HOWTO setup a small server

LTSP Server (Linux Terminal Server Project)


The following describes very briefly how to install a LTSP server for diskless clients. The LTSP server stuff is installed on the same computer that serves as terminal server and has a typical desktop setup (KDE/Gnome). The following package is required:

# apt-get install ltsp-server

WARNING: Never install the ltsp-client package on a regular system!

The NFS kernel server and a TFTP server are installed automatically. Additionally, a DHCP server will be required. If you do not have one yet, install DHCP3:

# apt-get install dhcp3-server

See NFS Server, TFTPD-HPA, or DHCP3 Server, respectively, for more details, though the information in the next sections should be sufficient for a minimal setup.

Setup of Client System

Firstly, the LTSP client system has to be setup. For clients with i386 architecture and using the primary German mirrors, this can be done as root by:

# ltsp-build-client --arch i386 \
  --mirror \

The system is installed under /opt/ltsp/i386/ by default.

Server Configurations

The NFS (version 3) server requires the following configuration:

Excerpt: /etc/exports

/opt/ltsp *(ro,no_root_squash,async,no_subtree_check)

Make the server re-read its configuration after changing the configuration file:

# exportfs -r

The TFTP server should work out of the box, but the inetd could require a restart:

# /etc/init.d/your_inetd restart

Configure the DHCP server to point the client to its boot file /ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0 via TFTP (or /ltsp/i386/nbi.img). For DHCP3 the configuration file entry can look like the following snippet (modify IP/network address according to your needs; next-server specifies the IP of the TFTP server):

Excerpt: /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf


subnet netmask {
    option domain-name "lan";
    option domain-name-servers;
    option broadcast-address;
    option routers;
#    get-lease-hostnames true;
    option subnet-mask;
    option root-path "/opt/ltsp/i386";
    if substring( option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9 ) = "PXEClient" {
        filename "/ltsp/i386/pxelinux.0";
    } else {
        filename "/ltsp/i386/nbi.img";

Finally, restart the DHCP3 server:

# /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server restart

Diskless clients (configured to boot via the network) should now be able to automatically boot their LTSP client system and provide a graphical login screen to the terminal server.

Update of Client System

If the clients' architecture is compatible to the terminal server's architecture, you will be able to install packages or update the client system by changing root to that directory:

# chroot /opt/ltsp/i386/
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
# exit

After kernel updates in the client system, the versions delivered by the TFTP server must also be replaced. Just run:

# ltsp-update-kernels

Networking Requirements

Please read the pages on the NFS Server, TFTPD-HPA, and DHCP3 Server.

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