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Thread: How to run FreeNX server with PXE on Ubuntu using LTSP installation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Post How to run FreeNX server with PXE on Ubuntu using LTSP installation

    Hello. I have setup an ltsp server on ubuntu to work with a bunch of thin clieng machines without hard disk using PXE boot, but it was very high load for the network. With only four users where we experienced a lot of traffic, so i started looking for other ways to work.
    Here i tell my experience on this subject.

    The point is

    1) PXE boot to work on diskless stations
    2) FreeNX or other lightweight system.

    LTSP on ubuntu is very straightforward and is the first option to try. We install it by:

    sudo apt-get install ltsp-server-standalone
    Once we have it, the next step is to build our PXE image

    sudo ltsp-build-client --arch i386
    And then you have to edit the values on /etc/default/dhcp3-server and /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf

    we restart dhcpd with
    sudo /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server restart
    and we should have now everything working.

    Try it booting booting PXE on other computer. Remember, if you have another dhcp server on the LAN you will have problems. You can tell the other dhcp server to work toghether, but first avoid complex things.

    Once you have this working, we are going to modify our PXE image to use FreeNX instead of LTSP.

    Step 1: Installing FreeNX server on the computer.

    The way i used is the launchpad ppa repository. Follow instructions at

    Step 2: Download NX client.

    I use Nomachine NX Client. It work great. I like it. download it from
    Download the 32 bit version deb package and move it to /opt/ltsp/i386/root/

    Step 3: Chroot and installation of components.

    You have to work now inside the ltsp image, so we are going to chroot into:

    sudo chroot /opt/ltsp/i386/
    That will give us a root shell on /opt/ltsp/i386/ system.

    cd /root
    dpkg -i nxclient*.deb
    apt-get install openbox
    We have installed nomachine NX client and openbox
    now we are back and we have to do some things on the image dir.

    First, to avoid LTPS login manager to start we rename /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/rc2.d/S25ltsp-client-core to /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/rc2.d/s25ltsp-client-core

    Then we create our own /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/rc2.d/S25nxclient with this content:

    su - root -c 'PATH=$PATH:/usr/X11R6/bin startx'
    and make it executable with
    sudo chmod +x /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/rc2.d/S25nxclient
    and Third we chose our default X startup creating /opt/ltsp/i386/root/.xinitrc
    with this content:

    openbox &
    while true;
    So, then we rebuild the image with sudo ltsp-update-image

    Now boot again the PXE client and will show the NoMachine NX client on an X server.
    You are done!

    Well... almost. Some tweaks:

    1) Sound... install on the server the gstreamer0.10-esd and use the Enable Multimeda option on the NX client. The you have to configure gnome system to use ESD as sound.
    2) Gnome Themes are gone? Ok... annoying, you have to do this hack:

    3) PXE client starts with NX Client unconfigured? Yes... you have to create a configuration connecting the server and then you copy the .nx config dir from that user to /opt/ltsp/i386/root
    It's not perfect, but works.

    Well... hope someone find's it usefull. Here we made a very big change for our network with it. Clients run smooth and without eating all my ethernet links!

    See you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: How to run FreeNX server with PXE on Ubuntu using LTSP installation

    It is very interesting and fantastic one. we have configured it successfully with the help of steps given. I can able login in to the NX client.

    Here, Could we use tsclient instead of NX client? Because we are using windows 2003 terminal server. we tried to configure tsclient instead of NX client, but it required lot of dependencies. we didn't know whether the steps what we did were correct or not.

    It would be great support, if you help us. Thanks in advance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Re: How to run FreeNX server with PXE on Ubuntu using LTSP installation

    I know you posted this a while ago, but you can setup ltsp-cluster and specify rdp in the ltsp-cluster-configuration console. there is a how-to for cluster here Hope that helps, good luck.

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