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Fedora Project Considering "Stateless Linux"

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the man-without-a-country dept.

Red Hat Software 234

Havoc Pennington writes "Red Hat developers have been working on a generic framework covering all cases of sharing a single operating system install between multiple physical or virtual computers. This covers mounting the root filesystem diskless, keeping a read-only copy of it cached on a local disk, or storing it on a live CD, among other cases. Because OS configuration state is shared rather than local, the project is called 'stateless Linux.' The post to fedora-devel-list is here, and a PDF overview is here."

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Until they fix the license (0, Flamebait)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241464)

Down with Red HAT!

Re:Until they fix the license (1, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241495)

Red Hat is doing quite well on bringing themselves down without anyone else's help.

Re:Until they fix the license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241789)

What, the GPL?

Re:Until they fix the license (1, Offtopic)

Trogre (513942) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242308)

Democrats hate fetuses and love gays. What about gay fetuses?

Ahhh, but can anyone really be born gay?

astro-turfing again (-1, Troll)

ZeekWatson (188017) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241466)

Fedora -- astro-turfing linux to new heights.

Re:astro-turfing again (1)

Spunk Monkey (792392) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241501)

astro-turfing? is that like putting a midget on stilts?

News flash! (0, Troll)

ZeekWatson (188017) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241551)

News flash! Redhat is *paying* companies to generate a bunch of community hype around Fedora. This includes the many /. postings.

They're faking a grass roots movement around fedora, and that is astro-turfing. These tactics are not acceptable. Investigate before you choose a linux distro!

Redhat: the Redmond of linux.

Information please! (1)

stealth.c (724419) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241775)

The astroturf accusation is a serious one. Can you point to whatever source informed you that Red Hat is doing this?

Personally, I use Fedora myself and enjoy it. I would hate to discover that RHAT is employing such an underhanded tactic.

SWEET!!!!!!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241467)

Monoculture rulez!!!!!

Looks neat but... (4, Interesting)

cato kaze (770158) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241498)

I don't see the purpose. Maybe I'm just unitiated, but wouldn't a linux terminal server work better, or perhaps some other solution. This in particular doesn't look that amazing, but I could be wrong. Does anyone out there have specific uses for this? (TFA won't load for me, so I'm going on what I see)

Re:Looks neat but... (4, Interesting)

deragon (112986) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241539)

Depending of your needs, its better than a thin client, because each user still has his own computer, with all the CPU power, GPU power, etc... for him/herself.

You can still have one user work and experiment on a kernel module and crash his system while another continue with her wordprocessing.

Re:Looks neat but... (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241729)

Exactly, this is a lot like windows roaming profiles and network mounted home directories. All the user settings and files move with the user without the drawbacks of terminal servers (of course it also comes with a lot of the drawbacks of disperse workstations). Combine this with network mounted application directories and you have almost as low of a TCO as terminal servers with the power of individual workstations.

Re:Looks neat but... (5, Interesting)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242232)

It's actually a lot closer to Solaris autoclients. []

Re:Looks neat but... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241782)

So after reading the whitepaper, i'm a little confused at how they update the OS' all at once. They say they use Rsync, but does this mean that all the computers that are being updated have to be the same (same drivers, etc)? I didn't think so since they said it works with laptops too, but it confused me in how that would work. Did anyone else understand it?

Re:Looks neat but... (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242210)

Even better, use this to eliminate the burden of maintaining all those installs, but use OpenMOSIX clustering. Now, everyone will get all the available performance of all the systems, AND you reduce your administration overhead. Too bad you can't use a 2.6 kernel with o-mosix yet - but that's coming in the next six months to a year. They say [] that they're aiming to move everything possible into userspace, which will help them achieve their next goal, of splitting architecture-dependent code from everything else. There is still one more release (for kernel 2.4.26) before they get crackin' on 2.6 however. MOSIX has the same problem (plus is x86-only) and is available for kernel 2.4.27.

If this thin client cluster idea appeals to you, please see ltsp-mosix [] .

Re:Looks neat but... (4, Informative)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241563)

There are dozens but they do not sit in the normal desktop computer realm. Such an architecture would be well suited for low cost server arrays that could run an app like compler, rendering or seti farms.

Once such a system is set up properly, it could be self maintaining with a significant reduction in hardware and energy and maintenance costs.

Re:Looks neat but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241601)

I don't see the purpose. Maybe I'm just unitiated, [...]
On first pass, that said "urinated". On second pass, it said "uninitiated". Third and subsequent passes have failed.

Compute farm / beowulf (1)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241938)

The advantages become apparent when you have a large number of identical systems. Even more so when you want them diskless.

That description matches an compute farm in the next room [0]. It also handles the case of 'diskless' install with a local disk, used for application specific working space [1].

Hell, in the next building there is a beowulf of 32 nodes that hasn't bee updated because the updating of 32 nodes wasn't automated, and time crunch [2]. If it's all from a single image, that's trivial to update the lot.

Sure, there are methods of doing all that as it stands. I am unaware of any other distro that has suport for it in mainline.

Oh, lets not forget about the 50 odd machines in the labs. They're all set up for Windows, but something like this would let them boot to Linux, without reformatting disks. I smell an 'over the holidays' compute farm - think over the week of the Christmas break... that's a lot of sums.

There's a few places where I might use something like this. All those have been solved elsewhere, but it would make a number of things much simpler to do.

[0] So to speak. It's actually round the corner, along a bit, and behind a door from my office.
[1] computational chem - 6 GB of precomputed lookuptables, or thereabouts.
[2] No, not mine.

NFS Mount? (2, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241504)

Haven't Unix machine been doing this for years as NFS mounts? The first sun machines I used (sunos 4.1) has just a single install of the OS and two machines sharing a read only mount.

Re:NFS Mount? (5, Interesting)

nzkoz (139612) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241615)

If you'd bother to read the white paper or howto (sure, I'm new here) you'd have read that this is more than NFS mounted roots.

It's a framework for managing the servers, cached operation, integrated authentication etc. You can use this framework to manage roaming devices like laptops, allowing automatic install images, etc. etc.

An NFS solution requires network connectivity the whole time, this doesn't.

LTSP (3, Interesting)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241509)

Stateless installs? Sounds a bit like the terminal server project. I smell thin clients...are they going into fashion again?

Thin clients WOULD be a blessing, I imagine. Single configuration, one update, all the "personal files" in a server somewhere -- makes for easy updating and backing up. Also keeps hardware requirements down...which [buzzword warning] "helps lower TCO and increase ROI"

Re:LTSP (4, Funny)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241575)

I imagine. Single configuration, one update, all the "personal files" in a server somewhere -- makes for easy updating and backing up. Also keeps hardware requirements down

Welcome to the world of 'dumb terminals' again. Thanks for playing this long!

Re:LTSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241802)

Don't diss the creator of the slashbot rhyme :@

Re:LTSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241871)

Yeah, MS Word to my mother and a bag o' chips. Shout outs to Cavebear and *no comment* while I'm at it. That was definitely a lot of fun, though.

Re:LTSP (4, Informative)

LincolnQ (648660) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241589)

It is intended to be a balance between thin and fat clients. So you have applications stored on the server, but copied and executed locally.

Seems like a good idea to me.

Re:LTSP (3, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241619)

While this could be used for thin clients, most of the pdf actually deals with thick clients. IE laptops who need full installs, and then sync up when part of the network.

This kind of disconnected caching would be excellent. In some ways it's a kind of uber-sync.

What fedora is experimenting will work great on thin and thick clients. I think this is an exciting development, and even for maintaining just a few machines around the house would be nice to have that kind of capability.

Also, I would say that yes, thin clients are coming back into fashion. But thick clients are here to stay also.

mainframe (3, Interesting)

celeritas_2 (750289) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241513)

Unless i've caught a large case of the stupids, it looks like we're heading back to the days of the mainframe computer which many terminals plug into. Is this good or bad or neutral? I think this is a good way to keep corporate/school/etc computer costs down while making sysadmin jobs at least a little easier.

Re:mainframe (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241535)

It's good.

Until the central server crashes and nobody can do anything.

Re:mainframe (3, Insightful)

celeritas_2 (750289) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241568)

In my experience, then central server crashes anyway and nobody can do anything because they're too tied in already with email internet and logon. Just as long as security is good, and data is backed up very redundantly, I can't see that there would be any greater disadvantage.

Re:mainframe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241599)

Redundancy, man. It's easier to have a backup central server than it would be to manage quite a few desktops. Of course it all depends on what this central server does and how many clients it serves. If we're talking a good x86 or two, that's one thing. If we're talking big iron, then the price for a backup server goes up quite a bit.

Re:mainframe (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242246)

The central server for something like this could easily be a cluster, whether load-balancing or failover/HA, optionally using a dual-attach RAID. Frankly it would probably be better not to do that, and to maintain totally separate data stores for configuration information, storing user data on a failover cluster that DOES use dual-attach storage. Commit configuration changes every n minutes and in such a fashion that you aren't going to partially overwrite a config, for maximum reliability.

Re:mainframe (1)

heathm (174421) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242317)

Based on my understanding from reading the article, each workstation would rely on the central server but not depend on the central server. Each workstation could cache data on its local hard drive and then update the cache when it boots or on a scheduled basis or whatever. The point is, the workstations don't HAVE to have the central server up and running to work. Applications run locally and data can be stored locally and then updated to the server when it's available (the article mentioned using rsync for this type of thing.) The plan is to support laptops with this configuration which are obviously not always plugged into the network.

It doesn't sound like there's really any new technology here. It's more a new way of thinking and grouping together existing technology in a new way.

Re:mainframe (5, Informative)

owlstead (636356) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241674)

Terminals did not have their own CPU to do things. Here everything is kept local, except the OS install which can easily be managed. Since Linux can work without rebooting for driver installs (which is a necesity in this case) you can even run different kind of hardware on a single install. Basically you now have a flexible, cheap network computer.

And since we cannot do without networking anyway, and since storage devices are easy to make high available, this would seem like a blessing to me.

Re:mainframe (1)

celeritas_2 (750289) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241860)

I admit i haven't read much, but it would seem easiest if big important packages [kernel, X, etc] were compiled and stored server side to be downloaded automaticly to the local client to make installing/updating as smooth as possible while not requiring IT people to visit every workstation.

Re:mainframe (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241974)

You almost need a cluster/failover server that has "dumb" terminals that plug in, and possibly share resources with the cluster.... sort of a mix of the two.

On behalf of non-geeks, let me be the first to... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241523)

On behalf of non-geeks, let me be the first to say... HUH?

I mean, I know the words. It's mostly English, and that's my first language, and I'm pretty handy with computers, but that was the most incomprehensible load of babble I've heard since the last time I watched TNG.

Can someone explain what this means, in plain English, to a regular user (i.e. non-hacker geek types)?

Re:On behalf of non-geeks, let me be the first to. (4, Informative)

vrmlknight (309019) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241743)

same install image will work on a lot of different hardware i.e a laptop with all the power saving features, IDE hard drives and a P4 M processor that same install image will work on a AMD desktop system with scsi drives...

thats it in a nutshell....

Wow! (3, Insightful)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241528)

Wow - this is really HUGE project. I mean - it spreads from kernel, through init scritps, through X managers & enviroments to easy to use administration tools. If they suceed this could be really "Linux killer application".

And please all the "NFS root is enough" posts - read the article!

Re:Wow! (2, Insightful)

lakiolen (785856) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241988)

It's not a killer app. It's not even an app. One's not going to download a file and suddenly their using stateless linux. It's a different way of organizing the underlying layers that applications use.

That's the problem (2, Insightful)

Karma Sucks (127136) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242192)

The project is too big, ambitious and lofty. It's just bound to collapse sooner or later IMHO. I don't think anybody /really/ wants to relearn how to deploy Linux anyway.

What problem does it solve? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241550)

Okay, so we have things like NFS, Coda, Intermezzo to access system disks across networks. We have things like TFTP, BOOTP to boot across a network. We have X to access graphical applications across a network.

Why is this new thing needed? What does it do better? What does it do that can't be done today?

I want the opposite! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241552)

I want a distro where by default packages install under $HOME so that someone can install their favorite browser without root access.

It's really disconcerting for me that practically all the distros want you to have root access even to install a simple MP3 player from their package files; and extremely distrubing that they do it by popping up KDE or Gnome windows asking for root paswords.

Isn't this what we blame microsoft for?

Disk space is cheap enough, we don't need more sharing of config stuff - we need more separation so users can use the benefits of package managers without having to get in the way of other users.

Re:I want the opposite! (2, Interesting)

runderwo (609077) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241663)

I have done something similar to this before. Use debootstrap to install a minimal Debian installation into my home directory, chroot into it, and then install whatever other packages I want to my heart's content. Unfortunately chroot requires root for some reason. If there was a way for a user to chroot, it would be pretty trivial to stow packages in your home directory even if they were compiled for systemwide installation.

Re:I want the opposite! (1)

dzym (544085) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241719)

In debian, you set up a dchroot. Still requires initial root user action, but after that it's straightforward access from the specified regular user account.

Re:I want the opposite! (1)

runderwo (609077) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242122)

Cool, thanks! I've only had use for this on a few occasions, but asking the admin for a one-time favor is much easier than asking for root.

Re:I want the opposite! (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242187)

that's what fakeroot is for. :)

Re:I want the opposite! (5, Informative)

v1x (528604) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241678)

> Isn't this what we blame microsoft for? <

Not quite: we blame them for having to *run* a lot of programs as root to get full functionality. In most *nixes, OTOH, you only need root passwords to *install* programs, while the programs themselves run just fine for regular users.

I dont see anything wrong with having to ask for root passwords for critical changes to any system: its a good practice, and one of the better implementations of it is seen in OS X, which actually has 'Lock/Unlock' icons for settings that need root access.

Re:I want the opposite! (4, Informative)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241738)

"I want a distro where by default packages install under $HOME so that someone can install their favorite browser without root access."

Take a look at zero install [] . You can install 0install on many distros (as root) then install apps as a user exactly like you want.

Or buy a mac!

Re:I want the opposite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241740)

You mean like a "virtual server" or a chrooted jail? (O Unix Gurus, be gentle if I've used thine terms incorrectly). Everyone gets to be their own "root" and fsck up their own stuff. Unfortunately, I don't think we can trust your local user to be smart enough to admin their own stuff. I don't care if it's a kernel patch or an mp3 player -- if I have to support THEIR installed software, I'd want to make sure they can't do jaque zhite.

Re:I want the opposite! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241774)

I want my web browser to pick up all sorts of crud from the net and populate my drives with viruses.

no, seriously,

doesn't the configure step normally offer this type of customizing ?

$ tar -zxvf app_0.73.tgz;
$ cd app_0.73
$ ./configure --prefix=${HOME}
$ make
$ make install

Re:I want the opposite! (2, Insightful)

Spyro VII (666885) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241788)

I don't see why you're being modded as insightful for this rant. I have really not the slightest idea of why you mentioned Microsoft either.

Here's a few points. First of all, you can configure KDE or Gnome not to ask. Second of all, most users are not admins. Allow me to expand on that. Most people who use computers have no idea of what is harmful and what is not harmful and will install anything. Theoretically the admin should install the basic apps (office, music, and internet) so that users won't go and install a program that'll delete their home directory or something. Third of all, you can already have users setup like that. It's called booting more than one OS, but it seems silly and redundant to me.

Re:I want the opposite! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242274)

MIT Project Athena uses "lockers" which contain, well, whatever, but usually software. Lockers are mounted when an attach request is made. Home directories are lockers, as are install locations for software packages. Lockers presumably have some sort of permissions to determine who may attach them.

The only problem with installing a package under $HOME is that software generally expects things to be in certain directories, unless you compile them, and then you can build them in and install them to your home directory. So, I'm not sure there's actually a problem. Some programs (like netscape) didn't have hardcoded paths as such, they would work from their current directory, so it's really not a problem with the OS. Many times I have done test installs on production systems in my home dir, then reconfigured, recompiled, and installed to the / hierarchy (rather than --prefix=/home/whoever/wherever) once I had it all working.

Like Clusters (5, Interesting)

deadline (14171) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241555)

This is similar to what clusters try and do. It is important to maintain the same OS state on all nodes. Take a look at Rocks Clusters [] . Rocks will push the same OS image out to the nodes of the cluster. There is no reason the cluster nodes could not be workstations on a desk.

Re:Like Clusters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241694)

i would not want a cluster node under my desk with a workload far beyond good and bad: noise, heat, is it ringing?

Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241571)

It's called "MS Terminal Services."

Again... (4, Insightful)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241572)

Posts like:

NFS read-only & shared root is enough
Thin clients

=> please read the article

Re:Again... (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241926)

I've been doing too much preposition logic lately, because I saw that as

!(NFS read-only & shared root is enough+LTSP+Thin clients) OR please read the article

I hate college ;-)

Havoc Pennington... (1, Troll)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241574)

You are awesome. He always has something cool to say. I would recommend anyone to read daily and see whats going on over at redhat. In particular, you can read Havoc's log and other cool stuff here [] . My favorite is his editorial on "Why free software maintainers are so stuborn".

A few thoughts (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241585)

(n+1)th Post!

First, what's so special about this? If you set up a network filing system for your root FS and use LinuxBIOS as your bootable image, you can have a single, central Linux install that is shared with as many computers as you like.

What would be far MORE interesting would be to have a central server with multiple images for different hardware. Then you could boot your nice, shiny IBM mainframe from the same "install" as your desktop PC or the webmaster's Apple Mac.

Another possibility is a massively parallel installer. Basically have one machine on which you are actively installing, but have that machine replicate the write-to-disk operations across the entire network to all the other PCs.

A third option would be to have a distro which set up the entire network as a cluster, but with the config files just on one machine. That way, you don't burden any one machine with having to serve the really heavy-duty stuff, such as applications.

Re:A few thoughts (1)

Libor Vanek (248963) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241623)

Just notice that if you look "close enough", nothing is "special new" (e.g. relativity theory, iMac, Linux etc. etc.) - evolution is done in small steps. What I found great on this is the vision - let's throw away thin/fat client idea and just think about separating "operating system" and "user data".

What's the fastest way... (3, Insightful)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241590)

... to bring a company running thin clients to a grinding halt? Kill the central server... Looks interesting though.... since all config data is stored centrally, it would make sysadmin's lives much easier.

Re:What's the fastest way... (1)

chez69 (135760) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241869)

as somebody has said before, why is it any different when the mail server or file server or the network gets screwed up?

a lot of people in big companies can't get work done on their PCs without their mail client, etc

Nothing new.. (2, Informative)

woah (781250) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241593)

This sounds a lot like VAXCluster technology [] , which was first introduced by DEC in 1983.

There's plenty of Linux clustering technologies available. I wonder how does the Red Hat stuff compare.

Wow, this looks handy (1)

stealth.c (724419) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241608)

Some traits of this thing sound like the ultimate in modular design. Of course, I've done this sort of thing myself already by burning all the necessary files in /home onto a CD-RW. I could blow up my computer right now and probably have an identical Fedora system on another machine in as long as it takes the OS to install. The fact that they're proposing this as coming from a server really isn't that different. Once again, someone has re-invented the thin client. I would like to see something like a "medium client." System-level stuff is remotely hosted so any user-inflicted damage is repaired *once* and for all, but the client retains a disk, and other traits of a fat client, to give the user significant flexibility with what he's doing at the machine. Maybe I'm just talking out my ass, but wouldn't that be a little more useful and/or bandwidth friendly than the thin client everyone keeps talking about? Or would user apps keep breaking?

When Red Hat makes a business out of HOSTING people's systems and apps, then they've out-Microsofted Microsoft.

Re:Wow, this looks handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241856)

And can you have several different computers that you can keep /home on a cd-rw, and also update the kernals/programs/drivers/etc on all of them in one step? didn't think so.
less talkie, more readie.

Back to mainframes? (5, Insightful)

pfriedma (725399) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241614)

Back when mainframes were popular (the first time), they were large, expensive, and consumed lots of power... but in the long run less expensive than putting full workstations on every desk and maintaining local copies of settings, software etc. My personal feeling as to why desktops took off is because, at the time of their introduction, it seemed rediculous to have a mainframe in the home. Local copies were fine since most people only had one computer to worry about. This has changed. People now have multiple computers, or at the very least, constantly transfer info between home and work machines. Now, mainframe power is available cheeply and in a small formfactor... and with the use of broadband increasing, it is becomming more and more popular to rid the home and office of multiple full machines, and replace them with terminals that can connect to a shared environment. Personally, I would love to see this take off. It would be nifty if I could "pause" my work at one terminal, and resume it at another in another location. Also reduces overall cost for people who have, let's say, one computer for the parents and one for the kids (the latter more prone to breaking). Cheap thin-clients would be really useful here.

Re:Back to mainframes? (1)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241868)

Actually you can already do the "pause" thing with your workstation using Windows XP's Remote Desktop feature. True, it's basically a crippled version (1 user limit) of Windows Terminal Services, but it works great, even over the net.

What's wrong with flexibility? (-1, Troll)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241627)

I see a few comments in here questioning the logic or similarity of this project to the already failed thin-client model that was once promised to revolutionize business computing. It seems to me the point is not to put all the eggs in one handbag -- but quite the opposite; to increase the capability and flexibility of an already capable and flexible system. This isn't an end in itself, but rather a means to discover or fully realize other possibilities with Linux that hinge upon greater portability.

It is exactly this lack of perception that demonstrates the extent to which the impact of history's lessons on the business world are trivialized by our public school systems. For example, if you asked me a week ago the origin of chopsticks I (like most people) would have responded China, or parts nearby. Now this totally neglects the less-than-common knowledge that they were actually created in America in the 1800s by immigrants to mining communities as a means of differentiating their restaurants from more common fare, and have caught on in Asia to the point of accounting for over 2.5% of our lumber exports!

The ramifications are intriguing, not the least of which are our dwindling natural resources and the need to choose the path of innovation rather than exploitation with regards to manufacturing; in this case, the substitution of "spokes" -- recyclable plastic chopsticks -- for conventional oak or cherry chopsticks where disposability is a factor.

Do we continue to promote a business model whose short-term gains outstrip the long-term ones? Or do we invest in discovering new trends, occasionally losing our bets and occasionally hitting it big? I submit to you that only the latter has driven mankind's growth -- despite the apparent short-term risks -- and that to content yourself to following the leader is a sure road to stagnation and ultimately failure.

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241745)

You are a nutcase. Completely.

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (1)

starm_ (573321) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242123)

I agree. Totally.

Before believing our word, consider using Google to search for "chopstick history". You will discover evidence that leads to the predominant view that chopsticks were in fact invented in China about five thousands years ago.

Having briefly discussed the reliability of the author's facts, let us also comment on matters with regard to the style of the text. There is a natural objection to individuals using grammatical form rather than substance in an attempt to manipulate the reader in perceiving his word as judicious.

Such a view seems to have compelled us to verify the essence of the passage and infer a meagre value of content. Upon such information we reckon that it is in fact predominantly canine excrement.

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (1)

CmdrSam (136754) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241780)

For example, if you asked me a week ago the origin of chopsticks I (like most people) would have responded China, or parts nearby. Now this totally neglects the less-than-common knowledge that they were actually created in America in the 1800s by immigrants to mining communities as a means of differentiating their restaurants from more common fare

Wikipedia claims differently, [] as do the California Academy of Sciences [] and [] .

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (2, Funny)

radish (98371) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241877)

For example, if you asked me a week ago the origin of chopsticks I (like most people) would have responded China, or parts nearby.

And you'd have been correct.

Now this totally neglects the less-than-common knowledge that they were actually created in America in the 1800s by immigrants to mining communities as a means of differentiating their restaurants from more common fare

Crap. Chopsticks have been in use in China and Japan for around 5000 years. This page [] includes a brief history, and you can get more details here [] . Note that the second article points out that a museum in Shanghi actually has a pair from the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). There's also more nice information on Wikipedia [] .

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242224)

Interestingly from what I understand the chinese also pioneered the use of forks as eating utensils, and they were brought into other cultures along with the noodle.

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241884) [] says that they were invented by the Shang dynasty around 1700 BC. nice try though.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241904)

before 1000 BC.

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (0, Offtopic)

MacJedi (173) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241945)

For example, if you asked me a week ago the origin of chopsticks I (like most people) would have responded China, or parts nearby. Now this totally neglects the less-than-common knowledge that they were actually created in America in the 1800s by immigrants to mining communities as a means of differentiating their restaurants from more common fare, and have caught on in Asia to the point of accounting for over 2.5% of our lumber exports!
Where on earth did you get that bit of mis-information from? See here [] and here [] and even here [] .

Re:What's wrong with flexibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10242039)

That is a magnificent troll!

Truly a beautiful sight to behold. Thank you.

Deepfreeze (1)

ilikejam (762039) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241641)

Sounds like Deepfreeze, except for Linux.

I wonder what the IP status of this is.....

NO NO NO!!!! (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241950)

NOOOOOO!!! no no no no!
I hated that crappy program....

This is much better because you can *gasp* update all the computers without having to reboot 2 or 3 times! apparently, it will reset the OS like you said, but you can also update computers all at once from a server or something. Also, with Linux's permissions and mouting options, it won't be as trivial to get around as deep freeze was.

Deepfreeze was shit because you had to physically reboot into normal mode, install a program (reboot?), and reboot back into frozen mode for every computer in the school for an update. Man did that suck.

RTFA, dammit! (4, Informative)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241702)

This is NOT just LSTP all over again! RTFA!

From the article:
  • Applications run on local systems
    • avoids the needs for huge terminal servers with complex load balancing
    • works for laptops (emphasis mine)
  • Software and data are cached on the local disk
    • reduces bandwidth and increases speed
    • the cache can be read-only and thus per-computer state is impossible
    • works for laptops

Sounds good to me. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241765)

Yes, we all know about NFS shares and LTSP - that's all good and the PDF says that. What's been proposed is a way to do it at a more generic level "out of the box" with a little more polish. It could make everything from class room situations to HA Cluster enviroments easier to deply - using a common set of unix concepts across the board. It's all about raising the standars bar and establishing better working practices.

Not needing root and thin client hybrid... (5, Informative)

agristin (750854) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241807)

If you read the article, you will see that:

1) they don't want users to need root for hardware (but do want users to need the admin to install certain software). This info is in the PDF. They already see that needing root for hardware install or configuration needs to be worked around.

2) the design is a hybrid or amalgamation of thin and fat client, trying to cherry pick the best of both:

applications run on local systems

software and data cached on local disk

central management and configuration of nodes

they call it a cached client technology

3) they have a plan for laptops. Stateless... instantiation, sync... things that sound vague, but they seem to have a plan because this stuff is considered in the howto. There are some notes in the how-to covering the different types of clients:

" diskless clients, which boot directly from a snapshot stored on the server
caching clients, which boot from a copy of a snapshot, cached locally on a hard drive.
Live CD clients, which boot from a copy of a snapshot burned onto a CD
thick clients, which don't use snapshots and must be maintained by another means.

The idea has some very cool potential for a business or network situation. I can't imagine this is ready for production, but it could be soon.


Re:Not needing root and thin client hybrid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10242047)

Bah, certain hardware (hard drives, video cards, etc) should need root access.
Printers, usb pens, digital cameras, etc should NOT.

heading off the misinterpretations (3, Interesting)

grmoc (57943) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241841)

First of all, I'm not associated with the project.

However, I've read what they're talking about, and here is where many people are misinterpreting:

This is not a 'thin' client in the traditional sense. The client in this case does the computations.. i.e. it actually runs the app.

In other words, the computer is not merely a display, and as such shouldn't suffer from the traditional mainframe/client shortcomings.. (you have all the CPU power you normally have)

When you think about this, think KNOPPIX and other live-cds, that is the nearest (and quite near, imho) to what they're discussing.

So... why is this different from a normal install?

A normal install has a read-write root, whereas here they're shooting for a read-only root, even if it is still on the local harddrive.

Answer to the SCO issue (2, Funny)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241913)

Bingo! If the kernel is in some remote location (i.e. Cayman Islands), then enterprises can run all their apps locally, but SCO cannot sue them for copyright violation (because the code is offshore)!

Sure, ping times will be a bitch, but... /just kidding

This addresses a real problem... (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241953)

I've just recently seen a situation where a system like this would be a big help, specifically the "users shouldn't have to be root to connect common hardware" part.

My girlfriend has a laptop from work, a large company that enforces a "users don't get admin access to their machines" policy. Fine and dandy, until she brings the laptop over to my house and wants to print something on my printer. Whoops! No device driver for that particular kind of printer in the standard corporate install, and even though I have a CD with the driver sitting right there, we can't install it. So instead she gets to file a request with her company's IT department. It's low priority, so maybe a month from now they'll get around to loading the driver on her machine. (And we'll just keep our fingers crossed that they install the right driver and configure it correctly.)

Re:This addresses a real problem... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10241995)

if she can take the laptop home and what not, can't you boot up knoppix and remove the root pastword (copy it first) from the file after mounting the partition. Boot back in with root access, install the driver, and then replace the root password using knoppix again?

If they ask about it (.001% chance) just say that they installed it, don't they remember?

Same as Netbooting? (1)

worksucks371 (796619) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241957)

Wouldn't this be the same as apples Netbooting? I might of read the article wrong and such. It sounds very much so alike.

Drop a image down onto the local drive and boot off of it. So if it is the same, why would this be such a large task at hand? Since OS X is unix based, it seems it isn't that hard of a task.

Please forgive my ignorance on the topic, just going off of what I understand from the reading.

Dammit, not another PDF... (0, Offtopic)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 10 years ago | (#10241965)

Look, PDF is all well and good for some purposes, but this document is NOT one of them!

Really: this is a nine-page, all-text document, using only one font, and a tad of bold and italic.

A plain text file would have been adequate, and HTML just dandy.

Better yet, it wouldn't have taken 30+ seconds to loadthe freaking PDF Reader just to see that.

Re:Dammit, not another PDF... (1)

emidln (806452) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242206)

Preview loads instantly as far as I can tell. Maybe you should try a Powerbook G4 with OS X.

Innovation! (1, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242018)

Time and time again, I read about various advancements in Linux in this area or that. Most of the time it amounts to catching up to Mac and Windows or something else that has already been done elsewhere. And there's NOTHING wrong with it. If we want to be able to do something, we should be able to do it.

But the one thing [anti-linux] people keep saying is that Linux is all about being a copy-cat and nothing about innovation, new development new technologies or new ideas.

Recently, along with this and some other projects mentioned on Slashdot, I think there is a visible trend where people are actually starting to create "new things" and protoyping new ideas. Recall the idea of the database filesystem? Microsoft has been putting it on the back-burner for a VERY long time and now there is at least one open source project surrounding the idea. Now there's this fairly neat idea of making a Linux client made "pretty thin."

Frankly, I love the idea and am ready to build two more machines to test it out... one as the app server and the other as the client machine. Should be great fun!

Re:Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10242167)

New to you != New.

It's been done before in various renditions -- athena, sun's autofs, etc.

Good framework for future development (3, Insightful)

Monkius (3888) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242040)

I've been thinking about this way of doing things more and more since the appearance of Knoppix, FAI, Adios, and various cluster installation facilities--and clearly, so has Redhat.

Most importantly, this

1. avoids the absurdity of moving all processing, and indeed disk to a central server

2. focusses attention on development and maintenance of prototype installations for different types of machines

Some of the implementation techniques don't seem pleasant--but they're doing things in a way that appears forward-looking.

I look forward to seeing more of this.

Sounds like X terminals to me (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242128)

Not that its a bad idea, but its not revolutionary, as the story blurb seems to imply..

Actually its the only way to fly in an enterprise environment.. Get the PC back out of the users hands. Should never have given them to the users in teh first place.. 3270's for all!

sounds a lot like VAXcluster (1)

lophophore (4087) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242141)

The ability to boot multiple systems off the same device sounds a lot like VAXcluster technology.

Everything old is new again!

Plan 9? (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242238)

Sounds to me kind of like Plan 9. Im excited and it looks interesting. Cheers!

stackless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10242273)

Wouldn't it be even better if we had a stackless operating system?

Got to love stateless installs (4, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | more than 10 years ago | (#10242281)

Heh. I once made a stateless distro, based on Red Hat, on a hard drive. The intention was to use it as a car ogg player.

It had / mounted read-only. /var cannot be mounted read-only (needs /var/run, etc), so I mounted it as a 16M ramdisk, the contents of which was downloaded from /var.tgz at boot time. It worked splendid. Eventually, the slowest part of the boot process was waiting for the BIOS POST to finish.

You could power down the thing whenever the hell you liked and never see fsck run.

Syncing reminds me of dpkg --get-selections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10242327)

You know, dump list of packages, and then load back with --set-selections. No doubt that it will include other things, but about syncing software, I would go that way.
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