ASU West Library Introduces Linux-based Workstations

Returning Arizona State University West students were introduced to Linux-based workstations in the Fletcher Library on Monday. The Library has successfully completed a 14-month conversion project which includes the replacement of Microsoft Windows NT servers and clients with Linux. Scattered throughout the Library are 71 diskless workstations that are network booted.

The client custom disk image is locally stored on a workstation using a 1 gigabyte RAMdisk. Sixteen Linux servers drive all aspects of the Library IT operation. The library workstations offer ASU and non-ASU users access to Internet resources using the Mozilla browser, access to floppy, Zip 250, and network storage, two virtual desktops, Microsoft file viewer applications through the use of WINE, and a disk management tool. The workstations take advantage of network PXE booting and receive a clean disk image into RAM. The workstations utilize Kerberos authentication and LDAP directory services for accounts. Since the disk image is in memory, once the power is dropped to a workstation, all footprints are erased. When the workstation starts up, a clean image is served to the workstation. The ASU West Library plans to use this architecture as a launch pad for creating open source library solutions for the library industry.