come along and give 
Ubuntu and Open Source software a try (and take away a free Ubuntu CD).

I'm not entirely sure when the official opening will be, but if anyone 
is near Exeter and would like to pop down to offer advice to visitors 
(and moral support to us all) then that would be great.


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