Her former terminal has an aluminium case that sings and must be positioned and burdened just so to minimize the noise. In the hot days of this summer it also put out too much heat so it is banished to the basement in a dark closet. In its place she will be using a tiny thin client about the size of a box of chocolates.
The setup was easy. I just edited /etc/gdm3/daemon.conf on her old PC with
DisallowTCP = false
Enable = true
and restarted gdm to enable XDMCP. This is quite insecure but our network is pretty tight…
I then installed Debian GNU/Linux packages ltsp-server and ltspfs (to allow automounting USB devices over the network). I ran ltsp-build-client and after a few minutes there only remained a little tweak of /etc/exports for NFS.
so the thin client would be able to mount its root filesystem over the network.
/etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server restart loaded the configuration.
I tweaked the DHCP server in the router with the fixed IP address of the thin client and set the “next server” to the IP address of her old PC and told it to load /ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0 and mount as root filesystem, /opt/ltsp/i386. To make USB mounts transparent I needed to add her to the “fuse” group.
usermod -a -G fuse little_woman
I needed to set the BIOS of her old machine to ignore “no keyboard” conditions to run headless. The hardest part was finding the password for the DHCP server…
The thin client was set to connect to a server back at my last school so I rejigged the BIOS to boot PXE.
Her USB ports, monitor, keyboard and mouse will function exactly as they did and she will have all her files and menus as before. She already has a request in for a second station in the dining room…