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This article has described how Linux can be used to set up a diskless workstation that runs using resources from the network. Such a setup enables extending the life of existing machines (since the "heavy lifting" of running the applications can be moved to a single shared server), allows centralisation of the machines to be maintained (since all the applications and boot files are on a single server), and allows noisy hardware to be relegated to the server room again.
The author has been using his diskless workstation extensively for the past month, and is very pleased with it. In particular the choice of completely silent hardware has made it possible to completely banish the noisy fans and hard drives to a separate room, and compute quietly. And in the tradition of all such articles, this article is written using the hardware in question.
While diskless workstations present some challenges, particularly when audio support is required, their advantages make them well worth considering when several workstations with similar configuration are required, and a relatively low initial investment, and low maintenance costs are desired.
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