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Old 16th December 2009
Greg_Morgan Greg_Morgan is offline
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Question Remote desktop & terminal independence

Hi.

I am a Unix newbie and I need your help for a pet project. I would appreciate if you could help.

I currently have one OpenBSD server at home that runs 4.6 stable. The machine has 80GB hard disk space. I have user accounts for my family members on that machine. I want to know as to how I can operate this machine without working on the console.

(i.e) I want a terminal in the living room and a terminal each in the kid's rooms. They would access the Unix box remotely. I do not have any spare machines/ laptops. I cannot run wires and hence am looking for
a wireless option. I do not want to buy a laptop and then wipe it for BSD.

Can I buy some diskless units and connect to my "server"?

This is the setup I am imagining.

I have a Keyboard+mouse+monitor+speakers+microphone unit in the living room. I turn it on and the machine asks me for my login id & password. I type those in and I get a graphical desktop. I create my documents and save it. Then I log out. The files that I created are on the "central server" and I can access them from the console or from the kid's rooms. I do not want to store any of my files on the local "terminal" for I would have to "hunt" for my files in each of the workstations I use.

With this arrangement, I do not have to share my desktop/console with anybody. The kids can be in their room, listen to music, browse the net while claiming they are doing homework etc.

The advantages to me are:
a) OS patching and upgrade are at one place and easy to accomplish.
b) Software package install & upgrade is easy
c) Virus scans easy. (I use F-prot)
d) Files are in one place and hence easy to find.
e) I can make enhancements to improve security without affecting end user experience. eg. router config, firewall config, proxy setup etc.

My questions are:

a) Is this dream reasonable?

b) What do I need to buy as terminals?

c) How do I "boot" my terminals? Is this where PXE comes?

d) What do I need to do to OpenBSD setup to accomplish this?

Thanks in advance.
-gm
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