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we want to use a custom linux distro over the internet with Gui for some simple tasks (mainly writing running simple python programs) and not something very computationally intensive.

At its peak the system could be used from 150 people max.

Is there any way to make something like that work? E.g. something like amazon's cloudfront but in a local server implementation.

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migrated from superuser.com Jul 25 '12 at 17:42

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When you say "over the internet", what kinds of speeds are available? If it's on a local network (i.e. 10/100/1000MBit LAN) then something simple like VNC may work; if it's over the general internet, you'll probably want to use something like X forwarding (mentioned below) which is much more efficient. –  Li-aung Yip Feb 20 '12 at 15:06

3 Answers 3

Running that many sessions simultaneously is going to take some pretty serious hardware, and tradeoffs need to be made. Don't forget that amazon has pretty much an entire cluster of servers set up to run together.

One tradeoff is efficiency of your network usage (where nx is better) over processor use (where simple x forwarding is better).LTSP is one option but you'll need sufficient ram for all these graphical sessions - LTSP/ubuntu recommends a quad processor system with a gig of ram for THREE clients, though what you'd need, practically would likely be significantly less, depending on the setup and usage patterns.

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It is the base system of LTSP that uses that gigabyte. 2GB would run those 200 clients easily. –  ZaB Feb 21 '12 at 21:30

X11 provides such access. Maybe NX would use less bandwidth.

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You mean X forwarding? It's horrible. ;) –  Li-aung Yip Feb 20 '12 at 15:05
    
Why is it horrible? I have no experience with it. Probably it will be over the internet. I guess I have to go with something scalable like cloudfront? –  noisentropic Feb 20 '12 at 16:15
    
What forwarding? I mean direct XDMCP access.... –  ZaB Feb 21 '12 at 21:26

If your Users already have ssh access, simply using ssh with x forwarding should suffice in many cases.

If not, you may want to check out x2go: http://www.x2go.org/

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