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Old 04-10-2011, 11:46 PM
"G. T. Stresen-Reuter"
 
Default Request for help implementing Edubuntu and LTSP

Hi,

My name is Ted Stresen-Reuter. I am a web developer and IT teacher living (and working) in the Canary Islands. I started teaching middle and high school IT in September. Our computer lab has about 20 wintel boxes that are about 8 years old. At present, the computers in the computer lab are used by students of all ages: nursery school to seniors in high school.

The general school network is all Windows with an Active Directory server and most users use the Terminal Server rather than working from their desktop. This setup is fine for most administrative duties but not necessarily for training (where students need to be able to break things and the teacher needs to be able to repair them). Also, in the computer lab we may have a wide variety of applications installed that either can't be installed on the Terminal Server or aren't appropriate there (since all users would then have access to them). In short, we're exploring ways to improve the efficiency of the computer lab and edubuntu + ltsp is a likely candidate.

The reason for this email is to see if anyone on this list can give me some pointers on setting up and maintaing an edubuntu+ltsp configuration or even answer some of our questions...

Where is the documentation for setting up groups and policies? Having such radically different users it is fundamental that we put them into groups for managing what they have access to.

Can a single user have concurrent sessions from different machines and if so, what negative side-effects does this have? I'm asking because for the youngest users it is a logistical nightmare to ask them to remember their own username and password and we'd like a single username and password we can use for all of them.

I need to run Windows games that are 10 or more years old. How well is Wine supported? On a similar note, if I install a Windows virtual machine will it have the same configuration for all users? Will video display properly running across a network via LTSP?

Can I really use Active Directory to authenticate users as described in this article? I tried following the instructions with no luck at all.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/ActiveDirectoryIntegration

Can anyone comment on their own experience in a similar situation? Should we be looking at alternative solutions (we've considered installing basic Linux distros with VMWare and making 3 Windows images available: one image for each group of students).

And finally, where else can I go for help getting this set up (logistics, not so much technical)? Most information seems to be very technical but what I'm looking for is practical help on higher-level topics (like, does ltsp make sense in my situation).

Many, many thanks in advance and to the developers for providing such a great product for FREE! I really hope this is the winning solution but need answers to these questions (and more) in order to be able to make a final decision.

Sincerely,

Ted Stresen-Reuter
http://tedmasterweb.com


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Old 04-11-2011, 04:52 AM
"Rippl, Steve"
 
Default Request for help implementing Edubuntu and LTSP

Integrating Edubuntu LTSP into an existing AD network is certainly possible, but if you want the kind of tight integration you seem to be driving at it isn't trivial. *If it's the best route for you to go down I can't answer, it's certainly great when it's all up and running but it can be a trial getting it to do exactly what you want if you don't have some technical aptitude, I'll answer some of your other stuff in line below...


On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM, G. T. Stresen-Reuter <tedmasterweb@gmail.com> wrote:



Hi,



My name is Ted Stresen-Reuter. I am a web developer and IT teacher living (and working) in the Canary Islands. I started teaching middle and high school IT in September. Our computer lab has about 20 wintel boxes that are about 8 years old. At present, the computers in the computer lab are used by students of all ages: nursery school to seniors in high school.




The general school network is all Windows with an Active Directory server and most users use the Terminal Server rather than working from their desktop. This setup is fine for most administrative duties but not necessarily for training (where students need to be able to break things and the teacher needs to be able to repair them). Also, in the computer lab we may have a wide variety of applications installed that either can't be installed on the Terminal Server or aren't appropriate there (since all users would then have access to them). In short, we're exploring ways to improve the efficiency of the computer lab and edubuntu + ltsp is a likely candidate.




The reason for this email is to see if anyone on this list can give me some pointers on setting up and maintaing an edubuntu+ltsp configuration or even answer some of our questions...



Where is the documentation for setting up groups and policies? Having such radically different users it is fundamental that we put them into groups for managing what they have access to.



If you're talking about policies in the AD sense where the Desktop, menus and logon/logoff scripts alter depending on your group then Sabayon can do a pretty good job of that as long as you are authenticating with Winbind. *It will pick up AD group membership and can apply it's policies accordingly.

*


Can a single user have concurrent sessions from different machines and if so, what negative side-effects does this have? I'm asking because for the youngest users it is a logistical nightmare to ask them to remember their own username and password and we'd like a single username and password we can use for all of them.


If they are running off the same central server so these concurrent sessions (single user) are sharing a home folder, then yes, you'll have problems with applications like OpenOffice and Firefox. *However, it is really easy to create individual local accounts for each client and have them autologin with that account so the Elementary school kids can just sit and have at it!
*


I need to run Windows games that are 10 or more years old. How well is Wine supported?

Wine is supported well enough, if an app works on stand alone it will work under LTSP as far as I know. *Where it gets tricky is that the free version of Wine installs everything in the users home folder, which can be bad for space and maintenance reasons. *We've never followed it up but the paid for CrossOver version seems to have better support for*deployment and central installation for multiple users. *Conversely, you may be better off ditching the old apps and trying to find native alternatives.

**On a similar note, if I install a Windows virtual machine will it have the same configuration for all users? Will video display properly running across a network via LTSP?*
*
Don't know, never tried it!*


Can I really use Active Directory to authenticate users as described in this article? I tried following the instructions with no luck at all.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/ActiveDirectoryIntegration


We stay away from Likewise and simply use the various Samba and Pam parts we need (as I mentioned above, Winbind is probably your best bet for the tightest AD*integration). *The authentication part really isn't that hard, any how-to on Linux/Winbind authentication with AD will work for you, it doesn't need to be LTSP specific. *How/if you decide to integrate Networked home holders of some kind may prove more challenging!






Can anyone comment on their own experience in a similar situation? Should we be looking at alternative solutions (we've considered installing basic Linux distros with VMWare and making 3 Windows images available: one image for each group of students).

Really depends on you and your IT support staff's knowledge/interest/enthusiasm I would think...
**



And finally, where else can I go for help getting this set up (logistics, not so much technical)? Most information seems to be very technical but what I'm looking for is practical help on higher-level topics (like, does ltsp make sense in my situation).




Many, many thanks in advance and to the developers for providing such a great product for FREE! I really hope this is the winning solution but need answers to these questions (and more) in order to be able to make a final decision.




Sincerely,



Ted Stresen-Reuter

http://tedmasterweb.com





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--
Steve Rippl
Technology Director
Woodland Public Schools
360 841 2730


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Old 04-11-2011, 10:45 AM
"G. T. Stresen-Reuter"
 
Default Request for help implementing Edubuntu and LTSP

Hi Steve,

First and foremost thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I'm finding it difficult to find a "vibrant" user community, which makes finding answers to such questions difficult!

On Apr 11, 2011, at 5:52 AM, Rippl, Steve wrote:

> Integrating Edubuntu LTSP into an existing AD network is certainly possible, but if you want the kind of tight integration you seem to be driving at it isn't trivial. If it's the best route for you to go down I can't answer, it's certainly great when it's all up and running but it can be a trial getting it to do exactly what you want if you don't have some technical aptitude, I'll answer some of your other stuff in line below...

In reality, all I *really* need is an authentication mechanism that maps to *a* user on the local system. I don't need quite the kind of integration I seem to have suggested. My goal is to avoid having to duplicate our AD users.

> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM, G. T. Stresen-Reuter <tedmasterweb@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Can a single user have concurrent sessions from different machines and if so, what negative side-effects does this have? I'm asking because for the youngest users it is a logistical nightmare to ask them to remember their own username and password and we'd like a single username and password we can use for all of them.
>>
> If they are running off the same central server so these concurrent sessions (single user) are sharing a home folder, then yes, you'll have problems with applications like OpenOffice and Firefox. However, it is really easy to create individual local accounts for each client and have them autologin with that account so the Elementary school kids can just sit and have at it!

That crossed my mind and it may end up being the solution but there is a small logistical problem: when users other than the elementary and preschool users come in (about 50% of the student body), they'll have to turn on the computers, log off and then log back on again. Our classes are only about 54 minutes long and that process alone can take 10% of the class time!

I shall ponder...

>> I need to run Windows games that are 10 or more years old. How well is Wine supported?
>
> Wine is supported well enough, if an app works on stand alone it will work under LTSP as far as I know. Where it gets tricky is that the free version of Wine installs everything in the users home folder, which can be bad for space and maintenance reasons. We've never followed it up but the paid for CrossOver version seems to have better support for deployment and central installation for multiple users. Conversely, you may be better off ditching the old apps and trying to find native alternatives.

Yeah, out of habit I frequently fail to consider for-pay solutions even when they genuinely are the best choice. I use CrossOver on my own machine so it should have been obvios. Thanks for the idea.

>> On a similar note, if I install a Windows virtual machine will it have the same configuration for all users? Will video display properly running across a network via LTSP?
>
> Don't know, never tried it!

I ask because we have lots of Windows software we use for teaching and we aren't in a position to shelve those materials. However, if we can reduce support to a single virtual instance (rather than 20+ real computers) we'll be vastly simplifying our lives. I'll just have to try and report my findings somewhere, it seems.

>> Can I really use Active Directory to authenticate users as described in this article? I tried following the instructions with no luck at all.
>> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/ActiveDirectoryIntegration
>
> We stay away from Likewise and simply use the various Samba and Pam parts we need (as I mentioned above, Winbind is probably your best bet for the tightest AD integration). The authentication part really isn't that hard, any how-to on Linux/Winbind authentication with AD will work for you, it doesn't need to be LTSP specific. How/if you decide to integrate Networked home holders of some kind may prove more challenging!

Challenging indeed! Having spent 20 years as a technical person (developer) I'm shocked by how hard it is to do any kind of meaningful tech work while holding a full-time teaching position!

Like I said above, I'm really only looking to avoid maintaining two databases of usernames and passwords. Access to their home folders would be nice, I suppose, but can definitely be considered a version 2 type of detail.

>> Can anyone comment on their own experience in a similar situation? Should we be looking at alternative solutions (we've considered installing basic Linux distros with VMWare and making 3 Windows images available: one image for each group of students).
>
> Really depends on you and your IT support staff's knowledge/interest/enthusiasm I would think...

We have about 400 students and 30 something teachers. We have roughly 50 computers (more outside the lab than in it), a Windows AD server and a few file servers. Our tech support staff (outsourced) comes twice per week for 4 to 6 hours each day. Just general maintenance is nearly impossible. I'm pretty much on my own on this (well, there are a few students who might be interested in helping). My interest is high (long-term solutions ultimately benefit everyone) but my time is so limited I can't really do much more than teach... and I suspect I'm representative of a lot of IT teachers and schools so it's a little surprising more hasn't been written about how to do all of this - I guess that's my calling!

>> And finally, where else can I go for help getting this set up (logistics, not so much technical)? Most information seems to be very technical but what I'm looking for is practical help on higher-level topics (like, does ltsp make sense in my situation).

Any thoughts on this last question? Are there any lists anyone can recommend?

Thanks in advance!

Ted S-R


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Old 04-11-2011, 12:44 PM
 
Default Request for help implementing Edubuntu and LTSP

You might want to look into Likewise - open source version that ties your
Linux machines to AD http://activedirectorylinux.com/

On Mon, 11 Apr 2011 11:45:08 +0100, "G. T. Stresen-Reuter"
<tedmasterweb@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Steve,
>
> First and foremost thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I'm
> finding it difficult to find a "vibrant" user community, which makes
> finding answers to such questions difficult!
>
> On Apr 11, 2011, at 5:52 AM, Rippl, Steve wrote:
>
>> Integrating Edubuntu LTSP into an existing AD network is certainly
>> possible, but if you want the kind of tight integration you seem to be
>> driving at it isn't trivial. If it's the best route for you to go down
I
>> can't answer, it's certainly great when it's all up and running but it
>> can be a trial getting it to do exactly what you want if you don't have
>> some technical aptitude, I'll answer some of your other stuff in line
>> below...
>
> In reality, all I *really* need is an authentication mechanism that maps
> to *a* user on the local system. I don't need quite the kind of
integration
> I seem to have suggested. My goal is to avoid having to duplicate our AD
> users.
>
>> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM, G. T. Stresen-Reuter
>> <tedmasterweb@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Can a single user have concurrent sessions from different machines and
>>> if so, what negative side-effects does this have? I'm asking because
for
>>> the youngest users it is a logistical nightmare to ask them to
remember
>>> their own username and password and we'd like a single username and
>>> password we can use for all of them.
>>>
>> If they are running off the same central server so these concurrent
>> sessions (single user) are sharing a home folder, then yes, you'll have
>> problems with applications like OpenOffice and Firefox. However, it is
>> really easy to create individual local accounts for each client and
have
>> them autologin with that account so the Elementary school kids can just
>> sit and have at it!
>
> That crossed my mind and it may end up being the solution but there is a
> small logistical problem: when users other than the elementary and
> preschool users come in (about 50% of the student body), they'll have to
> turn on the computers, log off and then log back on again. Our classes
are
> only about 54 minutes long and that process alone can take 10% of the
class
> time!
>
> I shall ponder...
>
>>> I need to run Windows games that are 10 or more years old. How well is
>>> Wine supported?
>>
>> Wine is supported well enough, if an app works on stand alone it will
>> work under LTSP as far as I know. Where it gets tricky is that the
free
>> version of Wine installs everything in the users home folder, which can
>> be bad for space and maintenance reasons. We've never followed it up
but
>> the paid for CrossOver version seems to have better support for
>> deployment and central installation for multiple users. Conversely,
you
>> may be better off ditching the old apps and trying to find native
>> alternatives.
>
> Yeah, out of habit I frequently fail to consider for-pay solutions even
> when they genuinely are the best choice. I use CrossOver on my own
machine
> so it should have been obvios. Thanks for the idea.
>
>>> On a similar note, if I install a Windows virtual machine will it have
>>> the same configuration for all users? Will video display properly
>>> running across a network via LTSP?
>>
>> Don't know, never tried it!
>
> I ask because we have lots of Windows software we use for teaching and
we
> aren't in a position to shelve those materials. However, if we can
reduce
> support to a single virtual instance (rather than 20+ real computers)
we'll
> be vastly simplifying our lives. I'll just have to try and report my
> findings somewhere, it seems.
>
>>> Can I really use Active Directory to authenticate users as described
in
>>> this article? I tried following the instructions with no luck at all.
>>>
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/ActiveDirectoryIntegration
>>
>> We stay away from Likewise and simply use the various Samba and Pam
>> parts we need (as I mentioned above, Winbind is probably your best bet
>> for the tightest AD integration). The authentication part really isn't
>> that hard, any how-to on Linux/Winbind authentication with AD will work
>> for you, it doesn't need to be LTSP specific. How/if you decide to
>> integrate Networked home holders of some kind may prove more
challenging!
>
> Challenging indeed! Having spent 20 years as a technical person
> (developer) I'm shocked by how hard it is to do any kind of meaningful
tech
> work while holding a full-time teaching position!
>
> Like I said above, I'm really only looking to avoid maintaining two
> databases of usernames and passwords. Access to their home folders would
be
> nice, I suppose, but can definitely be considered a version 2 type of
> detail.
>
>>> Can anyone comment on their own experience in a similar situation?
>>> Should we be looking at alternative solutions (we've considered
>>> installing basic Linux distros with VMWare and making 3 Windows images
>>> available: one image for each group of students).
>>
>> Really depends on you and your IT support staff's
>> knowledge/interest/enthusiasm I would think...
>
> We have about 400 students and 30 something teachers. We have roughly 50
> computers (more outside the lab than in it), a Windows AD server and a
few
> file servers. Our tech support staff (outsourced) comes twice per week
for
> 4 to 6 hours each day. Just general maintenance is nearly impossible.
I'm
> pretty much on my own on this (well, there are a few students who might
be
> interested in helping). My interest is high (long-term solutions
ultimately
> benefit everyone) but my time is so limited I can't really do much more
> than teach... and I suspect I'm representative of a lot of IT teachers
and
> schools so it's a little surprising more hasn't been written about how
to
> do all of this - I guess that's my calling!
>
>>> And finally, where else can I go for help getting this set up
>>> (logistics, not so much technical)? Most information seems to be very
>>> technical but what I'm looking for is practical help on higher-level
>>> topics (like, does ltsp make sense in my situation).
>
> Any thoughts on this last question? Are there any lists anyone can
> recommend?
>
> Thanks in advance!
>
> Ted S-R

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Old 04-11-2011, 03:05 PM
Jeremy Fluhmann
 
Default Request for help implementing Edubuntu and LTSP

Something else to throw out there is DRBL.* We're deploying a VDI
solution from Virtual Bridges, which runs on a Linux infrastructure
and can provide us Linux desktops, as well as Windows desktops.* We
have numerous old machines similar to yours (anywhere from 6-9 years
old) that we're setting up to run a basic Ubuntu desktop that will
allow users to access our VDI portal and run their virtual desktop
sessions.* I've gone with DRBL instead of LTSP as we wanted
applications to run locally on the machines (and I realize this can
be setup as well with LTSP).* This has worked pretty well so far for
us.* I still have some tweaking to do so that the machines auto
login and run Firefox in full screen when they boot.



And since DRBL runs an image locally on the machine, you may find no
issues with running a Windows virtual machine on it (other than the
potential performance hit).



If looking at running both Windows and Linux desktops on these
machines and want to centrally maintain a single image for each, I
would recommend something like Virtual Bridges VERDE (licensing per
concurrent session).






Jeremy Fluhmann

Technology Director

Winters ISD

Futuristic - Analytical - Ideation -
Relator - Learner

http://twitter.com/jfluhmann

http://jfluhmann.edublogs.org





On 04/10/2011 06:46 PM, G. T. Stresen-Reuter wrote:

Hi,

My name is Ted Stresen-Reuter. I am a web developer and IT teacher living (and working) in the Canary Islands. I started teaching middle and high school IT in September. Our computer lab has about 20 wintel boxes that are about 8 years old. At present, the computers in the computer lab are used by students of all ages: nursery school to seniors in high school.

The general school network is all Windows with an Active Directory server and most users use the Terminal Server rather than working from their desktop. This setup is fine for most administrative duties but not necessarily for training (where students need to be able to break things and the teacher needs to be able to repair them). Also, in the computer lab we may have a wide variety of applications installed that either can't be installed on the Terminal Server or aren't appropriate there (since all users would then have access to them). In short, we're exploring ways to improve the efficiency of the computer lab and edubuntu + ltsp is a likely candidate.

The reason for this email is to see if anyone on this list can give me some pointers on setting up and maintaing an edubuntu+ltsp configuration or even answer some of our questions...

Where is the documentation for setting up groups and policies? Having such radically different users it is fundamental that we put them into groups for managing what they have access to.

Can a single user have concurrent sessions from different machines and if so, what negative side-effects does this have? I'm asking because for the youngest users it is a logistical nightmare to ask them to remember their own username and password and we'd like a single username and password we can use for all of them.

I need to run Windows games that are 10 or more years old. How well is Wine supported? On a similar note, if I install a Windows virtual machine will it have the same configuration for all users? Will video display properly running across a network via LTSP?

Can I really use Active Directory to authenticate users as described in this article? I tried following the instructions with no luck at all.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuLTSP/ActiveDirectoryIntegration

Can anyone comment on their own experience in a similar situation? Should we be looking at alternative solutions (we've considered installing basic Linux distros with VMWare and making 3 Windows images available: one image for each group of students).

And finally, where else can I go for help getting this set up (logistics, not so much technical)? Most information seems to be very technical but what I'm looking for is practical help on higher-level topics (like, does ltsp make sense in my situation).

Many, many thanks in advance and to the developers for providing such a great product for FREE! I really hope this is the winning solution but need answers to these questions (and more) in order to be able to make a final decision.

Sincerely,

Ted Stresen-Reuter
http://tedmasterweb.com






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