Tech staff from four area schools got together today to test the K12LTSP concept. If you have not heard of the project before, the idea is to install a special distribution of Linux on one server and have all of the clients run via terminal sessions. Our goal was to create an impromptu Linux computer lab using spare, low-performance machines that we brought from each of our schools. It was a complete success!
Hoover downloaded the installer disk images and burned them in advance, but otherwise we got the whole thing up and running in one hour. Our first server ran on a Thinkpad A-31 with 128MB RAM. Four clients were able to connect before performance declined. We moved the server to a Thinkpad R series laptop with 512MB RAM, and then five clients were able to run simultaneously with terrific performance until one client started running a graphics-intensive game. If we had a 100MB hub or switch and more RAM, our installation could easily support a complete student computer lab.
We came up with several potential uses for a K12LTSP lab. One is the original idea of having a low-cost, standalone computer lab. However, I am thinking of simply adding Linux capability to our existing PC Lab. It will only take the addition of one extra machine to add that feature to a lab full of machines. Another interesting idea is to require students using a computer in a test situation to boot into the Linux environment with a unique username. This could be more secure that our standard practice of laptop loaners.
More power to K12LTSP!