Linux Terminal Servers for Any Business

A Linux Terminal Server offers any business an elegant and cost-effective way to integrate the power of open source. In this article, I review some basics of network topology and offer suggestions about how to install a prototype server. I top it off with some tips for business-specific installations and configuration…

A Linux Terminal Server allows almost any business to gain the benefits of open source and the power of Linux immediately. What makes an LTS distinct is that it integrates well, without burden to infrastructure or people. Moreover, the performance of an LTS dramatically showcases Linux power. One LTS can serve graphics and applications to many desktop PCs simultaneously.

By placing the LTS into an existing subnet, colleagues can access the many useful applications and features with almost no effort-and at their convenience.

A great deal of effort has been put into the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) to make it seamless. LTS simplifies installation by isolating the integration work exclusively on the server.

With an LTS, even the most hesitant users experience the benefits of open source in their organizational context. No re-installs are required. No major licensing or policy changes. And most important of all, the financial costs are negligible.

As an illustration, I recently found that a local real-estate company had needs that perfectly matched with an LTS. Among the many available applications, I demonstrated the ease of The GIMP to alter photos downloaded from the agents’ cameras. Then I included simple bash scripts to automate the uploading of the enhanced images to their Web site. The GIMP exemplifies the many outstanding open-source programs they could access easily through the LTS.

This simple example demonstrates how a business that never considered Linux or open source could quickly gain access to applications with very little cost in time or money. Above all, the agents could access the LTS from their own desktops without any alterations.

Now, let me share some of the basics of integrating an LTS into your business.

First, choose your network topology and server based on your specific business context. Next, choose your method of installation and follow the on-line instructions. Finally, configure your server to support thin-client connections. You’ll find that most installations work smoothly and quickly. To help guide your steps, I include tips for some of the more essential configurations.

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