The Unbundling Of That Other OS At Lenovo

For years, I’ve been annoyed that Lenovo supports GNU/Linux on all its PCs and will ship GNU/Linux for those who demand it but did not advertise GNU/Linux units side by side with units burdened with that other OS. No longer. About a year ago, Lenovo started shipping thin clients with both OS and distributors are listing the products with prices…See the top and bottom listing. Those are identical hardware, one with that other OS embedded and the other with GNU/Linux. Those are just two examples. There are several more in the list of products.

So, that other OS costs you $69 more than GNU/Linux on a thin client device costing $297, 23% of the price. Do you really need to pay extra for permission to have your thin client show the pictures and send the clicks to/from a terminal server? Nope. Not if it’s running GNU/Linux (GNU/Linux thin client lists these protocols and applications: xFreeRDP, Citrix ICA Client,VMware View Client, Java, Mozilla Firefox, NX NoMachine Client, X11 Client, VDI-In-A-Box Java Client, AnyConnect VPN Client). Even if the terminal server runs that other OS, all you need is a CAL at less than half that price. So, businesses are having a choice. Insurance businesses in UK already use thin clients for 20% of PCs and that’s predicted to rise to 39% in a few years. Consumers typically know nothing of thin clients and are denied, but it’s one small step for freedom. I will mention thin clients to my neighbour when we talk about GNU/Linux this winter. He has 4 PCs. No doubt one would make a good terminal server and he can get what he wants with much less cost and complexity.

See also “Lenovo unveils enterprise service expansion though modular thin clients

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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7 Responses to The Unbundling Of That Other OS At Lenovo

  1. DrLoser says:

    So, I admit that a desktop thin client with Linux and costing $50-$100 less is a good thing, and oiaohm comes up with this?

    Just to be horible its Microsoft Licensing.

    How is that relevant to my admission? Does oiaohm read a single word anybody says?

    Dougie, as is his wont, comes up with a piece of promotional fluff from HP that, incidentally, merely reinforces my view that thin clients are suitable for a subset of corporate drones and very little else.

    And anybody who claims (as does Dougie, or at least his friends) that it’s worth buying a “not exactly cheap” mobile thin client for some reason to do with data security has clearly never heard of Bitlocker. Or has the sense to quote Chromebooks in this regard, because if I was going to provide staff with a mobile thingy that could act as a thin client, that would be the obvious (non-Microsoft) choice.

    I mean, here I am, admitting that thin clients have an important part to play in industry, and that Linux is ideal for them, and all I get back is nonsensical crap.

    At least Robert, bless ‘im, is prepared to argue about the size of the market. Which is rather more to the point, I think.

  2. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser
    I don’t see any good reason why someone who wants a thin client should pay extra for things they will never be able to use.
    Just to be horible its Microsoft Licensing.
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/1/4/114A45DD-A1F7-4910-81FD-6CAF401077D0/Microsoft%20VDI%20and%20VDA%20FAQ%20v3%200.pdf
    http://searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/feature/Demystifying-Microsoft-virtual-desktop-licensing-SA-vs-VDA-vs-CDL
    Its a down right confusing mess when you use anything other than based Windows.

    DrLoser I really don’t like the licensing mess and I don’t think Microsoft really should be charging on a per device model on devices that are not running their software. Per active user would be valid. Of course the CDL requirement enforcement rights change country to country.

  3. Joe.M says:

    Chrometops too. LG and Asus are selling ’em. Very interesting proposition for the enterprise.

  4. dougman says:

    No one you say?

    http://www8.hp.com/us/en/thin-clients/benefits.html

    I have met a few outside sale people that had mobile thin-clients, they were not exactly cheap, but if someone stole the device so what…the data is resident still on the server.

  5. DrLoser, spreading more FUD, wrote, ” outside industrial drones like insurance clerks, nobody really wants a thin client, do they?”

    Clerks are a huge part of business, often the customer-facing folks and businesses need a bunch. Teachers and students also love thin clients because they get the speed of the server on small cheap computers. Many classrooms don’t have much space for IT. IT guys love thin clients because there are fewer software-systems to maintain, possibly as few as one if you can put everything on one server. Thin clients make sense just about anywhere you have more than one client. i.e. cost per seat ~ (cost of one monitor/keyboard/mouse/thin client set, perhaps as little as $150) + (cost of server)/N. I was quite happy with servers that cost $25 per user, but some spend up to a few times as much. It certainly beats a fire-breathing CPU per client and a ton of RAM and storage per client as far as cost and for many purposes it is more responsive because just about everything can be cached in RAM on the server.

    Further, IDC wrote, “worldwide thin client and terminal client device shipments totaled 1.4 million units in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), an increase of 10.8% from the same quarter a year ago and 0.7% greater lower than IDC’s forecast for the quarter. IDC expects the market to continue growing over the remainder of the year with 5.8 million units forecast to be shipped in 2014, representing 6.2% year-over-year growth. By 2018, these devices are expected to reach 7.6 million units shipped worldwide.”

    Millions are people too. If you consider thin clients to last at least twice as long as a legacy PC, you should think of these numbers as double because each one sold is taking out two legacy PCs in the pipeline. 11.6million out of 75 million PCs shipped per annum is ~16%. Then you have ChromeBooks which are a kind of thin clients selling a few million per annum. Really, it’s a lot of people being liberated and they won’t come back soon if ever.

  6. DrLoser says:

    You forgot to mention to Dougie that you’ve already got Italy covered, didn’t you, Robert? The poor lad hasn’t got an HSE — cut him some slack and try to explain things to him in short, simple words.

    Now, as for Lenovo offering Linux at a discount on thin clients, I think it’s a very good idea. You can get away with almost no functioning OS at all on a thin client. I don’t see any good reason why someone who wants a thin client should pay extra for things they will never be able to use.

    Trouble is, outside industrial drones like insurance clerks, nobody really wants a thin client, do they?

  7. dougman says:

    “Not happy to have Windows preinstalled in your new computer? In Italy, you can now get a refund on your unwanted OS after a recent ruling handed down by Italy’s High Court opened up new possibilities for unsatisfied customers.”

    https://fsf.org/blogs/community/a-victory-for-free-software-over-the-microsoft-tax

    “..the judge essentially decided that it’s illegal to force customers to buy something they don’t want without giving them the chance to express their consent or disagreement to the terms of use of the thing itself before the purchase. On this basis, the court ruled HP must pay the trial costs and refund Pieraccioli to the tune of of €140, of which €90 was for Windows XP and €50 for Microsoft Works 8, which also came installed on the machine.”

    Acer’s Windows refund process: http://static.acer.com/up/Resource/Acer/Docs/IT/20121106/Windows_refund_process_flow_rev_Oct_3rd_2012_ITA.pdf

    Trolls will chime in and say that people cannot install their own OS, that’s sacrilegious! How dare they allow such a thing to happen..the user will become confused. I say, installing an OS is something anyone can do, this is why there are guides during the install process.

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