x11vnc and vncviewer for classroom

scott at gnuveau.net scott at gnuveau.net
Mon Nov 24 08:17:02 EST 2008

Hi Mitch,

On Sun, 23 Nov 2008, Mitch Bradley wrote:

> >
> > [discussion about LTSP and PXE and Etherboot and wired ethernet adapters]
> Why is PXE necessary for LTSP?

Its not, but if one wants to boot some of the time as a thin client, and
some of the time as as a standalone computer, then it becomes very handy.
It also allows "thin-clientness" without altering the filesystem on the
XO, preserving all the good work done on that software environment.  What

I was thinking of with the original question was the following scenario:

An XO user runs the stock onboard software stack most of the time.  The
same user visits a location with an LTSP server.  He wants to take
advantage of the additional computing power available on that LTSP server,
so he plugs into the ethernet, and boots disklessly as a LTSP thin client,
w/o any reconfiguration necessary on his part, or any reconfiguration of
the LTSP server.  I happen to make solar powered LTSP servers that are
being deployed in many of the same areas as the XO.  I want to know what I
need to support on the server side to allow this functionality.  PXE
requires no alteration to either system... hence my original question.

> From the LTSP web site, I get the
> impression that it can run inside several distros, including Fedora and
> Debian.  There are Fedora- and Debian- derived distros for XO.

There are LTSP packages for many distros.  One could build from source for

> XO's OFW firmware can load kernels and initramfs's over either USB
> Ethernet adapters or the built-in wireless, using TFTP or HTTP or NFS.

OK, but that requires some user interaction with OFW, correct?

You are saying that OFW can behave like PXE, by pulling a dhcp address via
wireless then TFTPing a kernel/initrd?  If so, that probably solves my
problem, enumerated above.

> It's also possible to boot diskless with root on NFS.  In fact that's
> how the manufacturer runs their Linux-based burn-in diagnostics.

LTSP uses a NBD for root filesystem in recent releases, iirc.

> What you can't do is run an absolutely stock distro, because you need a
> kernel that supports the OLPC-specific hardware.

Which devices in particular?  Can these device drivers be merged into the
upstream kernel tree, or are we still dealing with a binary blob


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