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.