|By Jon Walker||
|June 14, 2005 10:00 AM EDT||
As with all big conferences, LinuxWorld Boston earlier this year had a few broad themes that you couldn't help be exposed to just by walking the floor. One that caught me by surprise was the excitement around thin client Linux. At first I attributed it to a combination of the big vendors pushing blade computing and the malaise that had developed around desktop Linux. For the past few years the battle cry had been "This is the year of Linux on the desktop." Linus Torvalds himself made the assertion in a few interviews. Well...Windows hasn't been crushed in an avalanche of Linux adoption on the desktop. I personally believe that desktop Linux is going to be less of an avalanche and more like the buildup of sand on the beach - gradual, constant, and imperceptible to the casual onlooker. The lack of widespread adoption however had people like Jeremy White of Codeweavers talking about going through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) when they discovered that the year of the Linux desktop had yet to arrive.
Initially I viewed thin client Linux as a symptom of the third stage of grief - bargaining. I pictured people telling themselves "If desktop Linux isn't going to take over the world, maybe thin client Linux can." After all, I had seen Larry Ellison and Oracle with his "Network Computer" (along with Sun and others) bet big on the thin client as a Windows killer in the mid-90s only to have it go nowhere. The idea of ending Microsoft's reign over the desktop with an entirely new architecture is appealing. I couldn't just dismiss it out of hand as wishful thinking by those heavily invested in desktop Linux however. I personally knew some businesses that were using thin client infrastructures very successfully. In the mid-90s this was definitely not the case. Harrison Ford once said, "We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance." Had thin client actually changed since the mid-90s or was this just an undeserved second chance?
What Is a Thin Client?
The basic premise of thin client computing is that a number of users can get most of their computing resources (disk and CPU) from a central server and use their local machine just for display and input (keyboard and mouse). This lets cheap, underpowered computers (or repurposed old computers) be put on each user's desktop. Each of these then connect to a more powerful central server to run applications. In the purest thin client scenario the client computers are diskless and even boot an operating system over the network via the thin client server, which begs the question: How is Linux especially suited for this purpose?
Why Thin Client Linux Works
Thin client Linux works for two reasons. First, almost accidentally, Linux does a great job of separating application data (or "shareable data," as it's sometimes called) from user data. Application data is the general configuration of an application needed to make it work for all users (for example, the set of standard document templates in OpenOffice). User data is the configuration information that's changed by and specific to each individual user. The user's custom dictionary in OpenOffice is an example. Web browser bookmarks are another example. I say "almost accidentally" because Linux, like Unix, was designed as a secure multiuser system and the separation of application data grew out of that design. This system encourages individual users to run in their own environment with access only to their own individual portion of the file system. Applications that don't store user data in each individual user's portion of the file system simply don't work on Linux. This creates a strong incentive for application developers to develop their applications to separate user data from application data. Another contributing factor is the fact that a central "registry" for application data came late to the Linux world. This allowed the developers of the major Linux desktop environments to avoid the problems of the Windows registry by storing the user-specific portions of the registry in the individual user's portion of the file system. For these two reasons virtually all Linux applications store user data correctly. This may seem common sense, but I can assure you the same is not true on the Windows desktop. Large numbers of Windows applications store user data in shared areas (like c:\program files) despite the fact that Windows has been a multiuser system for some time now and Microsoft has greatly discouraged this practice.
The second reason thin client Linux works is that Linux's user interface is built on top of the X Window System, which is client/server based even when running on the same computer. In X Windows terminology, the client (or application) can use the X Window server (the display) to display the desktop, show application windows, access input, etc. Although the names client and server are reversed in the X Windows/thin client terminology, this is exactly what a thin client requires. The ability to display an application that's being run on a central server on a remote client computer is fundamental to thin client computing and is built into Linux through X Windows.
These two aspects of the Linux architecture significantly reduce the effort required to develop thin client solutions based on Linux. Let's take a look at some of the current solutions available.
Thin client implementations currently available range from documents that cobble together publicly available tools (see http://trieste.linux.it/documenti/ThinClient.html, for example) to full-blown commercial thin client packages that include both hardware and software.
The most well-known thin client solution for Linux is the Linux Terminal Server Project or LTSP (www.ltsp.org), a mature Open Source project that installs on a Linux server and lets you boot Linux clients via a number of different methods including PXE, which is supported by most modern network cards. LTSP relies on the X Windows protocol and NFS, a protocol for sharing files over the network that provides thin client support. To install LTSP on a client you must build a special client kernel (or use one of the pre-compiled ones that are supplied). LTSP can be a little difficult to set up but projects based on LTSP that simplify setup are already popping up. The Norwegian Skolelinux ("skole" means "school") is LTSP with expanded documentation and a simplified installation.
There are a number of other Linux-based thin client solutions. PXES (http://pxes.sourceforge.net) is a "micro" Linux distribution that can be used to access a thin client server using the X Windows protocol (like LTSP) as well as a number of other protocols including VNC, which is a remote control protocol originally developed by AT&T and available on Linux.
Another project that has drawn some interest lately is Ndiyo! (pronounced nn-dee-yo). It's attempting to develop an "ultra-thin" client (video and Ethernet adapter) that can eventually be incorporated directly into a monitor. Ndiyo! is an effort of Newnham Research in the UK (www.newnhamresearch.com/). It's not ready for enterprise deployment but stay tuned.
|SijiSunny 04/24/06 07:59:54 AM EDT|
I am siji Sunny from C-DAC Mumbai working with OpenSource Research And Development and now I am working with Thin Client machines with Indian Language support in Client side and I had did it
|SijiSunny 04/24/06 07:59:37 AM EDT|
I am siji Sunny from C-DAC Mumbai working with OpenSource Research And Development and now I am working with Thin Client machines with Indian Language support in Client side and I had did it
|dtmilano 06/15/05 12:17:21 PM EDT|
PXES Universal Linux Thin Client I:
PXES Universal Linux Thin Client II:
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,583
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,188
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,221
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 817
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,415
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,612
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 27, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,220
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,178
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 27, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,176
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,467
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 1,448
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,275
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,341
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,174
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,125
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,579
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,698
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,588
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,714
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,742