03 October 2007

Clin thients

Visited a customerish yesterday, in Wynyard. From the description, I was expecting a big mess of Win98 & XP systems, but it seems that they’re a little more organised (sorta), than that.


Well, the actual organisation revolves around two servers, which are remote-managed. They wear the princely titles of “server” & “server1”

One of them is a Windows file-server, the other is a terminal server. Oddly enough, the backups etc are done through the terminal server, since the tape backup unit doesn’t work on the file-server, & the USB interface works poorly, if at all.

The positive aspect from the workstations’ perspective is that they’re all, basically, thin clients. The users start them, start an RDP client, & do all of their work via the terminal server.

I gather that this was done for convenience of administration, since the admin (in Devonport, apparently) doesn’t need to ensure that workstations are clocked on or whatever, just has to start a session for the user in question, & admin that.

Now, the whole arrangement just cries out for a standard Unix-like setup (X was born for this) — but there are a few show-stoppers like MYOB in the works.

Nevertheless, I’m planning to swap their standard PCs plus a few special-purpose RDP client boxes for dead-boring standard PCs which boot a Linux image (so conceptually could be replaced by a live CD) that starts dear old rdesktop aimed at the terminal server.

They’re a kind of a charity, so $$$ are quite important, as is chopping away any extra organisation needed for obtaining specialised equipment. With my grand plan in place, they can grab a bargain PC, whip out the hard disk (if any), shove a CD into it, & be on the road immediately. No licence hassles, no special cases.


Stephen Thorne said...

I saw thinlinx.com.au at an open source breakfast last week. They look interesting.

senectus said...

Be careful saying stuff like that, they will need new licences for the Terminal Services CAL plus software etc.
Plus the way M$ charge for M$Office on a TS box is every user must have a lic for Office if it's accessible by them. Even if they don't use it.
Licences can become quite pricey by the time you finish counting that up.

Leon Brooks said...

AFAICT they already have said licences & no wish to suffer the same pain again.

With this in mind, they're likely to try a few users out on OpenOffice to see if it works "well enough" & if so, they'll migrate more users until they have zero left.

If it wasn't for MYOB, I think they'd be quite happy running Linux throughout.

Leon Brooks said...

BTW, should have said (about whipping the hard disk out) that the LiveCD would, once startup was successful, check the machine & offer to install on it if appropriate.

senectus said...

MYOB runs pretty well on WINE apparently:

Also I've heard that Crossover office multi-user (terminal service version) works as well.

Oh and I'm not sure if you saw this, but Novel is forking OO, they don't like that SUN wont LGPL it.