I've spent the last 3 years on OS X and I'm contemplating taking a job as the only admin at an exclusively Linux based office - both server and desktop! - and I am feeling some dread at the proposition.
This doesn't help.
Bummer. For what it's worth, I can't run FF3 at work either due to version skew.
I wonder if you could offer your legions of internet fanboys an "internship" where they would come over and make your computers work.
On the other hand, running ancient Linux kinda fits in with the green-screen look of the place.
srsly, don't believe him when he says this is 'unhelpful' advice, he follows his advice in his 9-5 and since (to quote him) he builds shit that "doesn't break" it affords him so much free time he can do other gigs as well. I think the main reason he sez 'unhelpful' is because he needs to keep other people from realizing what a choice idea that is because then his sweet gigs might dry up.
l00n1x requiring huge amounts of timewaste on solved problems is like THE POINT/main feature. Like, the douche wrote a unix-clone from scratch, c'mon!
4 DAYS? z0mg, I can't stomach 4 minutes of linux troubleshooting these days, weighing the merits of filesystems that may or may not claim journaling as some revolutionary feature (can we please pay attention to actually interesting filesystem developments, it's like 2008).
Sorry this is turning into h8 on linux rant.
One OS X server could do the job, despite the showstarting premium.
With the 'unlimited clients license' it could serve the kiosks from within a sandbox of some kind, and then a second sandbox (or a user-grid right 'on the metal,' in any case one separate from the kiosks,) could serve the club's other computary needs, (just to pimp that single server license to the max.)
But it would not be free.
Free is defined in many ways it turns out, as I'm fond of saying - I'm all about the free software movement: I don't pay for software.
He could totally warez leopard server if he wanted.
That said, the choice to simply leave it as it is is fine too it's not expending more energy. While this was a while ago, my friend Bob Beck had a windows9x lab @ UofAlberta that would reimage nightly or on crash/reboot whichever came first - I mean some problems it's not worth addressing too much if you wipe clean and reinstall in an automated fashion. So the distro he's using is from 2003, it has a browser has much really changed that's worth caring about on a kiosk since then?
The hell with "free", it wouldn't be cheap.
I'd replace the kiosks with Mac Minis in a heartbeat if I could get them for $100 each (every six months, since that's how long I imagine they'd last in this environment).
apple tvs (used) are still double that price point at least and egads futzing with those to the point of making them usefully running OSX is a pain that almost makes your four days wasted seem reasonable, if you even had a connector you could hook up to your monitors (I'm guessing the hdmi on the newer appletvs is a waste since you presumably have vga in on the monitors).
OS X server could do the job
Quite possibly. But he already has a working server. It's the clients that are crashing...
or you ran dissociate.el on some lame ass forum.
You dismissed the idea of hardware problems (like bad RAM) in the earlier thread. But if it was crashing oddly before, and continuing to crash with new software, might it be worth checking? I don't imagine a night club is the ideal environment for maximizing mean time between failures.
I haven't run memtest lately, but I certainly did the last time I tried to diagnose their crashiness, and the problem was not bad RAM. The problem is almost certainly graphics driver related.
One can probably with a straight face characterize that as "hardware problems", i.e., "you're using onboard VIA graphics, ha ha ha." Or whatever chipset has fallen out of favor lately.
You may appreciate knowing that your old diskless Linux writeups are the basis for the diskless machines at my workplace (hundreds, if not thousands, of clients). We've had a bit more luck than you on more modern Linux, but only a bit :)
If it's in your budget, next time you care about this you might want to take a look at SunRays. They're nice little boxes, something like $200 each, and work with OpenSolaris (free) or RHEL (less free). The SunRay 150 (older model, built into a 15" LCD) goes for even less from the Unix Surplus people during DefCon. I'm fairly sure that the SunRay 2 (current cheap model, and the one I'm familiar with) will take even more abuse than the boxes you're using now since they're no-moving-parts, barely-smarter-than-a-KVM framebuffers.
That's actually not a terrible idea. Better still, Solaris, unlike Linux, has excellent documentation.
I do love my SunRays.
Even better, you could stick each thin client in it's own non native zone (read: lightweight VM) that looks like Linux. I think they support doing that.
Yup, see Branded Zones.
Oh yeah, and zfs rocks. Then, when it's done, it rocks some more.
Except when it runs out of memory and eats all your data. Or a LUN dissapears from your SAN for some reason and it kernel panics your box.
The biggest problem I've run into these days (with any of the "free" unix-likes) is that X continues to blow goats and its hardware drivers get more and more crashy over time.
To make a wildly unfounded assertion, I'd say jwz's problems are related to the X goobery - and that something like the SunRay hardware would be a nice panacea to avoid all that crap.