what's ideal config for high school science lab?

what's ideal config for high school science lab?

Post by Timothy D. Wilso » Fri, 27 Feb 1998 04:00:00



Hi everyone,

Please excuse a rather long post, but I would appreciate some feedback
about setting up a computer lab. First some background..

Like most high schools we don't have the money in our budgets to buy the
technology tools that would be really great for our classes. Our school
in particular is having budget problems. Anyway, as I become familiar
with Linux it is obvious that there may be a solution to part of our
problem.

Many businesses are willing to donate old equipment, but it's usually a
generation or two old and not capable of running the latest software. It
occurs to me that the 486 that won't run Win95 very well would make a
great Linux box. I think I could probably scrounge up a number of
computers of that vintage to create a science department computer lab.

Our school currently runs a Novell network. We have network jacks in all
of our classrooms, but very few computers to plug in. Ethernet
connection would give us T1 access to the internet plus access to the
resources of our media center. These machines would be the only Linux
machines in our LAN/WAN.

Now, assuming a lab of 20 workstations with at least one higher end PC
(P200+, 64 MB RAM, 7 GB hd, etc.) here are the questions:

1.  What would you consider the minimum specs for the other computers in
the lab? Specifically processor, RAM, hd size, etc. I would like to run
X for Netscape and other graphical apps including StarOffice or the
equivalent.

2.  Can the Pentium machine be a server for the other computers and
reduce the size of the hard disks that are necessary?

3.  Would a few serial terminals be of any use in this case? Perhaps
non-X-based apps could be run that way.

4.  Most of the students using such a lab would probably have Windows95
computers at home. Is basic file compatibility possible? I haven't
gotten to that point yet with my own Win95/Linux config at home.

5.  Is it possible to install Linux over a Novell network onto the other
computers? This would eliminate the need for CD-ROM drives on the
workstations. I guess a parallel port CD-ROM drive could be used.

6.  Is there anyone else out there who has performed a similar feat and
would be willing to correspond about the experience?

Thanks for your patience. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hanging loose,
Tim

--
Timothy D. Wilson                    "A little song, a little dance,
Henry Sibley High School              a little seltzer down your pants."
1897 Delaware Ave, W St. Paul, MN          -Chuckles the Clown as

 
 
 

what's ideal config for high school science lab?

Post by Roy Stogn » Sat, 28 Feb 1998 04:00:00



>1.  What would you consider the minimum specs for the other computers in
>the lab? Specifically processor, RAM, hd size, etc. I would like to run
>X for Netscape and other graphical apps including StarOffice or the
>equivalent.

I would feel comfortable with 486/66,16 MB RAM, 300 MB HDD.

Quote:>2.  Can the Pentium machine be a server for the other computers and
>reduce the size of the hard disks that are necessary?

Yes; I would install only necessary software on the other computers,
and keep /home entirely on the server.

Quote:>3.  Would a few serial terminals be of any use in this case? Perhaps
>non-X-based apps could be run that way.

Depends what you want the terminals to be used for.  I'm reading news
and typing this on a text terminal, for example.

Quote:>4.  Most of the students using such a lab would probably have Windows95
>computers at home. Is basic file compatibility possible? I haven't
>gotten to that point yet with my own Win95/Linux config at home.

It's possible, and not very difficult.  Linux can read DOS/Windows
floppies just fine, you can make students' files available via FTP or
WWW access, and so on.  If you're dual booting, Linux will read FAT,
VFAT, and FAT32 drives fine.

Quote:>5.  Is it possible to install Linux over a Novell network onto the other
>computers? This would eliminate the need for CD-ROM drives on the
>workstations. I guess a parallel port CD-ROM drive could be used.

It will be possible... but almost certainly not easy.  Of course, if
you install Linux on the server first, you can install on the rest of
the computers fine from that.
---
Roy Stogner

 
 
 

what's ideal config for high school science lab?

Post by Stephen Joseph Poll » Sun, 01 Mar 1998 04:00:00



: >5.  Is it possible to install Linux over a Novell network onto the other
: >computers? This would eliminate the need for CD-ROM drives on the
: >workstations. I guess a parallel port CD-ROM drive could be used.
:
: It will be possible... but almost certainly not easy.  Of course, if
: you install Linux on the server first, you can install on the rest of
: the computers fine from that.
I know that RedHat has option of using NFS to install, so you could set up
one linux server using CDrom and then have it export the CDrom using NFS
then you take a small install disk to each of the smaller machines and
have them use NFS to read the CDrom. Other distributions might also have
this NFS install option.
Good Luck!

 
 
 

what's ideal config for high school science lab?

Post by Horst Knoblo » Mon, 02 Mar 1998 04:00:00




[...]

Quote:> Now, assuming a lab of 20 workstations with at least one higher end PC
> (P200+, 64 MB RAM, 7 GB hd, etc.) here are the questions:

> 1.  What would you consider the minimum specs for the other computers in
> the lab? Specifically processor, RAM, hd size, etc. I would like to run
> X for Netscape and other graphical apps including StarOffice or the
> equivalent.

486DX50, 16MB RAM, 10MBit Ethernet, HD 60MB Swap Partition,
100 MB /tmp. Maybe you can even run a 386 as X-Terminal.

BTW: I have a 486DX2/66, 32 MB RAM, 24MB Swap, while I'm
typing this reply I have running fvww2, xclock, xeyes,
xosview, 5 xterms doing
find / -name core -print; find / -name Rumpelstilschen -print
1 xterm is compiling a new kernel, another xterm doing top,
2 xemacs, 4 Netscapes, knews, tkDesk, tkman, I'm also online
to fetch my new mail (no packets dropped).
Ooops, I just run out of swap space and what happens -
nothing harmful, Linux has stopped the kernel compiling
because there is no more virtual memory available.

That's why I use Linux. :-)))

( Ok, I've to admit that now the things under X don't
respond as you might expect, but I can still use this
editor and type this very reply)

Quote:> 2.  Can the Pentium machine be a server for the other computers and
> reduce the size of the hard disks that are necessary?

Yes, I think you should use it as a file server for all other
machines and don't forget a backup device. I would keep
on the other machines only the root filesystem (at most),
the other stuff I would distribute via the Network by the
Network File System (NFS).

However if you want to run StarOffice/Netscape you should go
for another High-End Pentium machine. I would dedicate this
machine for remote logins from the 486 machines to run the
bloatware like StarOffice and Netscape.
Doing this, you can keep the resources of your other machines
low.

For the High-End PCs I would choose Motherboards who support
more than 64MB RAM, because I would go for 128MB.

Quote:> 3.  Would a few serial terminals be of any use in this case? Perhaps
> non-X-based apps could be run that way.

Maybe you can use this antique stuff as a kind of console for
your pentium servers. This will give some nostalgic feelings. :-)

4.
5.
[snip]

Quote:> 6.  Is there anyone else out there who has performed a similar feat and
> would be willing to correspond about the experience?

I'm no network expert nor have I done anything of the above
before. However I believe that's a rough overview how
the your problem could be solved.

I think even with the help from the Web/Usenet you will
have to put in quite some time to get everyting running
smoothly. :-(

Bye, Horst

--
Horst Knobloch                "Night people don't get sunburns"