An NC, connected to your local Network, most likely by a UTP connection , thus via a cross-cable or HUB connecting to an Server - in this case a Linux Box Basically the NC is Made to work with either AS/400 , Windows NT or AIX Servers. These are all expensive solutions, however working with thin clients doesnt have to cost that much. (Token Ring versions are also available)
The model I have at my disposal is an IBM Network Station model 8361-100, On the inside you can find an 403PPC chip, some S3 vga components, an PCMCIA slot, and normal 72 pin (parity ??) simms. I found 8+32 Mb in my edition.
Actually those 40Mb were major overkill. In full operation modes with lot's of configuration panels a couple of telnet sessions and a X -query open only took up about 4Mb of ram. ) So taking out the 32Mb showed absolutely no significant loss of speed.
Well, after working more with the Netstation, specially with Navio I found out Navio uses as much 27-30 Mb. So those 40 Mb`s really aren`t that much hoverkill
We proved it was no problem setting it up on a Linux only network. You'll need a server that can provide you both with about 25Mb of free diskspace for the software, and the capacities to run an X -query. In the setup overhere we used a 486DX50 with 8Mb as a fileserver and I switch between another 486DX266 (PS/2 85) with 32Mb, and my Multia with 48Mb as the X server Of course, the faster machines the better.
The new version comes with a new kernel and some changes in the applications. The kernel can now be downloaded as a compressed file which speeds up the process.
Starting with the Network Station 3.0, you need a new Boot Monitor or boot PROM (aka Firmware) with the version 3.0.x or later. Your NetworkStation won't work with a older boot PROM (aka Firmware) and the new Network Station 3.x kernel. If you buy a new NetworkStation, you always get one of the latest PROMs Older versions can be automatically updated from a boot server, from which the new boot PROM get's downloaded. (Could somebody please confirm me that these devices are the 110 versions with a PPC 403GC(X) in it !!!!)
There also is a new layout of the Setup Utility where you define you basic network settings of your Network Station.
The Netvista Clients (2200 and 2800) have been designed to run Linux natively, those thin clients are not based on PowerPC Chips but on an Intel Chipset therefore running linux on those devices is quite straightforward
NC kernel, fonts etc.
In order to boot the NC you will need its Kernel and fonts. About 25Mb of files are needed on the server. They can be found on an AIX 4.X with the Netstation modules installed. Or from the IBM Netstation Download Page
A working NFS server, like in every default Linux distribution. Approx 85Mb of diskspace has to be exported to the NC. (this includes a lot of documentation which you don't acutally need)
Any machine running XDM with enough memory, processor power will do. You don't need to have X configured on the machine itselve, it can be a head-less server. Basic X Windows install will provide you with the necessary deamons.
There is the possibility to run a local X11 server which may avoid some network traffic. The new version supports a standard X11 and a Motif X11 server. Using a configurable menu or by allowing telnet sessions you may access other computers/servers on the network.
You may also be able to export applications to your Netstation display withouth actually using XDM . You might want to run an extra window manager. This can be done by telnetting into the remote box and typing export DISPLAY=nc_ipnr:0 and afterwards running the application you want to use.
If you have multiple NC's, you may wish to distribute the IP Adresses by using a DHCP Server how to obtain and configure a DHCP server can be read in the DHCP Mini Howto on sunsite