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[ale] Best Desktop Env or Distro for Windows users?

I haven't had a chance to determine how much memory a KDE 3.03 session uses
for subsequent users, but if memory serves (I'm in the middle of a clean
GCC-3.2-based install right now) think the first user uses about 120MB of
RAM, so unless each workstation has at *least* 128MB, you're in swap just
from the Desktop environment.

With KDE 2.2.2, I believe each additional user used an additional 10-12 MB
(or somewhere around there) of RAM, so for 53 users, you'd need about 768MB
of server RAM just for the KDE sessions.  If you created a big&bad server,
with say 3 or 4 GB of RAM, providing KDE sessions for the users should not
be a problem.

IceWM, on the other hand, only takes about 1 or 2 MB for the first session,
less for each additional, so obviously uses much less of the servers
resources.  You can use a file manager with IceWM to provide 'desktop
icons', which is the only 'real' benefit I can see.  Yes, KDE has lots of
eye-candy, but for professional business use, most of that eye-candy
actually takes *away* from productivity.  Once people get used to the fact
that they don't have it and aren't gonna get it, they just sigh, and accept
it - and wind up being more productive because theyaren't wasting their time
playing around with the eye-candy.

5 really great benefits of LTSP are:

1) Adding (or replacing) a new workstation is simply a matter of adding a
bootNIC to a machine and setting upi the dhcpd.conf and lts.conf files.

2) Old hardware works *very* well as an LTSP w/s - even a 486 with 8MB of

3) Adding or Subtracting Users is simply a matter of creating (or deleting)
them on the Server.  Once the User is created, they can log into any
workstation on the network.

4) Backing up User data is really simply - all you need to do is backup
/home on the server.

5) Unless a User is running something that is majorly CPU or memory
intensive, everything will run really fast on each workstation (even faster
than on a standalone system in many cases), because all the shared libraries
are already in memory.  OpenOffice.org comes up almost instantaneously -
same for Mozilla, etc.


>>> From: John Wells [mailto:jb at sourceillustrated.com]
>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 9:18 AM
>>> As I mentioned in a previous email, I've talked my site
>>> manager into exploring Linux for site-wide desktop
>>> deployment.
>>> As most (53 of 55) users here are strictly Windows users,
>>> I'd like to hear some opinions on what the best desktop
>>> env./distro is for *complete* Linux/Unix newbies.  What's
>>> the most stable?  Easiest to use?  Most intuitive?

>> Depends:
>> If you are the sysadmin, I would use Gentoo.  The
>> installation, configuration and setup are not nearly as
>> 'easy' as the other mainstream distros, but once its up
>> and running, its more stable and far easier to maintain.
>> Also, again, I *highly* recommend setting up a little
>> pilot LTSP setup, and show him how fast the workstations
>> are, and then explain to him how much easier it will be
>> to maintain one or two servers, as opposed to 53
>> individual workstations.
>> As for the Desktop environment, again in my opinion,
>> simpler is better - I really like IceWM.  It is
>> extraordinarily fast, very stable, simple to configure,
>> and *very* easy on the resources.  Running IceWM
>> instead of KDE, you'd have no problem with running all
>> 53 workstations off of one server.
>> The *only* problem here is there is no ebuild for LTSP
>> yet, so you'd have to do some fiddling to make it work.
>> Just my opinion...
>> Charles

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