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For a local scout group, I have been assigned the task to get some computers up and running. Requirements are:

  • Surfing the internet
  • Being able to print a few documents on their HP printer
  • They have 230V power but not internet or telephone in the building. 3G coverage is good.

Currently they have:

  • An IBM PS/2-50, which I have told them to get rid of
  • A PC with 128MB RAM and Windows XP without any service packs. It probably won't work with WinXP Service Pack 2.
  • Possibility to get some more PCs that are old and slow and have little RAM.
  • Money to buy max 1 stand-alone PC from new.

Note, that the local second-hand market sells PCs almost at the price of new PCs.

It is easy to get them online with 3G flat-rate modems, but the existing PC is too slow and if we get more PCs, they will probably also be slow.

I have thought about these solutions:

  • Some kind of small Linux distro, which fits well with 128MB RAM. But I am afraid it will not run OpenOffice well, and that it won't be compatible with 3G modems.
  • One big PC, maybe purchased from new, and then some remote desktop or X-clients on that PC. This means that only one PC needs to be online with the 3G modem.

The solution can be Linux, Windows, Mac or something completely different - as long as they can surf and print some notes. Any suggestions for configurations, software etc.?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

A Linux Terminal Server solution sounds like a good fit. You will need one reasonably powerful PC as the server, as you yourself suggested. Then network it with several cheap, old PCs and use these as Terminal clients. That should give good performance (except for graphics-heavy stuff like 3D apps and video), and you can reuse old hw.

See e.g. the Linux Terminal Server Project for information and HOWTOs.

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