, with "lots of experience setting up PCs and a passable knowledge of Linux but severely lacking in the server/client department,"
writes with a situation that probably faces a lot of parents:
I want to set up three kids, 12, 14, and 15, with newer computers so they will stop fighting for time on the one ten-year-old Dell they share now. I can get the individual computers and a server put together without any problems, but the computer-handicapped single parent needs to be able to do the following via an simple application/web page: View client computer status, On/off, sleeping etc.; Deny Internet access, not LAN, just the web; Schedule time usage of computer, ex. 7 am to 10 pm on school nights etc.; Force log-out and/or shutdown of clients, for grounding purposes; and Apply some kind of firewall filter for blocking undesired web content. And as the administrator for this network I would like the following options: Remote virus scanning of client machines, or scheduled task; Some kind of hardware monitor, high temp / fan speed low etc.; and Email alerts for various log files / alarms.
Given the lists above I am thinking about a Linux-based router/server machine and running Windows on the clients for game compatibility. I also know that a server and network boot client is possible but not sure where to start on that one."