There it is. I have long promoted GNU/Linux + thin clients as an ideal platform for IT. Naysayers keep telling us on this blog that no one in their right mind would choose thin clients. “Dumb terminals” they call them, omitting all the positives with a single chant. “Single point of failure” they pronounce when networks and servers are much more reliable than the typical PC.
Well the DON gets it. Thin clients are more secure (Wikileaks…) and use less bandwidth (football games…) and cost much less. No mention of the OS but a thin client can generally run any OS and GNU/Linux will have a shot. That’s all GNU/Linux needs to grow.
“focus on shifting computing processes away from traditional desktop hardware and making greater use of platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and software as a service capabilities.”
I like to build systems with a primary design parameter of lowest per seat cost. Putting money into a good server to run all the applications and sessions for 30 students in a lab is far more cost-effective than giving each student a super-computer. You save on heat, noise, hardware, software, maintenance and you can do anything but video editing better than with thick clients. There is a lot you cat teach students without video editing and I can do that with a few thick clients if necessary. The cost of the server per-seat can be as little as $30 including RAID, tons of RAM and a powerful CPU. The cost of the thin client boxes can be as little as $50 each. With GNU/Linux on the server and clients there are no licensing fees.
One of the recent trends in thin client technology is called “VDI”. M$ hates it, according to Brian Madden. Of course, anything that eliminates or reduces the need for that other OS is a dark cloud on M$’s horizon. It’s all good.
Others love thin clients as well.
â€œKey features that stood out included the thin client/web-based collaboration, the estimating and budget integration, the operations and change management workflow, the strong financials module and reporting, the document management and the business process mapping.â€
Point of sale systems are one strong point for GNU/Linux thin clients. It is interesting to see that GNU/Linux actually declined in POS shipments in Canada/USA for 2010 while having 20% shares and growth in other parts of the world.