Product Review: LTSP

Here’s my review of LTSP, or Linux Terminal Server Project. Please keep in mind I am not a professional journalist!

Installation was extremely easy. I found the documentation easy to follow, and I had no problems setting it up. All it was a few commands, a bit of waiting, and viola! An LTSP server!

I connected a thin client, and found it would not boot. I had to configure dhcpd! I went back on to LTSP’s website, and sure enough, they had documentation for that, too! Within minutes, I was able to successfully boot my first thin client!

Too good to be true? Sort of…

I found it to be very laggy, definitely a problem. After about 15 minutes of googling, I find out that the server and client are communicating in an SSH tunnel, the way it is supposed to. It has a fatal side effect: more lag. Seeing as this was only for home use, and I don’t think my friends have any plans to sniff my thin client traffic, I turned off the SSH tunnel. Immediately, I found an improvement! Before, I could barely do word processing, now I can even play some games!

I found the documentation to be a bit lacking in some areas. I have questions that I couldn’t find the answers to. “Will installing a better graphics card in my server improve game performance?” is my most important one.

So, where am I now? I have a server set up with a single client. Yes, I know it’s not worth it at that small scale, but I have plans to install more thin clients later. I have changed the login screen – I used a Doctor Who background coupled with a ‘Please login below’ image. I even changed the colour of the login text!

My father uses the thin client every day, and the only complaints I have had are because of me(Unplugged network cable, server stopped due to power outage, etc.) other than that, he is very happy with it!

Overall, I rate LTSP 9/10, and here’s why:

  • Installation and configuration was easy
  • No severe problems
  • Almost everything is configurable
  • I wasn’t able to have it connect to an RDP server, even when I follow their instructions
  • Documentation not provided in some areas

That’s all, hope to post more soon
-Stephen

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