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Best Performing and Stable version
30-08-2016, 08:15 AM,
#1
Best Performing and Stable version
Hi,
I have a business client who we need to provide some thin clients for, they all just access a windows term server with RDP.
I need to make sure whatever I put in is stable and working smoothly (in regards to RDP protocol and framebuffering etc etc)
Is a RPI 2 still the best option with dfreeRDP? Or is the RPI 3 version stable and does it support hardware acceleration for RDP?

Once this is installed and running it will never need to be upgraded, and I don't really want to be mucking around with fixes and crashes.

Thanks in advance
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30-08-2016, 11:02 PM, (This post was last modified: 23-07-2018, 10:57 PM by Nick Roncone.)
#2
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
(30-08-2016, 08:15 AM)Andrew Johnston Wrote: Hi,
I have a business client who we need to provide some thin clients for, they all just access a windows term server with RDP.
I need to make sure whatever I put in is stable and working smoothly (in regards to RDP protocol and framebuffering etc etc)
Is a RPI 2 still the best option with dfreeRDP? Or is the RPI 3 version stable and does it support hardware acceleration for RDP?

Once this is installed and running it will never need to be upgraded, and I don't really want to be mucking around with fixes and crashes.

Thanks in advance

I've been using the rpi3 alpha build for the same situation you're describing but it took a lot of tinkering to get it to where I think it's just awesome. This is basically what I have improved it to so far:

-optimized it to a 15 second boot time to term server login screen (automatically) with our own custom boot video and no bios text or raspberry logos/splashscreens at all.
-using rdesktop with the "keepmeup" script (It's been solid for our basic term server needs but dfreerdp is probably better). If you try it out then I would at least recommend adding these flags to your config for a term server:

-u YourUsersName -f -x 0x80 -b -P
(the "-x 0x80" set's the connection to be optimized for a LAN (like using "-x l" but with cleartype turned on as well)

-slightly overclocked it more which helped it with the boot and overall responsiveness a little bit.
-manually had to setup up the wireless for the base image but it's been working as expected.

Other stuff I added for certain situations/customers:
-lock down rpitc user's abilities (docky settings, conky time format, basic user permissions)
-change local login screen background
-install local printers(such a pain)
-added firefox(with kiosk mode and open java)
-added shutdown shortcut to docky
-added a screensaver picture slideshow
-3D printed our own vesa mountable case with our logo!
-started using those micro-usb power-button extensions from <3rpi (most went bad and the power adapters also caused major issues, would highly recommend canakit's version instead
-ordered 24" monitors with POWERED usb ports so the rpi3 mounts and is powered from the monitor.

The rpi3's have been great and we'll be deploying a lot more asap for our customers. The rpi2 is more stable at first (from the base image) but once you get a solid first image build, the rpi3 is slighter faster/smoother/cooler/+builtin-wifi than the rpi2 and for the same price it became a no brainer for us. Hope this helps in some way? or at least prepares you for what some of the possible issues you might not have considered that our customers expected from a thin-client.
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31-08-2016, 02:31 AM,
#3
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
Hi Nick,
Thankyou so much for such a helpful detailed response! Your customers probably don't realise how lucky they are to have an I.T guy who pays so much attention to detail.
So dfreeRDP is included in the v3 image? I just didn't see it listed in the notes like it is for v2.

Thankfully I won't really need anything local at all, I plan to make it login directly on boot and only print to printers connected to the term server.
Great idea regarding the monitors with USB power - what make/model did you go with?

I think I'll just buy one and use it to test and make sure I'm happy with performance on my end, and then deploy.
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01-09-2016, 12:35 AM,
#4
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
(31-08-2016, 02:31 AM)Andrew Johnston Wrote: Hi Nick,
Thankyou so much for such a helpful detailed response! Your customers probably don't realise how lucky they are to have an I.T guy who pays so much attention to detail.
So dfreeRDP is included in the v3 image? I just didn't see it listed in the notes like it is for v2.

Thankfully I won't really need anything local at all, I plan to make it login directly on boot and only print to printers connected to the term server.
Great idea regarding the monitors with USB power - what make/model did you go with?

I think I'll just buy one and use it to test and make sure I'm happy with performance on my end, and then deploy.

Thanks for the compliments! As for the dfreerdp, yes it is in the rpi3 builder so you just have to check a box and let the gui builder install it for you. The admin really made it easy to add the essential stuff this way. As for the monitor, we just stuck to AOC monitors for the whole concept of keeping the package as cheap as possible.

AOC International e2460Swhu 24" LCD 1920x1080

This is the model that worked perfect with the usb ports because it has 4 usb ports but one of them(colored red) is always on when the monitors on so it works great for eliminating another cord. In fact, on my test model that I was bringing around to show clients, once I got the wifi working, the only cord I had to plugin was the power cord for the monitor. So i bought a very short hdmi cord and usb->microusb cord to keep it as neat as possible on the back. it looks very clean and out of the way.
The only issue was it was hard to find a small monitor with powered usb ports, vesa mounts, and 1080p so we went with the 24" (which was a lot easier to sell as a package considering the $ you're saving on the thinclient).

I'm currently using a 28" aoc e2752s model since it was like $5 cheaper.
no usb ports, but I love it.
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01-09-2016, 01:13 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-09-2016, 01:32 AM by Nick Roncone.)
#5
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
I just loaded a fresh rpi3 with the RPiTC v3 1.01 build and after about 20 minutes of tinkering with it, I have it booting directly onto our windows 2008 server in about 10 seconds from a cold boot! Running smooth and I think it would probably satisfy the basic build of what you're asking for. I have a lot of work to finish up tonight but if I get freetime tomorrow, I'll throw a quick 5 min walkthrough video on youtube if you want me to.

Here's my basic steps:
1. Install stuff from the builder
2. Edit /boot/cmdline.txt to make boot log less and not show any logos
3. Edit /boot/config.txt to overclock it
4. Optimize GUI Settings:
-Change Background to solid black color
-turn off composition
-turn off conky, docky, and other unnecessary startup programs
5. Setup rdesktop (or freerdp) to autostart/KeepMeUp
6. Change rdp config and server target for your term server
7. reboot and test. (10 seconds boot time to term login screen!)
8. make basic image of setup.
10. then comb through security and customize further as you see fit.
11. Make second more final image for deploying multiple rpi3s
9. expand the sdcard partition to full size (instead of the .5gb image)
10. Test and deliver Smile

check it out (sorry for the quality, just shot it on my iphone real quick)
https://youtu.be/-TZ8qEuntBI
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01-09-2016, 06:43 AM,
#6
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
(01-09-2016, 01:13 AM)Nick Roncone Wrote: I just loaded a fresh rpi3 with the RPiTC v3 1.01 build and after about 20 minutes of tinkering with it, I have it booting directly onto our windows 2008 server in about 10 seconds from a cold boot! Running smooth and I think it would probably satisfy the basic build of what you're asking for. I have a lot of work to finish up tonight but if I get freetime tomorrow, I'll throw a quick 5 min walkthrough video on youtube if you want me to.

check it out (sorry for the quality, just shot it on my iphone real quick)
https://youtu.be/-TZ8qEuntBI

Thanks, that's awesome. I just ordered my pi3 so once I get delivery and make sure I can tweak it how I need I'll have a viable and very cost effective solution, which is also super easy to replicate...
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29-09-2016, 07:53 AM,
#7
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
Hi Nick,
Just wondering if I can get some help

I got the pi v3 and have been playing around - mostly things seem okay, but like you I want to remove unnecessary fluff and lock it down, but some changes seem to break the whole system.

One thing is that I can't believe it relies on a .desktop autostart script to kill the boot up animation, and if you untick it, you're screwed! I had to put the card in my laptop and edit the .desktop file to HIDE=false to get it to run the script again...major hack.

Second thing, if you try and add a helper to docky it breaks docky completely...so I uninstalled that and have tried to put plank on instead...except now when I boot the boot splash doesn't go anymore either.

So what can I edit to get rid of the bootsplash?

What I'm going for is an auto log in to the parallels RDP client (got that working nice)...and then if they log off their windows session they have a firefox icon, a parallels icon and a restart/shutdown icon (ideally in a dock). That's it...no right click menus, no other application menus, nothing.
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30-09-2016, 07:30 PM,
#8
RE: Best Performing and Stable version
I'll make a video tonight to show you some more tips and how i edited the /boot/cmdline.txt file to fix the splash screen and boot time, then the /boot/config.txt to overclock it, lock it down a bit, and some other crazy stuff I've been playing around with, like netbooting from a master image without an sd card at all
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30-09-2016, 07:59 PM,
#9
Hide Logo, logging and speed up boot time
Here's how I changed the /boot/cmdline.txt file to hide the logo and logging so that the boot video was the absolute first thing that showed up (and ended quicker since the logging behind it didnt show as much detail)

So I changed
Code:
console=tty1
to console=tty3

then after
Code:
rootwait
I added quiet logo.nologo loglevel=3


Here's my final /boot/cmdline.txt file:
Code:
dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty3 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline fsck.repair=yes rootwait quiet logo.nologo loglevel=3 rootflags=data=writeback,commit=120,barrier=0
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30-09-2016, 08:07 PM,
#10
Overclock Settings
Here's my current overclock settings, which honestly, I don't know much about overclocking. So, some of it may not make a difference, and some of it is probably overkill but its been running fine so far on multiple units I have (these settings are for raspberry pi 3 only!) So I should add that this would be at your own risk for sure.

But anyway, I added
Code:
# NICKS OVERCLOCK SETTINGS
arm_freq=1300
over_voltage=5
gpu_freq=550
sdram_freq=550
sdram_schmoo=0x02000020
over_voltage_sdram_p=6
over_voltage_sdram_i=4
over_voltage_sdram_c=4
to the bottom of the /boot/config.txt file. It deffinately helped with the boot speed (like the video where I had it connect in 10 seconds), however it won't make much of a difference once you remote on to your server.
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