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*nix Thread, It's time is coming.... in Technical; Did an interesting little experiment on Friday... Took two machines, installed Windows Vista Beta 2 on one and Xandros OCE ...
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    Netman's Avatar
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    It's time is coming....

    Did an interesting little experiment on Friday...
    Took two machines, installed Windows Vista Beta 2 on one and Xandros OCE on the other... I wanted a side by side comparison.
    On the left, it took two different machines and over 2 hours...
    On the right, it took four clicks, 20 minutes...
    On the left I have a bloated apple os rip-off that costs lots of money...
    On the right I have a stable, secure, good looking, easy to use machine which cost nothing...
    I have regularly done comparisons between MS & Linux over the last 5/6 years and have come down with MS every time (for the desktop)...
    This time I really think things may have changed.... for the first time I installed and used the two different systems and preferred linux in almost every way.
    Is Vista a bridge too far for MS??
    Am leaving the two machines out on display for our pupils to use and will be interested to see the results... from what I've overheard so far it seems I'm not alone in liking Xandros.
    Vista is still beta (hence the install problems no doubt), but in my book it's looking pretty poor compared to Linux on the desktop.

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    ajbritton's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    I have some questions for the desktop Linux experts...

    1 - Is there anything akin to Active Directory which enables easy centralised management of User accounts and policies for Linux?

    2 - Is there an easy way of rolling out large numbers of new Linux desktops and automating the configuration and software installation? (a la RIS, and GP Software Installation policies)

    3 - How easy is it to persuade staff who want particular software which is Windows only that they can't have it because you prefer Linux? (cos they just LOVE being told what to do, don't they )

    I could go on, but I would be interested to see the answers and opinions on these questions.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    1 - Is there anything akin to Active Directory which enables easy centralised management of User accounts and policies for Linux?
    LDAP should be sufficent for user management. There's no such thing as 'policies' under Linux. Everything is a file. Simply transfer the files you need to your clients. Something like NFS or Rsync can help you out here. There is another way though, see below.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    2 - Is there an easy way of rolling out large numbers of new Linux desktops and automating the configuration and software installation? (a la RIS, and GP Software Installation policies)
    If you want the Linux equivelent the best I can do is probably partimage.

    http://www.partimage.org/

    However this is probably the wrong approach. Your best bet is to use thin clients. Concentrate your money on your server(s) and turn your clients into thin clients. That way you can control every aspect of your machines with one central 'image' on your server and make changes 'live'. Best of all, you can boot your clients off the network with PXE and remove all those pesky drives.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    3 - How easy is it to persuade staff who want particular software which is Windows only that they can't have it because you prefer Linux? (cos they just LOVE being told what to do, don't they )
    Somewhat ironically I've found that generally the ancient and decrepid software the average member of staff digs up for me to install on their shiny new XP Pro based PC actually runs better under WINE on Linux than under XP's 'compatability mode' (come on be honest, you've all been there).

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    I could go on, but I would be interested to see the answers and opinions on these questions.
    Feel free to ask anything you wish. My advice is to start small with infrastructure (Web, Proxy, DNS, DHCP, File and Print etc) and then work your way towards the client end of the equation. Despite what you might think, getting a Server right is vastly easier than getting a Desktop right.

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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Have a look at Karoshi.org.uk ... Jo and the rest of the team are really helpful and it might help you getting a little something setup smoothly.

    And if you want to make the move then try and find a good project. If you have a particular educational reason for moving to a different platform it is sometimes easy for teachers to adapt.

    If you tell them that it is because the new OS is better/free/safer thenthey will generally look at it as a techie thing ... and think you are bonkers ...

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    @Geoff

    Thin client would be ok if schools DIDN'T want video and audio. Not a serious player in the education field in my opinion.

    I have it here - and I wouldn't touch it again with your bargepole.

    The server systems needed to support it cost more than vanila PC's. And Citrix is still the only way to roll it out effectively - and that's as much again as the servers.

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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Cue Ric_...


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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Bring it on

    What i've said above is the crux of the matter. In the end you're shadowing a beefy machine over a network. Now tell me it's possible to have the same graphical and audio quality as a standalone, or even acceptable quality. Try Citrix's own demo on the net - it sucks big time.

    Don't get me wrong. It does have it's good points. Central administration is wonderful - so easy. Want a new app across the entire network? Five minutes - done. As with all configuration.

    Use it for what it's intended for:
    *publishing applications to a normal PC desktop
    *running low resource apps like word and excel
    *remote access - there's no better

    As for machines dedicated as dumb terminals as Geoff suggested above - just forget it.

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    Re: It's time is coming....

    It's about time that Ric showed you all the picture of his Borg cube which seconds as a storage array and thin client nexus. 10 dual Opteron Sun boxes provide plenty of ooomf and the savings will be made in the long term and not as some schools would like to see on next years budget sheet.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Thin client would be ok if schools DIDN'T want video and audio. Not a serious player in the education field in my opinion.

    I have it here - and I wouldn't touch it again with your bargepole.
    Thats true, if your talking about windows. We're not. X server works just as fast over a network as it does locally. It was designed that way from the ground up. Also, the people writing XFree86 and X.org (the X server clones used by Linux) have had around 20 years to get it right. Its pretty damn right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    The server systems needed to support it cost more than vanila PC's. And Citrix is still the only way to roll it out effectively - and that's as much again as the servers.
    Again, windows has clouded your judgment. You can typically cut the specs by four and get the same performance from a Linux box as a Windows box doing the same task.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Sorry - I added to my post before the two comments above.

    So Geoff - you're saying Ric can cut the spec of his servers by 4 to get the same performance as a Windows Server? 3gb of ram becomes less that 1Gb?

    And does the Linux Terminal Server do load balancing then?

    @D_B - we spent a big heap on our Citrix system 4 years ago - Ric laughs at the spec as poultry now, and he's correct. We're having to phase ours out because it fell short of our requirements by a mile, so we haven't upgraded it. Don't kid yourself that the thing doesn't need constantly upgrading, and as I said - that cost is MORE than a network of vanilla PC's.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    So Geoff - you're saying Ric can cut the spec of his servers by 4 to get the same performance as a Windows Server? 3gb of ram becomes less that 1Gb?
    Yes, alternatively you can support more clients. There's no point wasting perfectly good hardware you've already bought.

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    And does the Linux Terminal Server do load balancing then?.
    Sure, there's about eight or nine different methods depending on what your trying to achieve. Linux Virtual Server is probably your best bet for load balancing terminal servers.

    http://www.linux-vs.org/

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    Re: It's time is coming....

    @Mark: If you plan to make the switch to Linux, you could use your existing Citrix licenses with Linux

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    No tryin to sweet talk me now!!!

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: It's time is coming....

    @Mark: You could also have a combination of Linux and Windows servers for your lusers to log onto - giving them the choice to use whichever platform they feel most comfortable with.

    Dual-booting takes a while and means that you need to maintain two configs, whereas initiating a terminal session takes seconds

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    Re: It's time is coming....

    Question: how would you move your user areas (saved work etc) over to a Linux server and make it so that the users could still access that work (taking into consideration permissions)?

    This has always intrigued me. I have no problem with NFS/NIS, LDAP or SAMBA; but what has worried me about moving from Windows servers to Linux is the possible loss of user data.

    Paul

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