Linux as a Thin Client

Because of its low cost and flexibility, Linux can make an excellent thin client OS. You can load Linux on computers that aren’t powerful enough to run the latest software, configure Linux to run appropriate thin client software, and the computer can then access more powerful Linux, Windows, or other computers.

In many respects, the simplest thin client configuration is to use a traditional Linux distribution or a dedicated thin client package to run Linux as a thin client, using a basically traditional hardware configuration, including a local hard disk or at least a CD-ROM drive. Perhaps the most appealing way of doing the job is to use a dedicated thin client distribution, which provides you with precisely the tools you need—no more and no less—to use Linux as a thin client. However you do it, you can run Linux without a hard disk using a bootable Ethernet card and configuring a system to deliver Linux OS files to computers that boot with such a card.

Distribution Selection and Installation

Your first choice is what distribution to use on the thin client computers. The needs of a thin client are such that a good desktop or server distribution may not be the best choice for a thin client. Many popular distributions, such as Fedora, Mandrake, and SuSE, install many unnecessary desktop or server applications that, in fact, may be undesirable on a dedicated thin client. These distributions also often require a lot of disk space or memory—features that may be ...

Get Linux in a Windows World now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.