Fedora Core or Ubuntu | Thin Clients

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay at dinamis.com
Mon Jan 26 19:04:49 UTC 2009

Trey wrote:
> Hi. I have 1 standalone machine and 2 thin clients I need 2 setup. I know this is possible with Ubuntu but the person setting this up for me keeps trying to get me to use fedora. I'm simply just wandering if fedora provides any advantages for thin client setup than Ubuntu? 

I have experience with both. It's a wash. Both distros have active LTSP
maintainers, unlike Mandriva. Fedora even offers a live CD with LTSP
built-in. The differences between the distros are more than just the
package manager. It used to be that apt was better than yum. That is no
longer the case. Now it boils down to your personal preference and

I've found Fedora, due to its affiliation with Red Hat, offers more by
way of "enterprise" deployment options with such things as Cobbler,
Spacewalk, FreeIPA. I've also found Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS kickstart more
mature, better-documented, and easier to deal with than Debian/Ubuntu
preseed. Kickstart is supported in limited ways in Debian/Ubuntu and I
didn't find it a viable option.

Why did I mention the kickstart/preseed scripted installation option? A
few months ago, I went down the same path of evaluating LTSP and
concluded that for my use, deploying fat clients via a scripted
installation, such as kickstart or preseed, via PXE booting was the
better option. LTSP makes sense if you have a bunch of older machines
that aren't likely to run modern Linux distros acceptably well due to
resource constraints. If you're not resource-constrained, there is
precious little that LTSP has to offer. I know that one of the cited
advantages is centralized deployment, i.e. you only have one machine,
the LTSP server, to administer instead of the server and N clients, but
there are some disadvantages too. A handful of thin clients hitting
YouTube with Firefox can apparently saturate even a 100BaseT network. In
my case, that would have been a problem since the deployment was for a
school's computer lab where YouTube could be one of the resources they
used. LTSP apparently has experimental local application support but
"experimental" didn't appeal to me.

With judicious use of deployment tools like Cobbler and kickstart, and
configuration management tools like cfengine, puppet, or bcfg2, you can
have the advantages of LTSP, like centralized deployment and
configuration management, with none of the disadvantages if and only if
the clients are powerful enough to run a modern Linux distro. In my
case, that wasn't a problem since the minimum configuration was a P4
2GHz with 2GB of RAM. In fact, it seemed like a waste of resources to
use machines with that kind of computing power as thin clients.

Clifford Ilkay
1419-3266 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON
Canada  M4N 3P6

+1 416-410-3326
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: smime.p7s
Type: application/x-pkcs7-signature
Size: 3286 bytes
Desc: S/MIME Cryptographic Signature
URL: <https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-users/attachments/20090126/d77d7ba0/attachment.bin>

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list