[nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts

Pat Gagnon patgagnon at gmail.com
Tue Jan 19 20:12:35 AST 2010


Awesome, thank you very much every one.  I have lots of reading to do.

BTW the laptop hardware that I will try this on first are HP NC 8000, P4 1.8
GHz, 512 MB ram with 160 Gig HDD.  The desktops are all P4's as well with
512 MB Ram minimum and 60+ gigs.

Thanks again.

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Today's Topics:

   1.  classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts (Pat Gagnon)
   2. Re:  classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
      (Ben Armstrong)
   3. Re:  classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
      (Michael Gillie)
   4. Re:  classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
      (George N. White III)
   5. Re:  classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts (D G Teed)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 13:16:31 -0400
From: "Pat Gagnon" <patgagnon at gmail.com>
Subject: [nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
To: <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Message-ID: <00f201ca992b$3b6cf400$b246dc00$@com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hello group, I'm hoping someone has already done this and can point me in
the right direction.

What I'm trying to do is setup PCs and laptops in the school where I
volunteer so that they are back to original configuration after reboot.

I know I can use software such as Deepfreeze and Microsoft SteadyState for
Windows but the twist is that I want to offer a dual boot environment with
Ubuntu (or maybe Edubuntu) and have the same reboot back to original config
in the Linux environment.  Anyone know of a Linux equivalent to the
Microsoft base software?  Prefer something with a GUI but not necessary.

I want to give the kids as much freedom as possible on the workstations so
they can really learn the OS' and not always be restricted in what they can
do (ie install/delete/modify anything within the sandbox).  Since the
machine will be back to original state after a reboot, for the most part I
don't care what they do.  They store files on a network server but I still
want to provide a partition for both OS' in case network connectivity is not
available or an issue (especially the laptops).  These 2 partitions, or
maybe just one FAT/FAT32/NTFS for both???, will not be wiped on reboot.

In case this matters for software choices: There are 3 accounts used on all
machines which dictate server file access.  The file server is a Linux
server running a software RAID1 drive array.

Any help on where I start reading up on this type of setup would be much
appreciated.

Thanks.

Pat
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Message: 2
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:02:51 -0400
From: Ben Armstrong <synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca>
Subject: Re: [nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
To: nslug at nslug.ns.ca
Message-ID: <20100119140251.13813541 at lear.nslug.ns.ca>
Content-Type: text/plain; CHARSET=US-ASCII

On Tue, 19 Jan 2010 13:16:31 -0400
"Pat Gagnon" <patgagnon at gmail.com> wrote:
> What I'm trying to do is setup PCs and laptops in the school where I 
> volunteer so that they are back to original configuration after reboot.

caveat: i have not done this ...

> I know I can use software such as Deepfreeze and Microsoft SteadyState 
> for Windows but the twist is that I want to offer a dual boot 
> environment with Ubuntu (or maybe Edubuntu) and have the same reboot 
> back to original config in the Linux environment.  Anyone know of a 
> Linux equivalent to the Microsoft base software?  Prefer something with a
GUI but not necessary.

I recently read about something like this in Linux Journal:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/10203

Would FreeBoo do the job for you?

Down at the end of the article is a link to the scripts used in the article.

Ben
--
 ,-.  nSLUG    http://www.nslug.ns.ca   synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
 \`'  Debian   http://www.debian.org    synrg at debian.org
  `          [ gpg 395C F3A4 35D3 D247 1387 2D9E 5A94 F3CA 0B27 13C8 ]


------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:11:08 -0400
From: Michael Gillie <mikegpc at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
To: Nova Scotia Linux User Group <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Message-ID:
	<2a7541d51001191011v73104c4bt4315ab9d715afbbc at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

In this case, I would recommend using Wubi to install under Windows. Install
the Deepfreeze after the Ubuntu is installed. Any changes in linux should,
(I would think) be wiped off at reboot as it's part of the Windows
Partition.

Regards,


Michael Gillie



On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 1:16 PM, Pat Gagnon <patgagnon at gmail.com> wrote:

>  Hello group, I?m hoping someone has already done this and can point 
> me in the right direction.
>
> What I?m trying to do is setup PCs and laptops in the school where I 
> volunteer so that they are back to original configuration after reboot.
>
> I know I can use software such as Deepfreeze and Microsoft SteadyState 
> for Windows but the twist is that I want to offer a dual boot 
> environment with Ubuntu (or maybe Edubuntu) and have the same reboot 
> back to original config in the Linux environment.  Anyone know of a 
> Linux equivalent to the Microsoft base software?  Prefer something with a
GUI but not necessary.
>
> I want to give the kids as much freedom as possible on the 
> workstations so they can really learn the OS? and not always be 
> restricted in what they can do (ie install/delete/modify anything 
> within the sandbox).  Since the machine will be back to original state 
> after a reboot, for the most part I don?t care what they do.  They 
> store files on a network server but I still want to provide a 
> partition for both OS? in case network connectivity is not available 
> or an issue (especially the laptops).  These 2 partitions, or maybe just
one FAT/FAT32/NTFS for both???, will not be wiped on reboot.
>
> In case this matters for software choices: There are 3 accounts used 
> on all machines which dictate server file access.  The file server is 
> a Linux server running a software RAID1 drive array.
>
> Any help on where I start reading up on this type of setup would be 
> much appreciated.
>
> Thanks.
>
> Pat
>
> _______________________________________________
> nSLUG mailing list
> nSLUG at nslug.ns.ca
> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug
>
>


--
Have a great day,


Michael C. Gillie

1-902-482-9644
Skype: hemmysoft
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Message: 4
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:17:57 -0400
From: "George N. White III" <gnwiii at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
To: Nova Scotia Linux User Group <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Message-ID:
	<22af238a1001191017s4dcce82cgf0c6b197cfb6b32c at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252

On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 1:16 PM, Pat Gagnon <patgagnon at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello group, I?m hoping someone has already done this and can point me in
> the right direction.
>
> What I?m trying to do is setup PCs and laptops in the school where I
> volunteer so that they are back to original configuration after reboot.

People have done things like that using unionfs, with a read-only lowest
layer fs and writable overlay, e.g.,

<http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Live_CD_Tips#Persistent_Disk_Image>


> I know I can use software such as Deepfreeze and Microsoft SteadyState for
> Windows but the twist is that I want to offer a dual boot environment with
> Ubuntu (or maybe Edubuntu) and have the same reboot back to original
config
> in the Linux environment.? Anyone know of a Linux equivalent to the
> Microsoft base software?? Prefer something with a GUI but not necessary.

Wubi boots linux from an image file stored in the Windows partition, so in
principle, windows tools would restore the original image, but you would
need
to determine exactly when and how the restore is done, as the boot loader
goes directly to the linux image without much chance for windows to get
involved.

> I want to give the kids as much freedom as possible on the workstations so
> they can really learn the OS? and not always be restricted in what they
can
> do (ie install/delete/modify anything within the sandbox).? Since the
> machine will be back to original state after a reboot, for the most part I
> don?t care what they do.? They store files on a network server but I still
> want to provide a partition for both OS? in case network connectivity is
not
> available or an issue (especially the laptops).? These 2 partitions, or
> maybe just one FAT/FAT32/NTFS for both???, will not be wiped on reboot.
>
> In case this matters for software choices: There are 3 accounts used on
all
> machines which dictate server file access.? The file server is a Linux
> server running a software RAID1 drive array.
>
> Any help on where I start reading up on this type of setup would be much
> appreciated.

It takes a lot of care to get the initial frozen images right, and
they will need
updates/patches, etc.

What is the hardware?   With P4 level machines that have .5G RAM and 30-40G
disks, dual boot makes sense, but those are well past the "best before
date".  With
last year's Core 2 Duo, 2G RAM, 160 G disk,  you should find that running
linux in VM's gives very adequate performance for students.

We run courses once or twice a year at locations around the globe.   Some of
the key apps are linux/macosx only, but with few exceptions the students
only
know windows and must produce presentations/reports and use data which
they often bring in MS eXcel format.    Some learned to use OpenOffice
and stay in linux (and could mount the win partition to get data), but
others
spent a lot of time waiting for reboots.

Last Feb. we used dual boot.   The student systems came with Windows, so
for each machine Ubuntu linux install was used to put linux on a separate
partition by an IT staff person.  Last October, again starting machines that
had Windows installed,  we used VMware Player and a linux VM.   The students
were provided with DVD's containing the player and a zip archive with the
VM,
and did the install themselves.    This meant students saw reduced
performance,
but much less IT setup effort was needed.   Student machines take a beating,
so
you can expect a fair amount of hardware maintenance work.  Faster machines
may not make much difference to the students -- the real benefit is that IT
can
do a reinstall quickly and reduce the downtime, number of spares, or hours
students are without machines.

I've played around with 32-bit and 64-bit linux VM's running under VMware,
KVM, and VirtualBox.   You can only run 32-bit linux in a VM hosted on
32-bit
windows.   With a 64-bit linux dual-core host all the options can give close
to
"native" performance for either 64 or 32bit guests.  I think the same is
true
for Windows hosts.



-- 
George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


------------------------------

Message: 5
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:36:03 -0400
From: D G Teed <donald.teed at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [nSLUG] classroom PC setup - looking for your thoughts
To: Nova Scotia Linux User Group <nslug at nslug.ns.ca>
Message-ID:
	<dd4da0391001191036x55b21d5dqfe8be3f0212e892d at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 1:16 PM, Pat Gagnon <patgagnon at gmail.com> wrote:

>  Hello group, I?m hoping someone has already done this and can point me in
> the right direction.
>
> What I?m trying to do is setup PCs and laptops in the school where I
> volunteer so that they are back to original configuration after reboot.
>
Michael Rayment of MUN gave a talk about this at CANHEIT 2006 in Halifax.

Some of the details are in this Gentoo User Story:
http://www.gentoo.org/news/en/gwn/20040209-newsletter.xml#doc_chap3<%20%20ht
tp://www.gentoo.org/news/en/gwn/20040209-newsletter.xml#doc_chap3>

To get the best performance out of this, you trade the cost
of disk for more memory on the clients.  If you need network boot,
check that your network cards will support PXE or etherboot.  Not
all network host adapters contain a network booting BIOS.  Of course
it is most simple if they are all the same or at least you have
only one protocol to configure with DHCP and tftpboot.

Another way to go for more restricted clients is booting rdesktop
to a Windows terminal server.  PXES used to do this, but is now
commercialized.  LTSP might work for you.

The other approach is to use disks on the clients.  The problem is
you don't want to wipe and reimage the disk every time someone
new is going to use the workstation.  It would typically take
one hour to reimage the boot disk.  Labs using this approach are
more likely to reimage once per day.  Some places use a central image
and send it to multiple hosts simultaneously using udpcast.

Lots of options, happily.
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