Setting Up Thin Clients (LTSP) on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 | SUSE Communities

Setting Up Thin Clients (LTSP) on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10


We here at the Newmarket, NH School District are doing our best to be both innovative and cost efficient while providing our students with the best possible technology environment for their school work. Therefor, we have endeavored to maintain our Novell Infrastructure which provides us with world class Identity management and network services (at less than $5,000 a year for 18 servers.) while trying to incorporate Open source solutions from places like and Last year we purchased 62 thin clients from and a used IBM xSeries 345 dual Xeon server with 4 gig of ram and a matching pair of mirrored 150 Gig scsi drives from The clients cost roughly $25,000 with 15 inch LCD, keyboard and optical mice (peripherals sourced from Saving over $200 per seat in hardware and basic operating system costs (never mind the savings in MS office licensing). This year I decided to try an get Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise desktop 10 to host an LTSP configuration so that I could use the Novell Client for linux to attach users to their Network storage and printing services without all the network configuration hassles of using other linux distributions. Here is the output from that work.

Setting up thin clients (LTSP) on SUSE Linux Enterprise desktop 10

Problem: Many schools and businesses need to cut costs on the desktop.

Solution: Reusing older PC’s and\or purchasing lower cost “thin-clients” that can leverage the flexibility and usability of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop environment configured with LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project).

System Requirements:

  • Server or “workstation” level computer. 2 processors recommended
  • Minimum 1 Gigabyte of ram (2 gig recommended, 4 gig preferred)
  • 10 Gig root volume and 100 mg of disk space for /home per user minimum
  • 2 network cards
  • Minimums work best for under 30 stations


Install and configure SLED 10 (do not patch until after completed). LTSP prefers two NIC cards and it is difficult to set it up with two NICs. The PUBLIC NIC (usually eth0) can be left on dhcp. The PRIVATE nic eth1 is for the LTSP client subnet. This NIC should be configured with or another subnet where this NIC can have the 254 address
from the SLED 10 distribution add:

Novell Client for Linux(if on Novell network)
you will need to update the configuration with items from SLES 10 included in attached archive.

They are( in order of installation):


To add LTSP you should download and burn the LTSP 4.2 ISO from;

*there are other ways to install LTSP. However we will assume that you downloaded and burned the ISO.
*there maybe some version specific changes so it is important to incorporate any changes to the installation routine from the readme’s and other documentation included with LTSP.

To install:

Go to the cdrom from the desktop icon and change directory to ltsp-utils then double-click

SLED’s updater \ software installer will install the RPM correctly.

Open a terminal and run ltspadmin as root.

From the main menu in ltspadmin, choose: “Configure the installer options”

The first prompt is, specify the path to the files which is: file:///media/CDROM

*Notice that the value MUST be in the form of a URL, and also, notice that there are 3 slashes ‘///’.

The first 2 slashes are part of the URL specification (“file://”), the 3rd slash is for the root directory on your server.

Leave the remaining options at the default and follow the prompts to the end choosing Y for correct.
When returned to the main menu choose “install/update LTSP packages”
follow the prompts to install ALL of the packages.

To set up services:

  1. To begin load ‘ltspadmin’, Choose the ‘Configure LTSP’ menu item, which will cause it to run the ltspcfg utility.
  2. ltspcfg will check for all the necessary services and at the end hitting [ENTER] will return you to the ltspcfg menu.
  3. At the main menu choose ‘S’ this shows the status of all the services. If something isn’t showing a status of “installed” double-check it in YAST. It may be necessary to go into YAST > Network Services > TFTP server and enable it. If so in order to change the status of the service in ‘ltspadmin’, exit the utility and restart it.
  4. Now go to ‘configure the services manually’.
  5. ‘runlevel’ is for the server console, if you are comfortable with the CLI choose 3, if you want the GUI choose 5 , the default.
  6. ‘interface selection’ is for choosing which card to bind DHCP services to, usually the second NIC is the Private\client side, type in ‘eth1’ Verify this setting in YAST > System > sysconfig editor > network > DHCP > DHCP server > DHCPD_INTERFACE it should read ‘eth1’ same as ltspconfig.
  7. DHCP configurations. This creates the sample dhcpd.conf.sample file. You can skip this one. As there is a properly configured DHCP.CONF file included in the attached archive.
  8. TFTP configurations. Sets the TFTP deamon to start at boot. You may have to check this one in YAST >Network Services(xinetd)>tftp
  9. Portmapper configurations. Usually already enabled
  10. NFS configurations. If this is not running simply go into YAST>System>System Services(runlevel editor) “enable” NFSSERVER at boot and start it. LTSPadmin already shares the correct folders in step 14.
  11. Xdmcp configurations. Choose ‘yes’ for full GUI login. Choose ‘no’ at the second prompt to keep the server secure. You may have to go into YAST> /etc/sysconfig editor >Desktop>DisplayManager>and set DISPLAYMANAGER_REMOTE_ACCESS to “Yes” as well as,
  12. Create /etc/hosts. Choose ‘yes’ to add names.
  13. Create /etc/hosts.allow. Choose ‘yes’ to add names.
  14. Create /etc/exports. Choose ‘yes’ this creates the default LTSP NFS exported directories.
  15. Create lts.conf. Choose ‘yes’ to create the default. This sets the environment for the clients. It may need to be edited later to resolve, amongst other things, display resolution errors. Quit ltspadmin.
  16. Now replace the dhcpd.conf file and make sure it looks like this:
default-lease-time 3600;
max-lease-time 7200;
ddns-update-style none;
option subnet-mask;
option broadcast-address;
option routers (Your Default Gateway);
option root-path "";
option option-128 code 128 = string;
option option-129 code 129 = text;
option host-name = concat ("ws", (binary-to-ascii (10, 8, "", substring (leased-address, 3, 6))), "Put Your Domain Here");

shared-network WORKSTATIONS {
    subnet netmask {
    range dynamic-bootp;
    use-host-decl-names       on;
    option log-servers;

    # trick from Peter Rundle <>
     if substring (option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 9) = "PXEClient"
        filename      "lts/";
          # NOTE: kernels are specified in tpboot/lts/pxe/pxelinux.cfg/
        filename    "lts/vmlinuz-";

#this dhcp.conf sets the LTSP network up for 100 clients, you will have to adjust the hosts and hosts.allow files to actually run that many stations, the default is 30.
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