Turning old computers into Chrome web kiosks with LTSP

Background

The school districts I support have tens of thousands of dollars invested in student workstations, many of which are well beyond their refresh cycle. Funding trickles in, but well behind the 1:1 student computing initiatives that administrators push for.

The aging machines still physically work, but most of them:

  • Run end-of-life Windows XP, and are not ready for Windows 8.1;
  • Cost more to maintain than the cost of replacement;
  • Don’t need to run local software the way they did in mid-2000s.

Students these days, more often than not, just need a way to get online. Most curriculum and learning apps are web-based, and with Google Apps or Office 365, even productivity comes through a browser. The era of myriad local client software has ended, and those use cases which require specialized software have become the exception instead of the rule. This brings a lot of attractiveness to a simple way to turn these older computers into lean web kiosks. Enter LTSP.

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