How do LTSP Fat Clients work?

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33 Responses

  1. sta says:

    nice post, thank you very much

  2. sm8ps says:

    This is the single most useful post on the subject of LTSP fat clients I have come across so far. Thanks a lot! The Ubuntu community documentation gets you going but this post really does explain much more detail.

    St. Mueller, Switzerland (under heaps of snow)

  3. openstep says:

    I am using an older version of ltsp (ubuntu 8.04). I have a few older machines that can not pxe boot. I use etherboot ( to boot them.

    Now, when I tried the new ltsp (ubuntu 10.04) I could not boot the machine via etherboot (, and another problem was there were no internet access on the client.

    Any ideas?

  4. openstep says:

    Any idea why it is not booting on ubuntu 10.04 via etherboot?
    Nor thin nor fat cleints boot.

  5. jonathan says:

    @openstep If you use etherboot, you have to install the mknbi package and run ltsp-update-kernels

  6. openstep says:

    Seems like this did not help.
    Then I downloadad loadlin (client have an old dos program as a second option) to load (gpxe.lkrn).
    Loadlin loads gpxe just fine, then gpxe starts loading ltsp but hangs at a line that starts like this IP= …….
    And will not move on loading ltps. But that is what i need to do since many clients do not have a pxe boot built in and because I still need to have that old dos program as a second option.
    Any ideas?

  7. jonathan says:

    Hey openstep, I haven’t used Etherboot in a while, so what I can help you with there is a bit limited. Why not ask on the Edubuntu mailinst lists[1] or the LTSP [2]? There is sure to be many people who use Etherboot who have probably found a workaround or solution to the same problem that you have.


  8. Is this “–fat-client” option only available in Ubuntu packages? I ask because I’m using Debian’s ltsp-server 5.2.4 package, and there’s no option like this for ltsp-build-client.


  9. jonathan says:

    @Vinicius Unfortunately that’s not available in Debian, but you can install your desktop session of choice in the chroot manually. Since the support for it is in LTSP upstream as well, it should work just fine in Debian otherwise.

  10. Frugal Dad says:

    The LTSP fat client is perfect for many uses. We use it for our in home school. 4 computers without hard drives and 1 server. It works excellent for our purposes. Without those 4 hard drives running, our classroom is a lot more peaceful and way less hot!

  11. Barco says:

    Finding current online information on Lstp is verry hard indeed. Tried the mailing lists but they keep talking to themselves and don’t offer much help. Is there a man page for Ltsp somewhere?

  12. Nicolas Roussi says:

    I followed your instructions and everything went fine. But when I boot to the fat client image the background loads on the desktop only. When I boot to a thin client image everything works fine (mac address of client in lts.conf and LTSP_FATCLIENT=false). Any suggestions?

  13. jonathan says:

    @Nicolas I suggest you drop by on the #ltsp IRC channel on freenode. I’m usually there and it’s easier to provide assistance there than over blog comments :)

  14. Jim says:

    Hello Jonathan. Thanks for this write-up. I had a couple of students follow it last spring to do a fat client install and I’m now using the server in my classroom. Would you know how I could run a published bottle with Crossover inside a fat-client image?? I need to get my drafting program that we ran well from thin-clients working with fat-clients. Thanks, Jim

  15. openstep says:

    Hi again,
    this time I am using the new 10.04 lts version to to install ltsp from the alternate cd (F4 mode).
    All is fine, except found out that it is not using NTFS (right?) but sshfs and thus I can not get the quota information on the fat clients.

    My question is :
    – how can I have quota working in fat client?
    – is the alternate cd installs ltsp differently then what I would do with the commands? Such like these here:
    – can I turn such istallation into ntfs way so that quota would be working?

    hope you understand …


  16. So it’s possible to use another version of a distro for the Clients, but is it possible to use totally another distro as Server and as a Client, like Debian for Server and Ubuntu for Client ?

  17. ayo says:

    hi jonathan i have the fat clients install and working alright..only problem is when i restart or shutdown i lose all the documents stored in that session, please how do i make sure that documents get saved ?

  18. sugonjakas says:

    Hello! I am writing from Russia. I want to express my deep gratitude to you for your article! Although not the national language is written to me, but in contrast to all manuals are available – which is very handy to use at school in computer class! Thank you!

  19. Konrad says:

    I wonder if there is the possibility of limiting CPU, RAM usage for each session/client?

  20. melvin says:

    i have in troubled for configured and install the ltsp fat client, can anyone help me and guide me for the clear step by step please. This is my task in schools.please help me. thanks in advance

  21. melvin says:

    john, hmmm i used virtual box to install the ltsp fat server and then connect to thin client, i create to vm machine one for the ltsp fat server and one for the thin client, it is posible to do that? can you supervised me for the step? on that pages i follow that step and do the step in fat server? i’m right?how about the thin client?there’s need a configuration for that one?

  22. john_s says:

    Hi Melvin,

    I’ve never done this with virtual servers and virtual clients before so I can’t help you there. If I was doing it, I’d use a physical server and a physical client before I tried to virtualize.

    Step 5. in the link about says “Internet connectivity needs to be provided directly to the client, the client needs to be directed to an Internet gateway via DHCP. ” Your client needs to boot via PXE, and PXE needs DHCP to be running to get the values it needs to find the image on the TFTP server.

    It may be helpful for you to read


  23. melvin says:

    Jonathan thanks for your information above. I’m, so confused about the similarity of installation it is the same with my instalation looks like this “start of intallation” file below? and when im looking for the ltsp server software to install, i cann’t find the ltsp server, you can see the “choosing software installation” file below. which software i need to install? thanks for guiding me for this jonathan, so much appreciate.

  24. melvin says:

    Jonathan, i sent the files to your email.

  25. melvin says:

    Jonathan when i try to follow this turorial then i’m on the part of runing this code “sudo ltsp-build-client” i encouner this error NOTE: Root directory /opt/ltsp/i386 already exist, this will lead to problem please remove it before trying again. Exiting.
    error: LTSP client installation ended abnormally.

    what should i do to fixed this error?

  26. Alan Harper says:

    Those interested in LTSP may find the ltsp-pnp method devised by Alkis Georgopoulos useful.


    Simpler method for fat/thin clients using ltsp-pnp:

  27. Dave Wilson says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Having tried to use KTurtle with 30 LTSP clients today on a 12.04 system will have to change to Fat clients.

    Can I simply follow the information above with an existing Thin Client system in order to swap?



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