Not thin, not thick, but lazy

July 24, 2008

linux

I’m trying to move my noisy server to the cellar I’m left with the question how do I cater for my desktop computer needs. I would be nice to have a thin client, but then you have the problem that local devices do not work: because you are actually working on the server, it needs to “know” somehow that you have locally inserted an USB disk. This sucks.

So how about a thick client, a client with enough power to run a full blown Linux distro. This works but has the following disadvantages:

  • more hard disks that can break
  • more maintenance of the machine
  • FANS, which make NOISE

What I need is a machine that is something of a cross between a thin and a thick client. Let’s call it a lazy client. With a lazy client, you will get the low maintenance of a thin client, with the power of a thick client.

Lazy client

My lazy client is a Linux machine, which is not too powerful, but fast enough do most of the jobs. The requirements for such a machine are:

  • no hard disk
  • no fans
  • no local configuration
  • enough memory
  • fast video card

In short I should be able to play video/music, develop my programs, next to the normal desktop chores.

Implementation I’m still pondering this, but I’m thinking of the following:

  • mount /home via NFS from the server
  • boot from USB or cdrom (with a r/w live like system)
  • any configuration would be done via puppet. Also see this blog but preferable no configuration what so ever is needed on the client
  • user management via LDAP or just rsync /etc/passswd and friends to the client. I prefer a LDAP solution.
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