On 09/02/2009 23:15, "Christopher Woods" <chris...@infinitus.co.uk> wrote:
> unless some incredibly
> well-designed thin client solutions were brought to my attention (and then
> you're talking equivalent prices for thin clients as you would for regular
> MiniATX desktops).

I'm not sure that a thin client can, as you suggest, handle the requirements
of a school's media department, in this instance you would place a
desktop/tower instead.

We run a mixed client setup for a number of housing associations in the UK
where the majority of users (admin/management etc), who do not require huge
graphics capability, run with a Wyse terminal and the planning department
(for example) will have a well specced Dell machine.

As you suggest a decent thin client will cost you as much as a MiniATX
machine BUT it has much lower power consumption and have a potential life of
8 years or more.  Typically a PC if having to run Windows will be lifed at 3
years.  So after 3 years where a typical Windows environment will be
replaced in toto we are simply adding more power to our VMWare server pool.

> I'm still personally very sceptical of thin client solutions, I don't think
> their capabilities ar sufficient to satisfy all the potential uses for
> educational machines. And I wouldn't like to have all that total reliance on
> just a handful of extremely powerful servers; it's bad enough when the
> Internet proxy server goes down or the network drive can't be accessed
> because the Active Directory is having a fit, but to have a classful of
> children sitting in front of dumb terminals when the primary host server for
> that classroom's client machines goes down? Wuh oh.

You can run multiple head servers and backend pool for a TS environment.
 
> Maybe my mistrust is misplaced, and thin clients are actually really quite
> good at most things now... Perhaps my perception of them, like many other
> peoples', is part of the problem which needs to be addressed. There must be
> some reason other than bloody-mindedness that makes schools keep on going
> for full-PC solutions time after time though...

Really?  In my experience school IT staff are generally beholden to RM or
similar and do as they are told.  RM would see a MASSIVE drop in hardware
sales if they pushed people onto thin client do to the reasons I list above.
So I can't see them doing it anytime soon...

>I do aim to do more work in
> the educational sector as my own business gets going in the next few years,
> and I want to offer all kinds of viable solutions as long as they work well
> for everybody. Do you really think that setups like the LTSP are as
> competitive as regular networks of fairly powerful x86 machines and central
> file/print/etc servers for secondary school environments? (not being sarkies
> here, genuinely interested to know your thoughts and prepared to do a lot of
> reading if you have suggested starting points).

I've unfortunately not had enough experience of a pure FOSS network and
would definintely like to see more.  My IT company are always looking to
improve things!  The couple of Ubuntu servers we run for Web Services/SVN
etc are wonderfully reliable.  But...

//personal rant coming up...

For any open source software (Linux for example) to really work on the
network en mass we need to about user experience.  Currently I've yet to see
an attractive/user friendly piece of FOSS.  Whilst the software (once you've
worked out how to use it) is extremely effective IMO user experience is a
big part of the software which usually gets overlooked in FOSS scenarios. I
think FOSS can have a huge future but the community need to think about user
experience then it will be taken more seriously.

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