This page is specific to Ubuntu versions 8.04 / 8.10 / 9.04

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This page is dedicated to configuring automated thin-client shutdown. This is a useful feature for environments such as schools (and anywhere that is concerned about energy consumption), as it will ensure all clients are shut down at a specified time, saving power (which = $$$ !)


Using /sbin/halt to shutdown terminal station does not involve proper closing X-session (as it is performed from LDM menu), and leave all related processes on server alive (ssh session, kde daemons, etc).

Installing cron in the chroot

  • Follow the instructions in ChrootCronjobs to be able to configure cron jobs in client chroot sessions easily via lts.conf. (Thanks to P. Baco at for this script!)

  • Edit your lts.conf file on the server to configure cron jobs for your LTSP clients. Here's an example:

# This one will halt client(s) at 20:30 from Monday to Friday
CRONTAB_01 = "30 20 * * 1-5 /sbin/halt"
  • Reboot your thin clients for the cron jobs to take effect.

Using a script to warn users of pending shutdown

Here are instructions on using a little script I wrote (with the help of the above script) which will warn users that the LTSP client will shut down in 5 minutes.

  • Install zenity in the chroot:

sudo chroot /opt/ltsp/i386 apt-get install zenity
  • Copy the following script, called shutdownwarning, to /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/ltsp:


 # Created 2009/10/09 Jordan Erickson (LNS)
 # This script warns any logged-in LTSP user that the client will
 # shut down in 5 minutes (ala a cronjob) and gives them the chance
 # to disable it.

DISPLAY=$(ps -ef | grep -v awk | awk '/Xauthority/ { print $NF }')
export DISPLAY

# Ask the user what to do
main() {
   zenity --question --title="Shutdown Warning" --text="This computer will automatically shut down in 5 minutes. Press [OK] to save your work and log out, or [Cancel] to disable automatic shutdown and keep working." 

      if [ "$?" = 0 ]; then
         # Do nothing by default - shutdown is enabled already. Inform the user.
         zenity --info --title="Shutdown ENABLED" --text="Shutdown will occur. Please save your work and log out immediately!"

      elif [ "$?" = 1 ]; then
         # Remove the crontab entry for shutting the system down
         # See /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/ltsp/ - Thanks to P. Baco @ !!
         # Re-create the crontab.tmp file via getltscfg and CRONTAB_NN environment vars
         for i in 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
            JOB=$(getltscfg CRONTAB_$i)
            if [ -n "$JOB" ]; then
               echo >> $TMPFILE
               echo "# Found in CRONTAB_$i" >> $TMPFILE
               echo "$JOB" >> $TMPFILE
         # Pick out the crontab entry to halt the system - looks for /sbin/halt only...
         if [ -f $TMPFILE ]; then
            grep -v "/sbin/halt" $TMPFILE > $TMPFILE2
            # Recreate crontab without shutdown job
            crontab $TMPFILE2
         rm -f $TMPFILE $TMPFILE2

         # Tell the user what just happened
         zenity --info --title="Shutdown DISABLED" --text="Shutdown has been disabled. Please log out and shut down when you are finished. Thank you!"




  • Chmod your script:

sudo chmod 755 /opt/ltsp/i386/etc/ltsp/shutdownwarning
  • Rebuild your chroot image:

sudo ltsp-update-image
  • Add this as a CRONTAB_NN entry in lts.conf, 5 minutes before the cronjob to shut the system down:


CRONTAB_01 = "25 20  * * 1-5 /etc/ltsp/shutdownwarning"


  • You might now want to follow the instructions for Installing an NTP server so your thin-client time is in sync with the server time.

  • If you like automated shut-down, you'll probably like Automated thin-client startup!

  • In addition to this, there is a software project called evanescent which can shut systems down after a configurable amount of idle (I.E. no user input from keyboard/mouse) time.


UbuntuLTSP/AutomatedTCShutodwn (last edited 2010-02-15 08:50:24 by svg)