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rtinaro 03-06-2005 09:29 AM

I have an idea, and I have no money...
 
Hello everyone! I'm thankful for this site, I think it will be very helpful in my endeavor. Let me introduce myself and share with you my idea.

In the world of computing I would classify myself as an enthusiast or sophisticated "end user." I know just enough to be dangerous and find I learn the most through failed attempts to "fix" my computer. My proudest digital achievement to date is the multimedia computer I put together piece by piece where PC games play through my TV and 6.1 home theatre receiver, digital music from cable tv can be recorded and encoded, and my kids can learn the alphabet on the big screen and in surround sound.

That idea cost lots of money and I have since been cut off by my lovely, prudent wife. Herein lies the seeds of my new project. At the school at which I teach we have these weekly activity periods where students and teachers meet for extracurricular activities. A couple of my students were talking about having a LAN party to play games, and I suggested we try to make an activity centered on playing games on a LAN. Their interest was peaked, but the problem was that we needed to put together a LAN.

At the time I had no computers in my classroom (I teach math in a somewhat starving school district). Our school had recently furnished the computer programming teaching with a new 25 piece set of computers. The old PC's (486's and Pentiums) were offered to anyone interested or discarded. While we missed the boat, so to speak, we were able to put together 4 PC's with monitors, old video cards, these network adaptors with ethernet ports and coaxial inputs, cdrom drives, floppy drives, keyboard and mouse. The students and I had some old PC's at home and we were surprised by the amounts of old dusty equipment we found in the nooks and crannies of our school. So we put the best of the working equipment together and we currently have 3 operating system ready PC's.

Seeing that we are trying to do this with little or know money, we thought the linux operating systems would be best for the following reasons: we would avoid licensing issues, get more performance from older hardware, and fufill this I did it without Microsoft fantasy building in me for some time. In addition I want the students and I to have the learning experience of buliding and administrating a network. Even though we are networking a small number of PC's, we thought we were learn the theoretical essentialsof networking.

We have a lot to learn and a lot of work ahead of us. Our initial attempts to install linux we're not successful. We are nowhere near playing Quake on linux based network. But, we have relished our small yet significant victories in building our dream PC's. Wish us luck with our lively experiment, and know that we will be most grateful for any and all advise this fine community may give us.

XavierP 03-06-2005 10:53 AM

Good luck and welcome to LQ :D

Mara 03-06-2005 03:04 PM

Welcome!

J.W. 03-12-2005 10:27 PM

This is a totally cool story, and your students are lucky to have you as a teacher. Good luck with it -- J.W.

tobrien 03-14-2005 05:53 PM

A True Role Model
 
Its great to see teachers with interests in what their students enjoy! I work with teachers on integrating technology in the classroom, mostly on PCs and Macs. I would be interested in hearing about the experiment. Also if I can ever help let me know. You are a true role model for other teachers and your students.

Tadge

colek 03-15-2005 09:04 PM

Hey Rob, that's very interesting, I'm doing something very similar in Boston. Here's a suggestion for you - thin clients! Build a Linux Server then use your ultra cheap second hand 486's as dumb terminals. With such a config you can get the full power of one high end application server allocated to each terminal. Go down to Salvation Army on the East Side and you can buy oogles of old boxes for next to nothing. Save a few for me though!

rtinaro 03-16-2005 04:55 AM

That sounds like a good idea, but I have no clue how to do it. Would you use a particular distribution of linux to build the server? Are thin clients more of a concept or a trademark software/hardware?

I bought a networking for dummies book; there is a whole chapter on linux networks. I'll see what I can find there.

I'd love to hear more about what you're doing and how far along you are. Are you teaching in Boston?

tobrien 03-16-2005 06:44 PM

Thin Client Concept
 
Thin Clients are basically computers with no real hard drive, just a processor and RAM. Each client computer looks to a server to pull and run programs. I don't know much beyond that, but I can see if I can find any decent information.

colek 03-16-2005 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by rtinaro
That sounds like a good idea, but I have no clue how to do it. Would you use a particular distribution of linux to build the server? Are thin clients more of a concept or a trademark software/hardware?
I'm actually just getting started with Linux myself. I'm not a teacher - I'm a network engineer for the big hospitals. I do however associate with non-profit computer organizations and have ambitions to use knowledge in lieu of $ to empower the needy.

Boston is a center of the internet revolution - just as it's been a center of several other revolutions. The free software society is right in Cambridge.

I've started tinkering with Debian because they truly want the software to be free and because Debian has server capability. Red Hat and Suse can do server too - but I'm just SO confused about what they're trying to do? I mean, one one hand you have their sw for free if you download it, on the other they charge 15K at their website?

Anyways, I've found there is something called NoMachine NX http://www.nomachine.com/ that works with Linux. With NX, you can talk Aunt Zelda's old 486 and link it to your Linux powerhouse server and enable all your clients full access to your servers resources. Read up on it.

wapcaplet 03-16-2005 10:19 PM

If you're interested in the thin client idea, check out the Linux Terminal Server Project. Lots of possibilities there for putting old hardware to good use with Linux.

colek 03-16-2005 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by wapcaplet
If you're interested in the thin client idea, check out the Linux Terminal Server Project. Lots of possibilities there for putting old hardware to good use with Linux.
Yeah Big Ditto! When I offered the NX link I hadn't read very carefully - they want $$$. Choose the link above instead!

:study:

:newbie:


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