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Old 04-26-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Edubuntu thin clients won't boot

Dear Linux gurus,

First, let me give you the background information.

I am a second grade teacher. I won't tell you where because I haven't exactly cleared what I'm trying to do with Linux with my principal nor the slow as a year on Pluto IT Department for our district...I almost went down a rabbit trail.

Anyway, I'm trying to start a lab using Edbuntu. I already have five Windows(can I say that word on a Linux forum? :-) ) computers. However, I need more computers than the district can provide. So, I'm scrounging up all of the surplused old computers along with my five(for Linux thin clients) and monitors I can find in our building. Then, I'm going to draft a proposal on to fund the rest. That way, all of my kids will have their own computer with which to work. But first, I want to test everything by getting my room up to 11 seats for my kids.

So, with the help of a pretty computer savvy parent, I've set out on this course.

Technical Stuff

I just got a new Dell Optiplex 755 with 1 gig of ram and a Duocore processor. I know I'll need more ram later.So, it's my server. However, the clients are very old Dell GX110s. They still run 98. They are my clients. I installed an extra NIC 10/100 card on the 755. It has a gigabit card built into the hard drive. The 110s also have two network cards because the district didn't like the onboard cards for that model.

More Technical stuff
PXE is enabled on the 755 gigabit card. I don't know if it is enabled on the extra NIC card. When I look at the NIC card on the boot up sequence in the Bios on the 110s it says something something PXE 2.0. I'll have to look up the motherboard card. However, in Windows the motherboard NIC has a big ol question mark next to it. I think the district techies disabled that one or something because they don't want anyone using it. So I'm assuming the card I've checked in the boot sequence in the 110 is running PXE. That may not be a safe assumption.

Even More Technical Stuff

I've installed Edubuntu as a dual boot on the 755 so I can at least run Windows and not incur the total disdain of the district techies. I had Edubuntu do the configuration automatically. From the Internet I have router to server (through gigabit motherboard card), Server(from the extra 10/100 NIC card(I know I will need a gigabit card here. Just trying to get it running first.) to switch, switch to GX 110 thin client with NIC card set as the first boot item in booting sequence. I think the gigabit is eth0 and the extra card is eth1.

The computer with Edbuntu boots up etc. I even installed some stuff to Firefox that I thought was going to be a big deal, but that was easy. But the thin client does some DHCP thing. Then boots into Windows. It says something about no boot something found but I dont' have the computer system in front of me right now...I'm at home.

Is there something I need to set up in Edbuntu to get the thin clients to talk with the server? When I installed I used the first install option. I didn't install a work station. I'm using version 7.10. I tried configuring each card in Edubuntu to do DHCP using the option in Edubuntu.

So, we're stuck. The parent who is helping me with this, took my disk home and is going to try and make it work at his house. Any advice would be helpful. I know many people have this problem. But I don't even know which direction to go.

Kind Regards,

Old 04-27-2008, 03:39 AM   #2
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The question mark in Windows means that Windows hasn't recognized the device (it doesn't have a driver for it). This is quite normal, and you can fix it by downloading the correct driver from the Dell Website. New hardware comes out every few months and new Windows versions only come out every few years, so Windows often doesn't have drivers for some parts in any given system.

The boot problem is likely to be that the DHCP service on your Edubuntu server isn't configured, or isn't using the correct network interface. You can test DHCP by booting one of the computers into Windows, and using the command-line tool "ipconfig". The "/release" option drops existing settings, and the "/renew" option will pick up new settings. If /renew doesn't work then the DHCP service isn't on.

Start > Run >
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew

Don't hesitate to ask on a forum or IRC channel if you get stuck. DHCP is the one bit of Edubuntu that sometimes doesn't just work effortlessly.
Old 04-30-2008, 04:40 PM   #3
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I followed the insstructions to start setting up Edbuntu dhcp settings per the Article "getting started" found at

But, it wouldn't run when I typed

gksudo "gedit/etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf"

So a friend and I opened with the text editor but it wouldn't let us save the changes because we didn't have permissions to do this only 'root' does. So, we tried unsuccessfully to log into the root account. it said the root account cannot log in from this screen. Then, we tried to log into root account using a Gnome session but no dice there either.

Please help linux gurus.
Old 05-05-2008, 11:04 AM   #4
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I got this part of the problem solved. I used the network tools option in the system>administration menu.




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