Linux as a Server for Thin Clients

Thin clients rely on servers to do any good. Most obviously, this reliance is on the login servers themselves. Chapter 11 describes two such servers, XDMCP (for use with X) and VNC. For the most part, the configurations described in that chapter work well with thin clients, although there are a few caveats. Thin clients booted from the network also rely on DHCP and TFTP, so knowing how to configure these two servers is important.

Linux Distribution Selection and Configuration

In principle, you can use any mainstream Linux distribution as a login server for thin clients. Distributions that are geared toward desktop use, such as Mandrake and Xandros, can provide lots of eye candy and be very friendly to users, but these features may generate more in the way of video (and hence network) activity than you’d like, because they might use lots of animation and demand large or color-intensive displays. Thus, you might prefer starting with a distribution that provides less fluff, such as Debian, Gentoo, or Slackware, and build it up to the point that you want and no further. This can help you control network and server load.

For the most part, you can configure a Linux login server for thin clients just as you’d configure any other desktop system. Appendix B describes some of the issues involved in such a configuration. When planning this configuration, remember that the video display involves a network access, so features such as animated icons will consume ...

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