IRC chat logs for #ltsp on irc.freenode.net (webchat)


Channel log from 31 January 2015   (all times are UTC)

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07:19
<aim__>
hi
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19:11
<tyrantelf>
Hello everyone! I'm going to bug you guys for a bit.
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19:19
<vagrantc>
tyrantelf: we're used to it. :)
19:21
<tyrantelf>
vagrantc: I can imagine
19:22
<vagrantc>
did you have specific questions?
19:22
<tyrantelf>
Yeah, I'm typing up a bit of a background really fast
19:23
I'm wanting to present a complete network overhaul to a local grade school (k-8) (rural area.. probably around 400-500 students)
19:23
Most of their computers are running windows XP, with a few windows 7 (mostly recent laptop upgrades) and the windows xp computers won't support windows 7. They don't have the budget for a full upgrade.
19:24
It'll pretty much be a complete network overhaul to put LTSP in, which I'm planning for, but as far as exactly what server configuration I should use I'm still a bit iffy.
19:24
<vagrantc>
good luck!
19:25
<tyrantelf>
I've been thinking a redundant system with ltsp-cluster (2 root server, 2 application servers, 1 file server in RAID 5)
19:26
a portion of the computers could probably be fat clients, but several would be thin clients. (several of the computers were bought probably about 10+ years ago)
19:27* vagrantc would recommend against raid5
19:27
<tyrantelf>
what would you reccommend?
19:28
<vagrantc>
raid1 or raid6, generally
19:29
<tyrantelf>
I'd probably go with raid 6 then
19:29
<vagrantc>
rebuilds put a lot of stress on the drives at the very moment that data integrity is weakest
19:30
yeah, raid6 looses a little more data, but has much higher data integrity
19:30
i mean, looses a little more capacity
19:33
<tyrantelf>
to be honset capacity won't be that big of an issue, so good call
19:34
<vagrantc>
if you really don't care about capacity, raid1 with 3 drives and a hot spare will give a lot of reliability with slow writes.
19:35
fast rebuilds, too.
19:35
<tyrantelf>
Okay, will keep that in mind.
19:36
<austrian_>
tyrantelf: Are you planning on using LDAP or other user authentication?
19:37
<tyrantelf>
austrian_: yes, the root servers will be running ldap
19:39
<austrian_>
tyrantelf: A remote NFS home mount will cut down on drive wear as well. I'm new to the game, but working in a school environment as well. I've got a separate NFS server with RAID 1 for home mounting. Improved overall performance.
19:40
<tyrantelf>
austrian_: I'm planning on doing that.
19:40
nice to have confirmation it'll work well though
19:40
<austrian_>
Works amazingly well.
19:42
I've been experimenting with different desktops as well as LTSP-pnp. Mint seems to make everyone feel less apprehensive to change.
19:43
<tyrantelf>
That's one thing I hadn't decided on, what distro to use
19:44
I've heard a lot of good things with mint so far
19:44
<austrian_>
We've used 14.04 Ubuntu for the last year, but changing to Mint 17.1 Cinnamon to calm those MS babies.
19:45
<tyrantelf>
I havn't had a ton of experience with mint but I doubt it'd pose a problem.
19:45
<austrian_>
Performance wise I haven't seen any difference. We have all FAT clients. Specs aren't impressive but performance is. We have the PC-fit2 units. Fanless AMD 1.6Ghz dual core units.
19:46
<tyrantelf>
memory in those?
19:47
How much RAM is in them* ?
19:47
<austrian_>
8Gb. Yeah, I know. On purpose because we are toying with the idea of a memory cache so we could download the entire image. We are also running virtualbox on the clients.
19:47
<tyrantelf>
Okay
19:47
You have any laptops in this system?
19:47
<austrian_>
So even though they have no hard-drives, they have virtual machines running on them as well.
19:48
<vagrantc>
there are a few mint "features" that i find to be problematic ... it doesn't install package recommends by default, and blocks some security updates by default :(
19:49
<austrian_>
That is true. If you use the update manager. I just use apt-get and it seems to install all the security updates regardless of the update managers recommendations.
19:50
--install-recommends is a new trick I learned on this channel.
19:50
<tyrantelf>
My biggest problem at the moment is making this somewhat user friendly for the person in charge of the computers at the school. I won't be on staff to constantly maintain the sytem
19:50
<austrian_>
Also, the coolest feature, by far, in a school environment has been usage of epoptes.
19:51
<tyrantelf>
austrian_: I was planning on setting up epoptes, it looks fantastic for a lab setting
19:53
<austrian_>
tyrantelf: Absolutely perfect in that setting. The neat thing is that you can make it very simple. Once the system is up, I rarely find a reason to change anything. LTSP-pnp is also an option because you don't need any chroot. That would also simplify updates / installation of new applications. I don't, however, know how that would work with clustering.
19:53
The impression I got was to create a virtual LTSP-pnp machine. Use that machine to generate images and then copy those images to the servers.
19:54
And. You are talking to a guy that just starting using Linux a few months ago.
19:55
<tyrantelf>
after hearing the specs of your setup, I might be able to get away without clustering and just having two mirrored servers
19:56
<austrian_>
I enjoyed the project so much that I dumped all my hard-drives at my home and all the PCs myself and my family uses are all LTSP.
19:56
<tyrantelf>
and I've got a bit more experience than that :P I ran ubuntu as a desktop OS for 6 months and I've been running centos and ubuntu servers for about 3 years now
19:56
<austrian_>
If you can offload the processing to the clients via FAT then I could get away with alot. Thin clients require a bit more... umph.
19:58
My LTSP servers are all virtual machines. Not even on the metal. The servers are Atom C2750 cpus with 16gb of memory. Each server is running 15-25 virtual machines. 2 of them are LTSP. So, you don't need alot if they are fat clients.
19:59
I run anywhere from 25-50 clients on each LTSP server but utilization is still low. A decent server could serve many more clients.
20:01
Probably a better way to do things, but I like running the LTSP machines virtual so I can make easy snapshots / backup / restore. When I started using Linux for the first time, the first task was LTSP. Embarrassed to say that it took me 3 months of "playing" to get my head around it.
20:02
Documentation for the newbie is very.... let's say, sparse.
20:02
<tyrantelf>
I'm aware, I've experimentd with it a bit
20:02
this irc is about the best resource, period
20:03
<austrian_>
Yeah. Wish I would have known about it. IRC is something I didn't even think of as a resource.
20:03
<tyrantelf>
I basically just have mine setup to camp out in like, 20 different channels
20:04
<austrian_>
Nice. I'm in the classroom 6+ hours a day. Not alot of opportunity.
20:04
<tyrantelf>
quassel
20:04
Setup quassel core on a server, it stores everything on the server and you never go offline, you just connect the client and you get all the stuff you missed
20:05
<austrian_>
LTSP saved me from having to assassinate some of the IT department.
20:05
Quassel core. I'll look into that.
20:05
<tyrantelf>
The entire thing is just called quassel
20:05
It's an irc client, with a core that sits on the server and takes the messages, then a client that connects to the core to get the messages
20:06
<austrian_>
Perfect.
20:06
<tyrantelf>
last time i went offline was... 295 days ago
20:06
or would of been if the irc server didn't get ddos'd a couple times
20:07
anyway, the grade school I'm planning on pitching the upgrade to is the one I actually went to not too long ago
20:08
That's basically why I know the state of disrepair their computer system is in
20:09
<austrian_>
They will really enjoy it once initial shock is over. I know my IT director is insanely jealous of my department. They can't go LTSP because not a single person in the department has ever used Linux.
20:09
<tyrantelf>
Tell me about it, I'm fairly sure the computer teacher at the school will be drooling once it's all setup
20:10
well, if she's willing to get her head out of her arse and learn how to use it
20:11
<austrian_>
LDAP for me was a little painful at first. Mainly inexperience, but LDM requires SSH authentication while the LTSP server uses the standard PAM LDAP modules.
20:13
<vagrantc>
austrian_, tyrantelf : we're always looking for folks to update the documentation :)
20:14
<austrian_>
Might want to play with the idea of a virtual "image builder". My notion was that I could have a virtual machine for every department and I would build the image on those machines. Then copy the image over to the respective departments server.
20:14
vagrantc: I have a student that has written a complete write up of our headless installation and is going to be submitting it to you shortly.
20:15
<vagrantc>
ideally, commits we can merge into the ltsp-docs repository
20:16
<austrian_>
vagrantc: It was a bunch of newbies documenting the install as we went. We wanted someone who know what they were doing to look at it first and make sure we didn't steer anyone wrong.
20:16
<vagrantc>
we get a lot of "i've documented my setup extensively" sorts of documentation, but not much "here's LTSP documentation in a generally applicable form"
20:16
<tyrantelf>
austrian_: send that to me :P
20:16
<austrian_>
vagrantc: We also have a slightly weird installation. Virtual LTSP machines, LDAP, remote NFS, CUPS servers, etc.
20:16
<vagrantc>
having fresh eyes on it is essential ... the documentation overall looks good to me, because i've been doing this almost a decade now :)
20:17
anyways, gotta head out.
20:18
<tyrantelf>
ttyl vagrantc
20:18
<austrian_>
vagrantc: I'm jealous. A least you have a passion and are good at it. I'm a professor with too many passions and too little time.
20:18
<vagrantc>
we could really use updates to https://code.launchpad.net/~ltsp-docwriters/ltsp/ltsp-docs-trunk
20:19
<austrian_>
I'll get it to you.
20:21* vagrantc waves
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22:12
<tyrantelf>
Hey guys, do you have any opinons on diskless application servers? As in, having the application servers boot an image from a root server so you can add/remove them at a moments notice
22:13
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: that's what I'm are using only at the moment
22:14
the servers use the same image as fat clients and laptops
22:16
<tyrantelf>
how big is your deployment and how effective has it been?
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22:17
<tyrantelf>
Also, since you mention laptops, how are you making them work? I've heard a couple different workarounds for them
22:20
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: over hundred servers in total
22:21
<tyrantelf>
over 100 servers?! how many clients?
22:21
<vmlintu>
we are not using to be able to deploy extra servers dynamically, but to keep them updated in sync with everything else
22:26
tyrantelf: we transfer the same image to laptops as thin/fat clients use and laptops boot locally using that image. The image is updated using rdiffs when there's a new version on the server
22:27
<tyrantelf>
how does the initial install go?
22:27
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: you boot the laptop with pxe using the same image and it partitions the disk, copies the image and installs grub
22:27
http://labs.opinsys.com/blog/2014/01/21/managing-thousands-of-linux-destops-with-puavo/
22:27
There's more about it
22:28
<tyrantelf>
do you have any associate with the guys who wrote that/are you one of them :?
22:28
I've referenced that a lot :P
22:28
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: you mean Puavo?
22:29
<tyrantelf>
yea
22:29
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: I wrote the blog post and quite a bit of the code
22:30
<tyrantelf>
Well, I definately want to be able to talk to you when deploying then, that article has been the base of 90% of what I'm planning
22:34
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: what kind of environment do you have?
22:36
<tyrantelf>
rurual grade school/junior high (k-8 in one school), they have one computer lab running old windows xp systems, about 2 classrooms per grade with ~3 computers per classroom, some with more, none with less.
22:36
I'm 18, the computers at least in the computer lab were put in when i was in kindergarten there, to give you an idea of specs
22:37
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: have you tried puavo or are you assembling your own system?
22:37
<tyrantelf>
I'm in the planning stages, I thought about setting up puavo and doing a test
22:38
I'm just going to propose the system and hope they accept it, I don't work there
22:38
My biggest hurdle was there seems to be very limited documentation about how the hell puavo actually works
22:38
i can get an idea looking at it, but actually setting it up was a bit of a mind-fuck
22:43
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: yes, the docs are lacking and we are working on that.. the development setup should work easily
22:44
<tyrantelf>
I'll spin up a couple vps's sometime and work with it
22:45
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: if you want to try it out, it should be possible to create a demo organisation for you in our setup
22:45
<tyrantelf>
if you could, that would be awesome
22:45
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: one puavo installation handles hundreds of organisations that can have multiple schools each
22:46
<tyrantelf>
at this moment it's a single district, i don't know if any others locally would be interested or where they are technology wise
22:46
and as i said, i still don't know if they'll actually go for it, it's just a proposal at this moment
22:47
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: could you mail about your setup to dev@opinsys.fi?
22:47
<tyrantelf>
Sure
22:48
what kind of information would you like?
22:48
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: are you in us?
22:48
<tyrantelf>
yes
22:49
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: just some basic information about the school so that we can do some initial setup and give you hints on how it works
22:49
tyrantelf: and some details about the servers and client devices
22:49
<tyrantelf>
servers are as of yet unsure, I'd be ordering them if my propsal went through
22:51
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: ok.. we are not using real "server grade" servers anymore, but switched to bit more generic hardware
22:52
<tyrantelf>
I see, I'd probably go with some older "server-grade" hardware, mainly for the form factor
22:53
I'd have the servers on-site and with limited space
22:55
<vmlintu>
Sounds familiar
22:57
We are mostly using a setup where the bootserver has a core i7 cpu with 16g of memory and it runs an ltsp server as a kvm virtual machine that boots using pxe. If the school needs more servers, then we just add more hardware that boots using pxe
22:58
all servers have either ipmi or vpro for remote reboots etc
22:59
<tyrantelf>
Okay, sounds effectient
22:59
do you have a system to detect the new servers and add them to a pool to distribute the load to, do you have to manually add them?
23:01
<vmlintu>
tyrantelf: with puavo every device needs to be registered when it's used for the first time. The information is then stored in ldap by puavo. The bootserver is running a component called puavo-rest that acts also as a load balancer. So when an ltsp server boots, it tells about itself to the load balancer and it starts getting traffic.
23:02
So you have to add them manually when booting for the first time, but after that all settings come from puavo.
23:03
things like kernel version and kernel parameters, xrandr settings, pulse audio configuration etc. are also in ldap
23:08
<tyrantelf>
Okay
23:09
<vmlintu>
but it's getting late over here, so I need to get some sleep
23:11
if you can send the mail, I can get you started with puavo.. I can then add the same information to puavo's documentation
23:20
<tyrantelf>
Okay
23:20
I'll get the email sent
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