One of the services that many public libraries provide is computer access, both for local applications and access to Internet services. The Wendell Free Library provides these services with thin Linux workstations. These workstations provide a web browser (Firefox), for access to web sites of all sorts and also provide a number of local applications, including an office suite (OpenOffice), plus several other applications, including a movie player (MPlayer), an image editing program (GIMP), and a large collection of games.
Using thin clients reduces energy costs, creates a uniform environment that only needs to be updated in one place, on the server, and quieter operation. This article describes the setup and configuration of these thin clients at the Wendell Free Library and covers the step-by-step process of setting up the server and the client machines and includes the process from installing the base system on the server to configuring the PXE boot process to user authentication and management.