Recent Data on Thin Clients

The Fraunhofer institute has published a thorough article on thin clients in regard to environmental impact and consumption of energy. Unfortunately, they deal only in that other OS running on the terminal server and can max-out a server with 4 gB RAM with 35 users. The data is still remarkable, though.

Last week I had 24 students running in 2 gB happily. Here is an image of the system monitor with 21 Grade 1 students maxing out my 100 mbits/s network. With Gigabit/s I could run 40 easily. This image shows 1.7 gB RAM being used but does not show that hundreds of megabytes were used in cached files.

21 Grade 1 students max out the network

This means the report is ultra-conservative, because the energy savings reported are about half what is possible using GNU/Linux.

The report does have some other interesting bits:

“The market for thin clients is growing faster than that for desktop PCs ­ but ata much lower level. In the comparable regions of »EU-15« and »Western Europe« in 2008 more than 27 million new desktop PCs will be sold, compared to just 1.2 million thin clients. This is just 4.3 % of the number of PCs (cf. Table
8-5 and Figure 8-5).

Table 8-5: Comparison of new desktop PCs and thin clients


Device type 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Desktop PC 24,130,344 25,947,473 25,348,905 26,136,469 27,229,649*
Thin Clients 634,706 885,732 895,886 1,016,399* 1,152,675*
* Estimated

Clearly, thin clients are catching on , growing much faster than PCs year over year. This trend is world-wide and is helpful to GNU/Linux because it is much less expensive to run GNU/Linux on a terminal server instead of that other OS with a hefty licence fee and a per-seat fee. It is all good. There is no technical reason that GNU/Linux should not continue such rapid growth for years and restore competition to the market.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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