Raspi-LTSP for Raspberry Pis


#1

I have been working on a project for past 6-7 months for helping mainly classrooms with the infrastructure. i side of things when implementing Raspberry Pis It then sort of turned into my A2 A-level Computing project (along with a python classroom management system).

Simple idea is no more waiting ages to flash SD cards every time you want to make a change, like install a new package.
Also, all kids work isn’t stored on the Raspberry Pis, it is stored on a central server, means a kid can have a user account created for them, then log onto any Raspberry Pi with it!

All revolves around a single server (basically just a file server running Debian with fixed IP, does not need to be powerful). The server stores the Pis OS, along with user accounts and files. Once Raspi-LTSP is installed, it generates some boot files (about 30mb) that you just drop onto any SD card (formatted fat32). Plug in the Pi to the network and start it up, eventually you are presented with a login screen and good to go.

Forgot to add a package? Add it on the server and it is now on all the Pis. Data is never copied to the SD card itself, the Pi mounts the OS from server live so changes are live.

More details can be found on my blog post if anyone is interested http://pi.gbaman.info/?p=256

Might be handy for coderdojo?

Let me pose another point… All of this is based off LTSP meaning you can also build normal x86 chroots also. That is the norm. These chroots use the same login system as Raspi-LTSP, same user accounts and same files.

Basically allowing these scenarios for coderdojo
Kid does not bring a laptop - That kid can use a Raspberry Pi and log on with their normal details every week
Kid brings their own laptop - To make sure you don’t need to waste time installing software etc, they just plug into network, reboot and hold PXE boot key (F12?). Laptop then presents same login screen as Pis and uses shared user accounts so they log in and work away. If they forget laptop or it breaks, same files can be accessed on Pis.

An interesting thing to consider, it does have the disadvantage though when kids leave, stuff isn’t stored on their laptops. Might be useful for old machines sitting around farset though.

So if anyone is up for mucking about with Raspi-LTSP, feel free to, always looking for feedback!


#2

Hells yes! Very interesting indeed!


#3

This is a great project that I’ve had a few chances to play with. It’d be great to try and integrate this somehow with the Farset infrastructure.

@stealthii was there not whispers that the old PXEboot system was still chugging? Any way of combining the efforts and maybe work with @gbaman1 on the user-storage question?

Could be really cool to build this into a web service for coderdojos and schools to use where kids accounts would transfer between groups.


#4

Yes, the provisional PXE server is still running