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Old 05-18-2005, 02:48 PM   #1
red_rhubarb
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Registered: May 2005
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Thin clients with Knoppix 3.7 and LTSP


I'm a teacher, and I'm trying to get a small LTSP setup going in my classroom. I'm using a home-built Duron 1600 PC with Knoppix 3.7 installed as the LTSP terminal server, and for initial tests this is connected via a single crossover ethernet cable to an old 400 MHz Micron Millennia PC which is to be the thin client. So far I'm having no luck getting this going. Here's what I've done so far:

1) Configured the Knoppix server with a fixed IP address, 192.168.0.1

2) Booted up the "thin client" PC with a linux live cd to see what hardware it reported. I knew it had a 3Com Ethernet card, and the output of "dmesg | grep 3c" was as follows:
3c59x
3Com PCI 3c900 Cyclone 10 Mbps Combo at 0x1080 Vers LK1.1.18
I also did an "lsmod" and it showed the 3c59x kernel module was loaded.

3) Turned on the LTSP terminal server software on the server PC, using the Knoppix menu, making sure that 3c59x was checked in the list of Ethernet cards to support.

4)Rebooted the thin client with a linux live CD, and confirmed with "ifconfig eth0" that the client had received an IP address via dhcp from the server. In other words, both network cards and the network cable work fine.

5)Set the thin client BIOS to "network boot" before CDROM and hard drive, and rebooted it. The result: if I leave in the Linux CD it boots to linux, if not it boots to DOS (on the hard drive). It completely fails to boot from the network. Does this mean I need a boot ROM? I thought if the BIOS had a "network boot" option, this was not necessary.

6)Since booting from the network failed, I went to http colon slash slash rom-o-matic.net and got the floppy disk boot images that had 3c59x, 3c900, and the word "combo" in them. There were several...I'm not sure how to tell which one is the correct one.

7)I created boot floppies with each of those floppy disk boot images, set the thin client to boot from the floppy first, and rebooted it. The result:
"Loading ROM image....
Etherboot 5.4.0 (GPL)......
Drivers: 3C595 ......
Protcols: DHCP TFTP
Relocating _text from ...........
Boot from (N)etwork or (Q)uit? N
Probing pci NIC.....
[3c900b-combo]_

And then nothing more.

What am I doing wrong?

TIA,

-red rhubarb

Last edited by red_rhubarb; 05-18-2005 at 03:11 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 08:49 PM   #2
homey
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Registered: Oct 2003
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Quote:
5)Set the thin client BIOS to "network boot" before CDROM and hard drive, and rebooted it. The result: if I leave in the Linux CD it boots to linux, if not it boots to DOS (on the hard drive). It completely fails to boot from the network. Does this mean I need a boot ROM? I thought if the BIOS had a "network boot" option, this was not necessary.
The nework boot is for network cards that have a pxe chip in them ( as far as I know )
So, the boot floppy is the way to go.
You may not have the correct driver on the floppy or not correctly selected in the nic section on knoppix.
I use Fedora LTSP aka k12ltsp but I gave the knoppix cd a try just to see what you may be up against.
In my case, the client has a National Semiconductor nic so I got the image from http://www.rom-o-matic.net/ and put it onto a floppy with the command:
cat eb-5.4.0-natsemi.zdsk >/dev/fd0

At the knoppix machine, I checked the nic when I got to that section.
[x] natsemi.0: DP8381x

The client boots up ok but I haven't quite figured out what to put as an nfs mount where it wants 192.168.0.1:/cdrom
That is in the /etc/exports file so, it seems it should work.
 
Old 05-19-2005, 01:01 PM   #3
red_rhubarb
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Homey, thanks for the reply. I got my floppy images from the same site as you, and put them on the floppy (one per floppy) the same way you did. But I did not find a boot floppy image that exactly matched the output of dmesg on the thin client : "3c59x" and "3Com PCI 3c900 Cyclone 10 Mbps Combo at 0x1080 vers LK1.1.18".

Any suggestions on identifying the correct boot image?

TIA,

-red_rhubarb
 
Old 05-19-2005, 01:21 PM   #4
homey
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Quote:
3) Turned on the LTSP terminal server software on the server PC, using the Knoppix menu, making sure that 3c59x was checked in the list of Ethernet cards to support.
It almost looks like you have two different nics, a 3c59x and a 3c90x

Have you tried it with the knoppix server set making sure that 3c90x was checked in the list of Ethernet cards to support and using the 3c90x driver from romomatic?
 
Old 05-19-2005, 04:14 PM   #5
red_rhubarb
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I opened up the thin client to take a look at exactly what was in there. There is only one Ethernet card, and according to the writing on it, it is an "Etherlink XL PCI 3C 900B-CMB 03-0148-000 Rev A".

Dunno why the thin client (when booted from a Linux live CD) was using the 3c59x kernel module to run the 3C 900B-Combo card, but that's what it was doing. Maybe both chips are supported by the same kernel module?

I downloaded the 3C 900B-combo floppy disk boot image from rom-o-matic.net, and made the boot floppy, but I find that Knoppix 3.7 does not list the 3C 900B as an option when setting up the terminal server. Anyone know how to add support for this card to the Knoppix 3.7 LTSP server?

Knoppix *does* list "3c59x.o: "3Com 3c59x/3c9xx ethernet driver LK1.1.18-ac 1 July 2002", and I have that checked off. No joy, though, my thin client doesn't boot.

The other option I have is to go buy RealTek 8139 cards for all the thin clients, but I'd have to pay for this out of pocket as we have no funds for equipment, thanks to The Groper. At $10 per card and some ten thin clients, I'd be out $100.

I was hoping to avoid setting up the LTSP server from scratch on a different Linux distro, as there is more possibility of my making errors in the setup that way. But I suppose I could try to do that.

-red_rhubarb

Last edited by red_rhubarb; 05-19-2005 at 04:23 PM.
 
Old 05-19-2005, 04:31 PM   #6
homey
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It could be that knoppix just doesn't support very many nics for that particular area. I tried a couple of different nics and they didn't work. RealTek 8139 was one and winbond 940 was another. Both of those nics boot the clients ok when using k12ltsp.
I would try the 3com but that just crapped out the other day.
Have you considered doing a hard drive install of a distro which supports ltsp?
 
Old 05-19-2005, 04:52 PM   #7
red_rhubarb
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Quote:
Have you considered doing a hard drive install of a distro which supports ltsp?
I'm quite willing to do a hard drive install (in fact Knoppix 3.7 is currently installed to the hard drive on the server). Red Hat/Fedora has never been one of my favorite distros, which is why I didn't start with K12LTSP, but I'm willing to try whatever distro works easily and well in this application. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your continued help with this, I appreciate it!

-red_rhubarb
 
Old 05-19-2005, 05:04 PM   #8
homey
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I'm kind of partial to Redhat/Fedora/k12ltsp myself. However, you can install ltsp on an existing system. I'm not sure what all distros it is available for but maybe you could buz over to http://www.ltsp.org/ and check it out.
 
Old 05-25-2005, 03:13 PM   #9
red_rhubarb
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Registered: May 2005
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Well, I've downloaded almost 3 gigs of LTSP iso's, burned 4 CD-R's, and spent lots of time with Anaconda, the pretty but slow Fedora installer.

Now I remember some of the reasons why I dislike RH/Fedora - for starters this is the slowest Linux distribution I've used in a long time. It's not just slow, it's agonizingly slow, like Mac OS 10.1 running on a 500 MHz G3.

The saddest part? LTSP still doesn't work.

If I boot the thin client from a Linux live CD, it picks up an IP address via DHCP from the LTSP server, so I know that the ethernet cards, cable, and DHCP server work. But attempting to boot from a floppy disk with the appropriate boot image for the thin client's network card fails, exactly as it did before, when I ran Knoppix on the server. After booting from the floppy, I see:

Etherboot 5.4.0 (GPL)......
Drivers: 3C595 ......
Protcols: DHCP TFTP
Relocating _text from ...........
Boot from (N)etwork or (Q)uit? N
Probing pci NIC.....
[3c900b-combo]_

And then nothing more.

Any tips on debugging a K12LTSP setup?

TIA,

-red_rhubarb
 
  


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