Look What Happened To Some Of Those XPed Netbooks

One school district that bought netbooks with XP was having no joy“Students like the faster speeds of the centralized desktop, which runs with 50 percent more RAM and a 33 percent faster processor than any of the netbooks. Boot-up and log-in are complete in 75 percent less time, saving 20 minutes a day which adds up to 60 hours per year, equivalent to about 10 days of learning time. And students all have access to the same applications—many of which wouldn’t run on some of the netbooks before.” so they put GNU/Linux on them and used them as thin clients. Now they get the speed of the server and can have major changes to the software done overnight. That’s how IT should be, fast and efficient. It can happen thanks to FLOSS. Instead of buying newer faster machines, a change of software was all that was required and they saved a bundle.

TFA, linked below, was about thin clients in schools but it appeared in a business-oriented publication…

See School District Uses Stratodesk NoTouch to Repurpose PCs and Save $136,000 on VDI Thin Client Costs.

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 Look What Happened To Some Of Those XPed Netbooks

  1. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser that complete paragraph is 2 min of my typing time at my typing speed when I am having a slow day. When having a fast typing day it is less than 30 seconds. This answer was less than 30 seconds.

  2. ram says:

    This phenomena (replacing Microsoft whatever on older machines with Linux to make thin clients) is fairly widespread. It is not widely reported as the “mainstream news media” doesn’t get any advertising revenue from Linux, but the trend is obvious to those in the IT business.

  3. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser how fast does the student type. 2 mins of extra operation for a poor typist is about 50 extra words of notes recorded before end of class. In those 50 words might be a critical note to the student. When it comes to training every min of time counts. Gets worse short term memory in most humans is horible so even delaying by 1 min can result in loss of idea.

    Frankly, oiaohm, you’ve just conclusively disproved your own hypothesis.

    Whatever that might have been.

    May I recommend a spell-checker?

  4. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr there are specialist distributions for thin clients. There are a few generics as well. Debian is one of the generics. A new release debian has a choice of 8 different Linux kernels to run on at least all different ages.

    GregHK driver disruptions don’t effect debian users that much. Why we have choice of kernel.

    New apps usually require new distro versions, so you can’t stay with the old version like you do with Windows, you just can’t win.
    That is the problem you don’t understand kurkosdr. Why companies end up going in the direction of debian is that you can stay with old version of kernel and old versions drivers. Also debian has always supported chrooting new on old. Guess how debian test servers work. The claim you cannot stay with old version is not debian feature.

    kurkosdr also you need to take those rose colored glasses off there are applications for Windows that don’t run on old versions of Windows. If you have this case with Windows you cannot do what you do with debian and choose to keep the old kernel to keep problem child drivers working.

    The thinclient Linux I commonly use is thinstation. http://thinstation.github.io/thinstation/ The thing require true piles of crap 256 Megs of ram is all it needs. So something Pentium 1 is good enough. If something is too weak of spec to become a thin client we are talking something over 20 years old.

    And wouldn’t it just have been better to leave the machines booted up in the first place?
    DrLoser power bill combined with bearing wear is why not leave them running all the time.

    DrLoser how fast does the student type. 2 mins of extra operation for a poor typist is about 50 extra words of notes recorded before end of class. In those 50 words might be a critical note to the student. When it comes to training every min of time counts. Gets worse short term memory in most humans is horible so even delaying by 1 min can result in loss of idea. The reality is you cannot start training before people can take notes. Remember not everyone in a class room can hand write well enough even to read it themselves. So it is very important that computer gear does start quickly.

    DrLoser as students you are meant to log out. There are issues with Window machines storing profile data locally that have resulted in students stealing other students works as well. Some schools reboot between logins under windows so roaming profile copies are deleted. Yes those networks are slow as hell thinking every time a student logins in they have to get a copy of their profile again.

    Basically 2min 40 login of XP would be fast if there system were running profile scrubbing. Yes there are times when thin clients are just faster.

  5. kurkosdr, being ignorant of thin clients, wrote, “Even if you use all open-source apps, there are driver breakages. And GregHK thinks driver breakages are a good thing.”

    If a new release is missing a driver they can keep the old one. It’s FLOSS. They are allowed to run, modify and distribute the code as needed.

    Further, thin clients don’t run many apps. X is networked so the app can run on whatever computer. All they need running on the thin client is an Xserver. If all else fails they can run a Vesa frame-buffer. They can also run the apps in virtual machines emulating whatever hardware they need.

  6. kurkosdr says:

    This. This is why people “hate” Linux. But they don’t hate BSD or Haiku or whatever.

    Linux could have made a “no frills” stricly-the-basics OS. But the back compat breakages prevent it. Just wait ’till the school tries to upgrade the netbooks to the latest distro version when it comes out.

    Even if you use all open-source apps, there are driver breakages. And GregHK thinks driver breakages are a good thing.

    This is a deal-breaker, plain and simple. New apps usually require new distro versions, so you can’t stay with the old version like you do with Windows, you just can’t win.

    Potential wasted because of some lunatics’ beliefs of “purity”.

  7. DrLoser says:

    That’s odd. Does it really take 400 seconds to boot up and log in to a Linux thin client?

    Maybe they should look for a more capable distro.

    Or maybe they’re booting up and logging in ten times a day, say, which would be a far more believable 40 seconds.

    Now, I would be the last person to claim that the (anecdotal) XP equivalent of two minutes and forty seconds is earth-shatteringly good. But tell me this:

    How much can you teach a high school student in that two minutes that you’ve saved right there?

    And wouldn’t it just have been better to leave the machines booted up in the first place? It’s relatively straightforward to set up a kiosk-like operation on XP (which would suit a thin client solution rather well) such that you can cycle between logins (fast) without leaving any trace of the previous login session behind.

    Yet another purported solution looking for a problem, I feel.

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