Friday, December 19, 2008

Using Virtualbox to text LTSP

After the recent training, I am sure many of you want to try out LTSP in your computers, but as I had stressed in the training you atleast need two computers to do the testing and I doubt the availability of two computers for most of you. So to solve this problem and help you practice and understand LTSP better, I am writing this small manual on how to use virtualbox (Open Source Virtualization Software) to practice both client and server. Ok, I am assuming that those wanting to use the manual have idea about creating a guest machine and giving it all the resources needed to boot Linux in it. If any of you have not yet used Virtualbox or for that matter any virtualization software please check out ( it has the manual and the installation file for both Linux and Windows. Please not that the tutorial that i am writing works on Linux and Windows alike.

So starting on the process,

  • assuming that you have completed the normal installation of an Ubuntu Box as a guest OS, mount the ISO or the DVD given to you as the CDROM and open up synaptic.

  • In synaptic go to Setting->Repositories->Third party Software and add CDROM. It will take few seconds and add your CDROM to the repo. Go back to First tab and uncheck all the checkboxes so that you dont end up searching the net for necessary packages. Next close the repositories window, reload and install ltsp-server-standalone and all its dependencies.

  • Assuming that the all the packages are installed nicely, lets set the IP for the server, if you remember it has to be to use the already installed dhcpd.conf file in ubuntu. Now lets open a terminal and first restart the networking, then the dhcp3-server and finally the tftpd-hpa services to verify all the services are working.

  • Now next step is to build the client in your guest OS. As in the training we use the command, ltsp-build-client, the only thing different will be the location of mirror. i.e, the command will be 'sudo ltsp-build-client --mirror file:///cdrom --security-mirror file:///cdrom'. As you all know that this takes sometime to complete.

  • After finishing the command and compressing the image files, please shutdown the server. If you are wondering why, then the reason is to setup a new networking for your virtual systems. Ok when your guest OS shutdowns, open the Network setting for your server and then go to your first adapter. In there you will see, the attached to drop down box, change it to internal network and name it ltsp. What this will do is setup an internal network where you can broadcast all your network services for the client attached to that network to be served.

  • So next you boot the server, check all the services for its functioning and then create new system, Guest OS, with no HDD, a decent ram of 128MB+, and put it to boot from network. next in its network tab, again choose internal network and select ltsp for attached to option. After this you are done, boot the client in the internal network and you will be booting to a ltsp server you setup.

In this way you can try out and practice the installation, customization of the ltsp system using one computer and virtualbox. I hope this helps. Do write in if you have any problem, and i would also like to encourage you to try out internet if you face any problem than blindly writing to ask for help. :-).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2nd LTSP Training of Trainers conducted

The LTSP Training of trainers conducted last year (15 - 16 December, '07) was very fruitful and since then we have done quite many e-library deployments. But the pace of deployments needed to be increased to meet the dream of 1 e-library per district in quick span. So, the need of second round of LTSP Training of Trainers (ToT) was felt. And, this time it was going to be better for sure, as we have now our own Training and Research Centre at Brihaspati Vidya Sadan.
Since, we already have LTSP experts at Pulchowk Engineering Campus and KU, we decided that it would be better if a session was conducted for them separately while allowing others to attend a general ToT.
A 1 day LTSP ToT was planned for students of Pulchowk Engineering Campus. Applications were asked from students of 1st year to 3rd year. Though the students had very short span to submit the application, there were nearly 75 applications. Each of them very competitive. But the final list could not include more than 24 (who were selected on the basis of application form that had some general queries). The training was conducted for students of Pulchowk Campus on 6 December '08. The students were instructed by Shishir Jha, Bibek Shrestha, Jitendra Harlalka and Suraj Sapkota. Some of the IOEians who were participants in 1st LTSP ToT (some of them have even deployed an e-library since then) volunteered during the event. Some of the enthusiasts were quick enough to try the technology on their system the same evening.
In the meanwhile, a notice was floated in FOSS-Nepal mailing list along with college coordination mailing list for a LTSP ToT for students of colleges (well, it could include professionals as well) other than Pulchowk Campus and KU. The response to this ToT was even greater. And, everyone wanted themselves to be accomoted in the final list. The final list saw 21 applicants and a teacher each from school in Bara, Lamjung and Chitwan. The three districts are the ones that are soon to have e-liberaries.
This ToT was a two day event (13-14 December '08).
Mr. Arun Basnet, President, Help Nepal Network, Nepal Chapter, Mr. Rama Nath Shrestha, Educational Co-ordinator, Help Nepal Network, Mr. Pravin Raj Joshi, Owner, Brihaspati Vidya Sadan were present during the opening session on 13 December. They briefly spoke about the e-library cause for the upliftment of rural Nepal.
The session was followed by a speech by
Mr. Subir Pradhanang, President, FOSS Nepal Community. He highlighted about the need of FOSS in Nepalese context and how Open Source projects like LTSP are helping the national cause.

This was immediately followed by technical sessions. The sessions on 13th dealt with Linux and networking basics besides the overview of working of LTSP system. On 14th, the participants practiced LTSP system in pair. Then, there were advanced Linux topics like scripting and regular expressions. The technical sessions were conducted by Shishir Jha, Bibek Shrestha, Jitendra Harlalka, Manish Modi and Suraj Sapkota.
After technical sessions, Mr. Rama Nath Shrestha spoke about the e-library contents and the need to work on producing good quality localized contents. He, then, shared a video of works by Help Nepal Network. The day ended with some group photographs.

The participants of LTSP ToT for Pulchowk Campus and some of the participants of 1st LTSP ToT volunteered during the event for gaining further expertise.

Students of KU are planning to have a LTSP ToT session soon after their exams are over or at the beginning of a new semester.

The participants of LTSP ToT for Pulchowk Campus were:
Ajay Raj Rijal
Anil Raj Bajracharya
Madhu Sudan Sigdel
Nitesh Pandey
Raj Kumar Tripathee
Sabin Prasad Kafle
Barshaa Paudel
Bijay Limbu
Ganesh Tiwari
Kailash Budhathoki
Kusum Adhikari
Mahesh Shakya
Manish Lal Das
Priya Agrawal
Sanjaya Subedi
Bikram Adhikari
Jnaneshwar Bohara
Kishoj Bajracharya
Raju K.C.
Rojee Sunuwar
Sanjana Bajracharya
Sanjeev KC
Shristi Nhuchhe Pradhan
Suvash Sedhain

The participants of general LTSP ToT were:
Rohit Sigdel, Network Admin, The British School
Anil Dharel, Prime College
Dhirendra Thapaliya, Prime College
Pramod Bhandari, NCIT
Nitesh Rijal, NCIT
Shiva Ram Shrestha, NCIT
Sagar Chhetri, General Secretary, FOSS Chitwan
Pratik Acharya, Ahwaan
Deepak Adhikari, Ahwaan
Sanjay Bajracharya, Kantipur Engineering College
Dipesh Shakya, Kantipur Engineering College
Shyam Prajapati, Kantipur City College
Ananda KC, Amrit Scient College
Sulabh Khanal, Informatics College
Anal Kumar Pradhan, St. Xaviers' College
Sajjan Acharya, Advanced Engineering College
Ram Prasad Kusi, Advanced Engineering College
Bipin Bhattarai, Advanced Engineering College
Santosh Dahal, Advanced Engineering College
Pradhumna Ghimire, Advanced Engineering College
Sharad Chandra Parajuli, Adarsh Secondary School, Chitwan
Bikash Adhikari, Sanskriti, Sadan Secondary School, Lamjung
Kishori Lal Ram, Bhola Secondary School, Bara

Check the link for details on LTSP ToT for IOEians:

Please find the photos of the event at

Photo Courtesy: Anil Dharel, Prime College.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Installing etherboot in USB flash drive

There are a lot of tutorials on the internet on how to make a bootable USB flash disk on linux system, unfortunately a lot of them didn't work for me. The following process explains the steps i took to get myself a bootable usb drive.

Most of the steps here is taken (copy paste) from the Damn Small Linux wiki page at

Before starting with the tutorial, please backup all your files into a harddrive.

  • Begin by determining the location of your flash drive. It will be something like /dev/sda
   fdisk -l
  • Check your syslinux version and upgrade it if you want FAT32 support. (Syslinux 2.11 works for FAT16; Syslinux 3.35 works for FAT32) Compile & install the latest syslinux from ( in the EU go to
  • If you need to wipe the MBR on the Flash Disk, do it with a command like below. This shouldn't be necessary unless there's another funky bootloader in the MBR (like, if you were experimenting with another bootable USB linux distro).


Replace sdX with the path to your USB drive

   dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1

Then install and put another MBR in its place. The ubuntu repo has ms-sys so it can be easily installed

   sudo aptitude install ms-sys
ms-sys -s /dev/sdX
  • Run fdisk on /dev/sdX, so it looks like this:
    Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdX1 * 1 1021 253177 b W95 FAT32

Use d to delete existing partitions until none remain. Use n,p,1 to create a new primary partition. Use a to make it bootable. Use t,b to make it W95 FAT32. Don't forget to hit 'a' to make it bootable!

Use 'w' to save the changes and exit

Incase you dont see a /dev/sdX1 file, remove the USB and reinsert it.

  • Create a FAT16 or FAT32 partition on the pendrive: ("-F 32" will create a FAT32 partition; "-F 16" will make a FAT16 one)
 mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdX1
  • Mount the pendrive & unzip the file onto this.
  • Unmount the pendrive
  • Next use syslinux to make it bootable, also syslinux is in the ubuntu repo
 sudo aptitude install syslinux
syslinux -s /dev/sdX1

This should give you a bootable usb disk, to install etherboot in the usb, we need the kernel.
  • Download the kernel file from,
  • Make sure you select the LILO/GRUB/SYSLINUX loadable kernel format (.zlilo)
  • Mount the disk
 mount /dev/sdX1 /media/disk
  • Copy the downloaded etherboot file to mount in a dos filename format, eg linux
 cp ./eb-5.4.3-rtl8139.zlilo /media/disk 
  • Create a syslinux.cfg configuration file in the USB flash disk
 echo "default linux" > /media/disk/syslinux.cfg
There will now be three files inside /media/disk,
 ls /media/disk
ldlinux.sys linux syslinux.cfg
  • Thats it, unmount the disk and it should be ready.
 umount /media/disk

Friday, January 4, 2008


Prabin (ओपन ठिटो) has uploaded photos of LTSP TOT. Have a look..

I think the photos are from Roshendra dai's camera. Thank you both Prabin and Roshendra dai..

Saturday, December 15, 2007

LTSP Training of Trainers: Day 1

LTSP Training of Trainers finally kicked off today.

It was a cold morning, but everybody was on time. The excitement was simply overwhelming. The program was supposed to start at 9:30am, but you know, some technical difficulties and yadee yadee yadaa, the program finally started at 10:30am! But so far so good, we shortened the initial FOSS and LTSP intro stuffs, and we were back on track..

The trainers and the gonna-be-trainers

Today it was all about Linux fundamentals more than LTSP stuffs. So according to schedule, it was Linux installation, some fundamentals on shell and linux commands and brief Linux networking stuffs. But since the selection of the participants was based on their Linux expertise too, it wasn't hard to make them understand. Some of them were even already familiar with the stuffs that were on the topic.

We all know one single day is not enough to understand even the fundamentals of Linux, but hope it gave the trainees a good snapshot of everything. Hope they're gonna practice more of it at home too..

Hope it was a great start for the first day. Tomorrow we're gonna go into the real LTSP stuffs.. Good luck everybody! It's gonna be fun..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

LTSP Training of Trainers on Saturday and Sunday

We've already selected around 25 eager volunteers for the upcoming LTSP Training of Trainers. The training session will primarily focus on techinical details of Linux/LTSP system like setting up the hardware, setting up the softwares, the basics of Linux system.

Besides, we'd be setting up an e-Library with contents collected uptill now.

The primary motive is to gather a pool of volunteers who will continue the deployment activities in various rural parts of Nepal. Thus the title, Training of Trainers, we hope the volunteers will become trainers in future deployments.

Happy hacking/learning LTSP to all selected candidates!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flash Player, msttcorefonts, java, freemind

A) Flash Player
Flash player in the repository didn't install flash player by default because, adobe updated their flash player and the default package gave checksum error.

I followed the ubuntuforums link here

And downloaded the new .deb file from

It installed beautifully.

B) MS core true type font
sudo aptitude install msttcorefonts

C) Sun JRE
sudo aptitude install sun-java6-jre

D) Freemind
Its a nice software, although i haven't used it ;-). Installation is pretty easy, dowload the .deb file from sourceforget link here

downloaded the freemind_0.8.0-1_all.deb
sudo aptitude install freemind_0.8.0-1_all.deb

Everything happily works