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Old 06-22-2012, 05:42 AM   #1
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How to setup a "diskless thin client" ?

Dear Team,

I have seen many posts and forum to setup the thin client environment and every thin client has at least a mini OS that boots up the hardware and then establishes the connection to the Server.

But, here my query is very different.
I have recently seen an environment, where the thin clients had NO HARD DISC / FLASH.
When the "diskless thin client" boots up, the PXE-Boot fetches an IP Address from DHCP Server and then boots Windows 7 Client OS over the network from the server.

The Linux based server was setup in such a way that it responded to the DHCP request for the PXE-boot phase and then transferred the Windows 7 Client over the network to the Diskless Think Clients.

I Searched and googled lot about how to setup such server and came across LTSP Server configuration on Ubuntu, but unfortunately, it never worked the way they showed on the forums or blogs.

Could someone help me understand how to setup the server environment ??
Old 06-22-2012, 08:17 AM   #2
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You may want to take a look at Shawn Powers' series LTSP, Part I: the Skinny on Thin Client (Linux Journal, March, 2012, pp. 50), Part II, April, 2012 and Part III, May, 2012. An excellent tutorial. Start at (you may need to subscribe, sorry).

Hope this helps some.
Old 06-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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LTSP works, not sure why you say that.

If you want you can test your setup by a Knoppix disk. One 3.x to 5.x verison. Start Knoppix terminal server and follow the directions. It is a set of scripts that starts services and copies files. Then boot up a computer on the lan in pxe or gpxe/ipxe.

If you want, you can use a gpxe disk to boot over the internet to It is an example of pxe over wan to a http site.

A common pxe involves a dhcp server with some settings. A tftp server with a few settings. Some image to send over or some set of files to use.
Old 06-30-2012, 04:48 AM   #4
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Dear tronayne

The link that you provide gave me a good place to start with and looking at many wiki links and online tutorials, got the LTSP working!!

Dear jefro,

The explanation given by you helped me understand the process of LTSP Server and so things were understood fast and its working great!!

I must not forget, one very important person "UnhappyGhost" who is simply good at anything that you can throw to him in terms of technology and viola, he has a working solution for everything. With his guidance i got the LTSP Server fully working!!

If you permit, then i would like to share the step by step process that i followed to setup the LTSP Server. May be it might be helpful to others also
Old 06-30-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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It is OK with me.

I have seen maybe 200 web pages or tutorials on pxe over the years. I can't say that any of them are exactly the same.
Old 06-30-2012, 10:48 PM   #6
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Here is the step by step process for setting up the LTSP Server.
I used Edubuntu 12.04 and installed on the server, mainly because they have very good
documents for help

Most of the docs and help can be taken from the link


1. configure static Ip address - /etc/network/interfaces
2. configure DNS names - /etc/resolv.conf
3. Verify the existence of following files and directories
- Root directory - /opt/ltsp/<arch> [ <arch> will be i386, ppc etc depending on your architecture ]
- TFTP directory - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch> [will hold your PXE boot files]
- lts.conf - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>/ [config file to define the hardware profiles of the thin clients]
- pxelinux.0 - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>/ [first boot file for pxe boot]
- pxelinux.conf/default - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>/ [config files to define multi-boot settings]
- nbi.img - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>
- initrd.img - /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>
4. LTSP DHCP Config - /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf
5. Install and configure tftp
6. Configure lts.conf file as per your requirements
7. Create users

STEP 1 |

Set static IP Address
The LTSP Server must have the Static IP Address so that the thin clients can always reach the server

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

STEP 2 |

Set DNS Server names
Ensure to set the DNS info else the Server will not be able to fetch the packages from Internet when you try
to install them

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo vi /etc/resolv.conf


STEP 3 |

navigate to the root directory and verify the existence of the <arch> folder
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ cd /opt/ltsp
tnlexperts@edubuntu:/opt/ltsp$ ls (i386 or ppc folder must be present)

navigate to the tftpboot directory and verify the existence of the <arch> folder
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/
tnlexperts@edubuntu:/var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp$ ls (i386 or ppc or i686 folder must be present)

navigate to the tftpboot/ltsp/<arch> directory and verify the existence of the lts.conf, pxelinux.conf, nbi.img, pxelinux.0, initrd.img
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>/
tnlexperts@edubuntu:/var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/<arch>$ ls (lts.conf, pxelinux.conf, nbi.img, pxelinux.0, initrd.img files must be present)

STEP 4 |

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ cd /etc/ltsp
tnlexperts@edubuntu:/etc/ltsp$ sudo vi /dhcpd.conf

subnet netmask {
# option domain-name "";
option domain-name-servers;
option broadcast-address;
option routers;
# next-server;
# get-lease-hostnames true;
option subnet-mask;
option root-path "/opt/ltsp/i386";
if substring( option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9 ) = "PXEClient" {
filename "/var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0";
# } else {
# filename "/var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386/nbi.img";

[it is important to note that the the DHCP config file paths
have to match the paths verified in STEP3 ]

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo /etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server restart

STEP 5 |

Intall and configure tftp
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo apt-get update
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo apt-get install xinetd tftpd tftp

Create /etc/xinetd.d/tftp and put this entry
service tftp
protocol = udp
port = 69
socket_type = dgram
wait = yes
user = nobody
server = /usr/sbin/in.tftpd
server_args = /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386
disable = no

Create a folder with the name that should match whatever you gave in server_args. mostly it will /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo mkdir /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo chmod -R 777 /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo chown -R nobody /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386

uncomment the tftp entries in the below file
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ /etc/services
tftp 69/tcp
tftp 69/udp

Restart the xinetd service.
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo /etc/init.d/xinetd stop
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo /etc/init.d/xinetd start

Test the tftp server
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ cd /tmp
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ tftp
tftp> get nbi.img
received 28,072 bytes --> this transfer shows the server is working!!
tftp> quit

STEP 6 |

you dont need to edit the lts.conf file until and unless you have
trouble booting the thin clients.

Here is a Sample lts.conf file in case you need to edit anything

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo vi /var/lib/tftpboot/ltsp/i386/lts.conf

# LDM_ALLOW_GUEST=True (if this line doesnt work, the below line will, so uncomment one at a time and test)
LDM_SESSION="gnome-session --session=gnome-fallback" #For Ubuntu Gnome Desktop!!!
# LDM_REMOTECMD=/usr/bin/startkde #For Ubuntu Unity UI Desktop!!!

after the changes to the lts.conf file you have to issue a command
"ltsp-update-image" after every change

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo ltsp-update-kernels
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo ltsp-update-image
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo ltsp-update-sshkeys

STEP 7 |

Create user on the server so that this user can login from the diskless thin-client

tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo vi /etc/passwd (to check the userlist)
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo chroot /usr/sbin/adduser <username>
tnlexperts@edubuntu:$ sudo chmod 1777 /tmp

adding/removing/changing any user info should be followed by ltsp update commands from Step 6.



The LTSP diskless client needs one very important configuration.
You need to go to the BIOS settings and make sure the
First Boot Device/priority is set to Boot from Network/PXE

Save the settings and restart the PC and you should be able to boot from the LTSP Server.

Last edited by trinadharaomm; 06-30-2012 at 10:50 PM.


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