Linux NCD mini-HOWTO

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

     1.1 What`s this document
     1.2 Copyright
     1.3 Disclaimer

  2. Requirements

     2.1 Hardware
     2.2 Software
        2.2.1 X Server.
        2.2.2 DHCP Server (optionally) If you have multiple NCD'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

  3. Other Usefull Documentation

  4. Setting up the Serverside

     4.1 Setting up the X server

  5. Configuring the Thin Client

  6. Credits

  7. History


  1.  Introduction

  1.1.  What`s this document

  We could play around with a NCD ThinSTAR for a while.  Although MS NT
  Terminal and Citrix Meta- & Winframe are the only supported OS systems
  ("Powered by Windows CE" is on the cover ...), it works fine with
  Linux too.  This is how !

  The machine we had, was a NCD ThinkSTAR 200.  It is powered by a
  100MHz MIPS 4300 processor and had the default 8MB of RAM memory.  NCD
  has a also other products in the ThinSTAR family.  These might also
  work, but we haven't the opportunity to check those.  If you have any
  of those, feel free to add any comments. Or send them to us to

  This HOWTO will present one way to setup your ThinSTAR to be used in a
  Linux environment.  This isn't much of a big deal, but for what it's
  worth I'll descripe the needed steps here.

  This MINI Howto is not trying to be the Bible on NC's and Linux, its
  trying to be something for you to get started from nowhere.
  Contributions to this NC are welcome.  In fact this HOWTO is fully
  based on the NC-HOWTO by Kris Buytaert in which he describes how to
  setup the IBM Network Station.

  1.2.  Copyright

  This HOWTO is copyrighted 1998-2001 by Bart Geens and  Kris Buytaert

  Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or
  any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no
  Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover
  Texts. A copy of the license is included in the appendix entitled "GNU
  Free Documentation License".

  1.3.  Disclaimer

  Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any
  potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the
  concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely
  at your own risk.

  All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted
  otherwise.  Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as
  affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

  Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as

  You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before
  major installation and backups at regular intervals.

  2.  Requirements

  2.1.  Hardware

  An NC, connected to your local Network, most likely by UTP, thus by a
  cross-cable or HUB connecting to an X Server. Herafter called the
  Linux Box. The NC can be used as an X-terminal, and in this way can be
  used to replace an Windows Terminal server or simular application.

  The NCD-ThinSTAR 200 is in way related to the IBM Network Station
  model 8361-100.  Both machines share a lot of components such as some
  S3 vga components, IO , network and and normal 72pins (parity ??)
  sims.  The motherboard is also from the same manufacturer.

  The NCD worked quit fine on my network at home, but we had some
  trouble to get it running again on an other location.  After a while
  we found out that the problem where the monitors.  The NC does not
  seem to support all older monitors, even at low resolutions and
  refresh rates.

  The Linux box does not require any special tricks: any X-server with
  xdm, gdm or something similar will do.  We will use xdm.

  2.2.  Software

  2.2.1.  X Server.

  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
  perfectly be a headless server. Basic X Windows install will provide
  you with the necessary deamons.

  2.2.2.  If you have multiple NCD'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 DHCP Server

  3.  Other Usefull Documentation

  Mainly the NCD website at

  4.  Setting up the Serverside

  4.1.  Setting up the X server

  Next we have to set up the X server.  Basically I didn`t need to set
  up anything, all of my machines that ran X-Windows were configured to
  accept connections.  I just started up the NC for the first time and
  it showed me all the machines that ran an XDM (cfr running an X
  -indirect).  So any machine that can run xdm can be used as X Server.
  Just make sure XDM is So any machine that can run xdm can be used as X
  Server.  Just make sure XDM is started.

  Everything on the server side should be setup now.  Lets try the NC

  5.  Configuring the Thin Client

  Unplug the network cable from the NC. Then boot it up.

  It will boot and display that fine NCD ThinSTAR logo but alse the ugly
  Windows CE stuff :-)).  After the NC has booted, it displays the NCD
  ThinSTAR setup wizard (if you already have been using the NC, it will
  not show the wizard, but by pressing ALT-CTRL-F2 you can still
  reconfigure the system).  The first selection is the most important
  one: Client selection.  Be sure to change this to NCD ThinSTAR X

  Then you have to setup the NC's IP address.  We did pick a static IP.
  You can also specify a DNS server, but this is not needed.  To finish
  pick your monitors resolution.  The NC should be restarted now.
  (Windows CE Remember ;-) )

  After a while you will see the NCD ThinSTAR Connection Manager on your
  screen.  First you can continue configuring your system by pressing
  ALT+CTRL+F2.  Things to be configured are: keyboard and mouse.  This
  panel also allows you to reconfigure other parts of your NC.  Press OK
  to commit changes, and you will return to the NCD ThinSTAR Connection

  The NCD ThinSTAR Connection Manager gives 2 options: connections and
  configure.  So lets configure the system first.  Pick 'X terminal'
  from the menu and press the edit or add button.

  The NCD ThinSTAR X Connection Properties allows you to configure the
  name, connection options, host and color.  We prefer the these
  settings: * Connection Option : XDM Query * Host: specify when
  connection is made * (other settings are not important) You could also
  specify a fixed X server but the broadcast option is easier.

  Basicly your done now and you should be able to start a session by
  double-clicking the connection you just edited or added.  You should
  get a list with all the X servers you are using.

  6.  Credits

  A lot of thanks go to Kris Buytaert , for
  rereading this howto and findin uot lost of splelling errosr.

  7.  History

  19990812   first draft 19990829   typos fixed 19990901   release
  20011206   License Change

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