LTSP Package GUI

What is LTSP?

LTSP is the Linux Terminal Server Project. The package is designed to let you use a diskless system as a network-booted X Terminal.

It's capable of a lot more.

What else can I do with LTSP?

It can be used as the basis of a pretty fully functional diskless node, similar to SUN SparcStations of the late 80s.

The advantage of using LTSP as a diskless node, instead of as an X-Terminal is that the processing is now done on the client, instead of the server. This lets you build larger networks.

And What's the glitch

Building a complete Linux distro is a lot of work. There's lots of packages and lots of dependencies to track. Just building the LTSP system can take a full day on a 1.6Ghz machine. (And a lot longer on a slow box.)

Adding new packages to the LTSP build is fairly simple, but can take several steps, and a lot of backtracking until you get the build parameters correct.

A GUI To Help

I needed to add a bunch of new applications to LTSP, including things like WINE that had other dependencies.

The GUI is to make it easier to add new packages, build the system, track the build errors, and combine some of the steps to a couple button clicks.

It has two notebook pages

The first page looks like this:

The left tree widget shows the dependencies of the packages. If a package has multiple dependencies, it will appear under each of these.

Clicking a package name will toggle it from blue (don't do anything with this package) to red (process this package when an action button is clicked.).

If you grab a package name with a right mouse button and drag it to an edit window on the right, you can edit the package.def file.

Clicking the tree button in the upper left of the tree will rebuild the tree (if you changed a dependency you might do this).

At the very top are the action buttons.

The other notebook page looks like this while it's building a distro:

The tree on the left shows what packages have been processed. A green bullet indicates that the operation was successful. A red bullet indicates a problem.

Clicking one of the items in the tree will display the output in the text window on the right.


This thing is working for me. However, it's very pre-alpha code.

I'm using LTSP 4.1 and building under RedHat 9.0, with Tcl/Tk 8.4.12 installed.

I'm using RH 9.0 because that was the cleanest build environment. It worked. The newer Tcl/Tk is because I wanted to use the paned windows and labelframes that weren't available in Tcl/Tk 8.3, the standard release when RH 9.0 came out.

If you find a bug, I'll be happy to hear about it. I won't promise it gets fixed immediately, but it might get fixed.

Other environments are not guaranteed to do anything useful, but it might be interesting.

The Help button is not implemented yet. Real-Soon-Now.


The buildGUI is available as a small script (that requires your target system have a recent version of Tcl/Tk installed), or as a larger wrapped binary that does not require any Tcl/Tk installation on the target machine.

This software is not yet at the release level of maturity. These are escapes.


  1. Download the file.
  2. gunzip build-20051230.tcl.gz or
  3. su -
  4. cd to appropriate directory - .../lbe/ltsp-src
  5. wish build-20051230.tcl or