Check out the new USENIX Web site.

USENIX Home . About USENIX . Events . membership . Publications . Students
LISA '03 — Abstract

The Realities of Deploying Desktop Linux

Bevis R. W. King, Prof. Roger Webb, and Dr. Graeme Wilford, University of Surrey


The School of Electronics and Physical Sciences has developed and deployed a Linux-based Desktop solution with thousands of users across many hundreds of machines. We have successfully delivered this solution across the whole range of staff and students within a large organization. It has reduced per-desktop support issues to a minimum and given a stable, reliable, up-to-date and flexible environment to our user community. What's more, it also provides Windows.

Our second generation variant is now deployed, and a third generation is in development. We've based our work on standard distributions and software tools and achieved a number of key objectives:

  • Zero intervention network-based installation
  • Full Remote Administration including complete unattended re-install
  • Dataless clients with no need to back them up
  • Extremely configurable: extensive support for different peripherals, varying software installations, and diverse hardware
  • Automatic updating of all software: multiple simultaneous technologies providing a flexible solution
  • Centralized authentication and authorization
  • Exceptional levels of user choice: Linux, Windows and Hybrid environment

Our environment is based upon RedHat Linux 7.3, Ximian GNOME 1.4 and VMware 3.2 providing Windows NT 4.0. Our first generation environment was based upon RedHat Linux 6.2, Ximian GNOME 1.2 and VMware 2.0 providing Windows NT 4.0. This paper discusses those technologies we have have deployed with particular focus on the implications of each choice made. All of the scripts mentioned will be available as a tarball from our web site to aid others.

  • View the full text of this paper in HTML or PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until October 2004, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2003 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.

To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 7 Nov. 2003 aw
Technical Program
LISA '03 Home