Small Cheap Legacy PCs Eat Big Expensive Legacy PCs’ Lunch

According to IDC, “The volume of thin client shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) in 2012 increased by 9.2% year on year to more than 1.7 million units, according to results published by market research and advisory company IDC. In the coming year, IDC expects thin client shipments to maintain stable 6.2% growth over 2013.”see EMEA Thin Client Market to Grow by 6.2% in 2013, IDC Predicts – prCZ24027913

While the usual desktop/notebook fare is declining or barely holding share, thin clients as another form of small cheap computer are growing steadily. That’s smart. In schools where I worked the thin clients did most tasks better than legacy thick clients because of file-caching in RAM on the servers and were absolutely trouble-free. Compare that with needing so much manpower to manage just a few PCs running that other OS as usual. While thin clients are still a minority of PCs, their long lifetime effectively displaces a significant number of units of legacy PC production. They can run GNU/Linux, too, with no effect on performance, no matter what OS or application is run, except stuff like full-screen video. That covers a large swath of personal computing.

Of course, I recommend Debian GNU/Linux on the terminal servers because it does not require a licence per seat. Debian is about to release version 7.0 and it works really well with a tiny bug-count. There’s no time like the present to switch to thin clients and GNU/Linux to give a new lease on life to a fleet of PCs.

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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6 Responses to Small Cheap Legacy PCs Eat Big Expensive Legacy PCs’ Lunch

  1. Yes. I blogged on that last week.

    see The Precipitous Fall From Grace Of That Other OS

    The Wintel empire is a house of cards because it’s not based on the best technology but various lock-ins and exclusive dealing. Undo a couple of things and it falls down. GNU/Linux and FLOSS however are built on solid foundations of technology that work and are solid. During my experience with both there has not been a time when they were not growing and improving while that other OS and M$’s partners thrashed around trying to sell more licences based on some trivial changes. When they attempt something more radical it fails.

  2. Mats Hagglund says:

    These wiki search, while controversian (because its Anglo %) is telling something really increadibly:

    Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP lost 14,18% market share among wiki searchers in 3 months, while Windows 8 brought back only 1,41%. So 10 is leaving Windows and 1 is coming back. This is really a nightmare for Microsoft.

    http://stats.wikimedia.org/archive/squid_reports/2012-11/SquidReportOperatingSystems.htm

    http://stats.wikimedia.org/archive/squid_reports/2013-02/SquidReportOperatingSystems.htm

  3. Mats Hagglund wrote, “very evil consequences. Network ecosystem might not be so much different. I prefer multi OS world.”

    The beauty of the networked world is that expertise can be brought to bear on all the IT problems in a focussed manner. Having a billion amateurs running IT on their PCs is sub-optimal. For example, a hardened OS on a PC thin client and a hardened server running whatever software is likely to be able to dodge malware much better. Then there is cost. Google could run a website with spare pocket change whereas is it $hundreds per annum for the typical user of a PC. Ordinary users can manage content just fine and that is what they should do and leave the technical stuff to experts. It is funny to see M$ tell the world they are experts on anything. M$ has to compete on price/performance in a networked world. The web essentially breaks their undeserved monopoly on IT.

  4. Mats Hagglund says:

    ….and Windows Blue – the next pathetic try of Microsoft – seems to be another big blunder by Redmond.

    http://www.zdnet.com/windows-8-metro-interface-blues-7000013036/

  5. Mats Hagglund says:

    Just like in nature: mono culture or what ever food production have mostly – in long run – very evil consequences. Network ecosystem might not be so much different. I prefer multi OS world.

  6. “Network Computing” was a good idea when it was first introduced in the late 1990’s, and it remains a good idea today. The only reason it failed to catch on back then was because the Microsoft-dominated trade press managed to convince everyone that it was a bad idea in order to preserve the status quo. (Compare to how the communist media in the USA continues to spread lies that subvert freedom.)

    Thankfully the landscape is changing, mainly thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and cheap bandwidth. Applications tied to a single desktop computer are getting to the point where they’re almost unusable now. This is bad for desktop-oriented monopolists.

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