Art Alexion on 9 Apr 2009 09:00:46 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Thin client/terminal suggestions

Thanks, Lee.  A lot to digest, but a lot of starting points.

On Thursday 09 April 2009 10:13:49 am Lee Marzke wrote:
> The term Thin clients is misused a lot.
> Thin clients where originally Diskless clients,  but now many of them run
> not only an OS locally, but a complete OS like Windows LE.

No, I am looking for a diskless dumb terminal solution.

> A diskless client is just a dumb terminal, so the Kenel version on the
> client doesn't matter much
> however nComputing seems to be also doing some kind of virtualization on
> the server side.  

Right, and it is the server kernel that nComputing seems to be fussy about, 
not the client kernel.  As far as I know, there isn't much of a kernel if any 
on the client.

> I don't
> know why you would need this with Linux  servers or Windows Server 2003
> with remote terminal
> server licenses. Maybe it was trying to share a Windows PC ( not a server )

My colleague only tried this once with Linux, and stopped because the 
nComputing server updates lagged behind the Ubuntu kernel updates causing 
repeated problems.  That and being stuck with unsupported Feisty (7.10). 

The nComputing server software supports 30 clients on a Linux server, 30 
clients on a Win 2003 server, and 10 clients on an XP box being used as a 

nComputing windows customer support is said to be very bad and Linux support 
even worse.  That's why I was looking for other suggestions.

> Ubuntu now has a quick LTSP install option, which supports man yLTSP or
> PXE boot devices
> and they list them at
> The Ubuntu solution fixes some of the security issues with Running LTSP
> over X ( I think they now tunnel
> it over SSH to the client )

This is going to be strictly LAN with confidentiality shared among users 
anyway.  Think small mental health/doctor's office.

> For a commercial solution, there is NoMachine,  which has better support
> for slow links and
> probably better support for locally attached printers, sound, etc. and
> likely more management
> and security options.

This is interesting...

>  >I don't want to run 7.10, and the windows apps may not be multi-user.
>  >The latter can't be predicted and may, at the government's whim, change.
> Again, if your using LTSP / NX server the client solution is just a
> terminal, so your APP servers can be anything
> as they just attach to any server using X or RDP
> For windows, running multiple apps inside Win2003/8 server with terminal
> services would be no different than
> running several physical Windows boxes, so even if your application uses
> a database it would have to support
> multiple instances to work on multiple computers across the network, and
> running in Win2003 server should be
> no different.

Speaking to the people involved, I don't think this will be as much as a 
problem as originally anticipated.  

> So my suggestion is to run away from unconventional solutions like
> nComputing, and use a standard 'thin client'
> solution which should work with almost any application. But you will
> need ( a LTSP/NX server, Ubuntu App server,
> and Win2003 server ) and any LTSP or PXE client boxes that you choose.
> Just check support for locally attached
> devices, and avoid any multimedia apps, and make sure you have a good
> 100MB or pref 1GB network and switch.

> There is also VMware VDI ( Virtual Desktop ) solution which builds upon
> a VMware VI/3 ESX / SAN architecture,
> giving each user a custom Virtual Machine.
> This is likely way over your budget for a not-profit.

We looked at this for our central office, but I think this is overkill for this 

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