I need to setup an environment where some users (10 to 20 employees) will use terminals to run programs. They need to run a few popular programs: thunderbird, firefox, adobe acrobat, openoffice and gaim. This site will be a customer service. We decided to reduce the costs by using Open Source software and cheap terminal computers. This is a good solution because most of the users will read messages and images on the screen and they can share the same processor and memory easily. I know that I can setup cheap computers and use its X server as a terminal for another central computer. This solution still requires new (or used) computers. I would like to reduce the costs to the minimum. Here are some key questions that I could not answer:

- Is there a more cost-effective solution? (Something that I did not think of) - How much RAM will I need? Will FireFox Thunderbird and OpenOffice load shared objects and reduce the overall memory usage? Or should I reserve 256MB of memory for each client? - Do I need to use gigabit ethernet? Or is it enough to use a normal 100 Mbps wired network? I heard that there can be bandwidth problems when using many terminals, but I do not have experience.
- Are there any pitfalls that I need to be aware of?

It would be perfect to provide links to some articles or manuals - I do not need anyone to write detailed instuctions and do my job. I'm asking for help because the handbook was not very useful in this case. I only found this:


It does not help too much, and there is no know-how. I really need to know what hardware I need to buy.

Thank you


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