[PC-BSD Testing] 7.1.1 - Server mode

Kris Moore kris at pcbsd.org
Mon Jul 13 09:53:43 PDT 2009

On Mon, 13 Jul 2009, A.Yerenkow wrote:

> I've installed a server edition;
> I wanted to test a ThinClient PBI.
> I found that serer edition didn't enable a "hald" and "dbus" in
> /etc/rc.conf -- so any login attempt in kde failed.
> I added this manually.
> 1. Do ThinClient PBI while installs add these values, if they not exists?
> 2. I have only one network card, ThinClient didn't ask anything while
> installing, and setup both  dhcp and on same card; (I fixed
> this, at least I separated to em0 and em0_alias0) -- I think this
> behaviour should be a bit tweaked;

I've not tested installing ThinClientPBI on a GUI'less server install yet. The
installation itself asks some questions via kdialog, so it kinda requires
a working desktop to setup.

> 3. In-menu "Thin Client Docs" points to trac, where I see link to
> wiki.pcbsd.org -- should be fixed.

Fixed in SVN now.

> I couldn't tested yet this setup, since my laptop didn't support network
> boot (oops), and second PC is busy right now :)
> So I have questions, for peoples, who use Thin Clients;
> 1. How much RAM per user should be on server? Minimal/Recommended;

Unsure, we'll have to do some testing to see what it takes typically.

However, this will greatly depend upon whats being used on the clients. If everbody opens a copy 
of openoffice, that may require more RAM than just opening firefox or something :P

> 2. How much Network bandwidth would be sufficient for comfort work, per
> user;

You'll want to be on 100BaseT for sure, but I'm not sure of specific bandwidth requirements
of XDMCP. That can probably be google'd though to find out. It may depend on client screen resolution
though as well.

> 3. Do these network users are in separate group, or class, or else; Can
> be limited space/CPU usage/Ram usage per user, at some level higher than
> per-user?

The thinclient only brings the client systems up to a KDM login. It does not
include any fancy user manager GUI or tools yet.

You can add users any way you so choose to provide limits, or restrict things. 
You'll want to dig into FreeBSD docs for advanced user-management.

> 4. Do users see other's HOME dirs? Do all users have some common/shared
> Dir, to which all have rights to write? Or this should be made manually?

Again, same as above :) Depend on how you add the users, make directories, etc.

> 5. 64bit server and 32bit clients - possible? this year? next year? :)

It's defiently possible, I just need to figure out the mechanics on how to
setup the PBI build server, to build a 32bit program, but package it with
the 64bit PBI stuff.

> 6. Can I have in one network one DHCP server, two (or more) ThinClient
> servers, and users will automatically (or at least manually) choose less
> loaded server?

You'll need to look at the dhcp stuff / startup scripts for that. I don't have
any load balancing code in place or anything like it yet.

> 7. Any guides/written experiences exists?
> We are going to new office this fall, and I think I'll try to make a
> setup of 30+ ThinClients, so currently I had to experiment and annoy a
> bit :)
> Thanks!

I've got a setup locally here with 1 server, and 8 clients so far. It seems to run fine,
using Dual-Core Athlon X2, with 4GB of RAM, on 100BaseT. We may need to add to the wiki
though to update with user experiences :)

Kris Moore
PC-BSD Software

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