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Old 10-22-2008, 12:37 AM   #1
Paul McDonald
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Question Linux Thin Client Desktop Distro with RDP


Hello,

I am the (untrained) IT person at our small business. We have a Microsoft Terminal Server.

I am looking for a Linux Distro that I can install on 10 old Pentium 4 computers.

The thing is that I don't want any programs in the distro that staff can play with.

Basically when the computer is turned on the only option I want is to connect to the terminal server using RDP or turn off the computer.

Different users with different login names will need to use the computer so I don't want any automatic login to the server etc.

I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE WITH LINUX. I do have experience installing Windows (XP, 2000 etc).

Oh, and the reason I want Linux is because our company cannot afford to install XP on all these computers. So free as in Beer would be good

Can anyone help?

Have a great day,

Paul.
 
Old 10-22-2008, 07:22 AM   #2
farslayer
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You should be able to accomplish that with pretty much any Linux distribution. Debian would be my preference doing a base install with no additional packages, then after the base installation is complete, use aptitude to install xorg, gnome-core and rdesktop.

Most distributions out of the box are going to install a lot of additional packages that you say you don't want, so this approach is probably the way to go.

you may also want to look at http://www.ltsp.org/ the Linux terminal Server Project. there may be some good info on Thin client setup and configuration. Especially if you want to use diskless workstations (no locally installed software at all including the OS)
 
Old 10-23-2008, 02:19 AM   #3
Paul McDonald
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Thumbs up Thank you!

Hello farslayer and thank you!

I will download a copy of Debian and have a play on the weekend.

Regarding using something called aptitude to install some other things called xorg, gnome-core and rdesktop (can you tell I'm a newby) :-)

I will have to research how to use aptitude. I am guessing there are .deb files for all three programs that I can download separately to the cd?

Another question if that is ok - if I wanted to work from home and install debian and these 3 programs on my laptop in order to connect remotely via RDP - - - I would assume I would also need something like Cisco VPN to connect first?


Thanks again for your advice. I will let you know how I go.


Cheers,

Paul
 
Old 10-23-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
farslayer
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Yes you should use a VPN client to connect remotely. I believe Cisco has a VPN client for Linux, there are also several free VPN Clients that work on Linux and can connect to Cisco VPNs. (Wish that were the case with Checkpoint as well) We can persue that after you get your system up and running.


When you download Debian I would suggest downloading the netinstall.iso it's only 150 MB and contains everything you need for a base install of the OS, or will download the packages automatically from the Internet. Once the Base install has complete reboot the system and log in as root.

then use aptitude to install the suggested packages

aptitude update
aptitude install xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core gnome-core gdm rdesktop

once those packages are installed you can use the following command to get to your graphical login.

/etc/init.d/gdm start

Subsequent reboots should bring you directly to the graphical login.

how-to use aptitude from the command line
http://algebraicthunk.net/~dburrows/.../rn01re01.html

There may be other easier distros to install but most will add a lot of additional programs to the system.

something else you may want to look at is the Thin Client Distributions listed at Distrowatch.
they may be a quick way for you to get a system going with very little effort..
 
Old 10-27-2008, 02:52 AM   #5
Paul McDonald
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Getting Closer

Hello farslayer

I have successfully installed the Debian Net Install version. It found DHCP and updated Aptitude etc.

However, when I go to /etc/initd/gdm start there is an error message that no such file or directory exists.

When I try to install gdm by the command aptitude install gdm I get the error message "couldn't find any package matching gdm"


A friend said to try the command aptitude install kdm but the same error message appeared.

I restarted and tried again twice.


To me this suggests there is a problem downloading the desktop files???


Any suggestions gratefully received :-)

Cheers,

Paul.
 
Old 10-27-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
farslayer
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did you add internet sources to your system during install when asked ?


cat /etc/apt/sources.list

Code:
#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 r0 _Etch_ - Official i386 NETINST Binary-1 20070407-11:29]/ etch contrib main

deb http://ftp.uwsg.indiana.edu/linux/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.uwsg.indiana.edu/linux/debian/ etch main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free
gdm and the other packages you are looking for are probably not on the netinstall CD so you need to get them from the Internet. if you do not have internet sources in your sources.list you will have to add them . You should also comment out the Line for the CD at this time as well.


aptitude update
aptitude install xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core gnome-core gdm rdesktop
 
Old 10-28-2008, 12:14 AM   #7
Paul McDonald
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Awesome!

Thanks farslayer.

You are right - I chose 'no' to install a mirror initially.

Just redid it and have successfully connected to Microsoft Terminal Server

It is faster than doing it from Windows as well which is great!

Have a great day!

Paul.
 
Old 04-11-2009, 07:55 AM   #8
jonathanbrickman0000
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Easily convert a PC to an RDP / terminal server client

This project is exactly what you're asking for:

http://pctsc.ponderworthy.org

J.E.B.

Last edited by jonathanbrickman0000; 11-05-2010 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Site moved.
 
Old 11-05-2010, 08:54 PM   #9
jonathanbrickman0000
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...

Last edited by jonathanbrickman0000; 11-05-2010 at 08:55 PM.
 
Old 11-05-2010, 09:15 PM   #10
jefro
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I'd get the 2X disk from 2x.com.
 
  


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