Running ThinLinc on a Thinstation terminal¶
The Thinstation project is an opensource thin client Linux distribution that can be booted in many different ways, including entirely over the network on diskless machines and via a LiveCD.
A client package for ThinStation is shipped as part of the ThinLinc client distribution. In this section, we will document how to use and configure this package with Thinstation.
To run the ThinLinc client in ThinStation, you need ThinStation version 2.2 or later. However, on ThinStation version 2.4 and later, the ThinLinc client will be downloaded automatically during the build process. Thus the download procedure is only needed for ThinStation 2.2. However, the configuration step is needed for both 2.2 and 2.4.
There are two alternative methods of getting a Thinstation image with the ThinLinc client included. The first one is to use one of the TS-O-Matic servers available. They allow you to build Thinstation images online, and should generally have the ThinLinc client available as an option. The TS-O-Matic servers are available from the Thinstation webpages. The second is to download the Thinstation distribution, add the ThinLinc client package and then configure and build a Thinstation image manually. This requires access to a Linux box.
Below, we will describe the second method
Installing and Building the Package¶
Begin by downloading and unpacking the Thinstation main distribution available from the Thinstation webpages.
Enter the Thinstation directory created while unpacking, and unpack the
ThinLinc Thinstation client package, found in the
client-thinstation directory in the Client Bundle, into this
$ tar zxvf tl-x.y.z-rel-client-thinstation.tar.gz
This will unpack files into the
packages/thinlinc directory, as
well as the file
README.thinlinc which contains some summarized
information on the package.
build.conf and add a line
package thinlinc in the
build script and wait for its completion.
If everything went well, there will now be Thinstation images available
boot-images directory. Use the appropriate boot image for
your preferred boot method.
Configuring the ThinLinc client when running on a Thinstation Terminal¶
When running on a network-booted Thinstation terminal, the client is
configured by adding statements to the configuration file that is
downloaded at boot by Thinstation. The default name of this file is
thinstation.conf.network, located in your tftproot. There can
also be other filenames that configures specific terminals based on
their IP or hardware (MAC) addresses.
For the ThinLinc client to appear at all, a Thinstation “session” must
be created. This is done by adding a few lines to the
thinstation.conf.network file. Here’s an example:
SESSION_0_TYPE=thinlinc SESSION_0_THINLINC_SERVER=tl.example.com SESSION_0_THINLINC_OPTIONS="-u johndoe" SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_NFS_SERVER_ENABLED=0
The above example will make the ThinLinc appear on the display of the
client after boot. It will set the servername to
it will reset the username field. It will also disable export of local
drives. See below for information on enabling local drives on
All standard client options can be added to the
SESSION_0_THINLINC_OPTIONS variable. For example, to lock down the
server field, add
Configuration using the Client Configuration File¶
Some of the features of the ThinLinc client can’t be configured via command line options. Instead, the configuration file must be altered. To allow features such as local drive and sound redirection to work when running on Thinstation, the ThinLinc client package for Thinstation has features for altering the configuration file on the client.
To alter the configuration file, add statements on the form
SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_<configuration file variable name>
= <value> to
thinstation.conf.network. An example follows:
Enabling Sound and Local Drive Redirection¶
If the hardware running Thinstation has support for it and the correct
sound and disk device modules has been loaded, the ThinLinc client will
be able to support sound and local drive redirection. The following
configuration lines in
thinstation.conf.network will enable
sound redirection and local drive redirection for USB storage devices:
SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_NFS_EXPORTS=/mnt/usbdevice,rw,/mnt/cdrom,ro SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_NFS_SERVER_ENABLED=1 SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_SOUND_ENABLED=1 SESSION_0_THINLINC_CONFIG_NFS_ROOT_WARNING=0
Avoiding Question about Server Host Key¶
When running on a device with non-volatile storage, such as a hard disk, the ThinLinc client stores the public part of the ssh host key of the ThinLinc client the first time it connects to the server after asking the user to verify the fingerprint of the key. At subsequent connects, this copy is used to verify that the client is connecting to the correct server.
When running on a diskless Thinstation host, the key can be stored only in volatile memory (on a RAM disk), so the client will ask the user to verify the fingerprint once each time the client has been rebooted. Since its normal behaviour to reboot a Thinstation terminal once a day, this will lead to a confusing situation for users, not to mention that it will decrease security.
To solve this problem, the ThinLinc client package for Thinstation tries
to download a file name
ssh_known_hosts from the tftproot. If it
exists it will be used as database of known hostkeys on the client.
To create this file, login with the client to the ThinLinc server, using
the same servername as the one that will be configured on the clients.
Then copy the file