Linux along with many leading industry organizations are pushing for the use of Linux desktop operating systems as the preferred choice of computer at home and at work. A thin client can best be described as a device that is connected to the server rather than the actual desktop. Linux thin clients are able to run on Windows or Linux based applications and are considered far more affordable, manageable, reliable and secure than many other computer based configurations. They also offer text or browser based applications on Java. Thin Clients essentially function as a network device, thus making it so much easier to configure, manage and upgrade your desktop.
Linux servers are now the most commonly used by IT departments around the world and are therefore, extremely popular and well understood by these IT departments. You can adopt the additional network services that Linux Thin Clients offer fairly easily and this will save on both costs and time. Another great reason to use these thin clients is the security aspect. By having a normal Linux desktop PC you are vulnerable to attacks, security intrusions and viruses. However, a thin client will not even contemplate housing these types of security invasions. Additionally they will remain in a locked down configuration and therefore no software or other peripherals can cause you security threats.
Linux thin clients can also be considered amongst the most reliable devices. Most usual PCs will have a number of moving parts which may include a hard drive, fans, floppy drive or a CD ROM. These are, or course, not present in your thin client. Although the total cost of ownership may work out cheaper for a Windows based PC, you must remember that thin clients will save businesses a lot of money on licensing and migration. You can also easily integrate Linux into your current corporate infrastructure. You may also find that Linux will save you far more money down the line and in the long run. You will literally have no need to upgrade software or hardware for at least 3-5 years and there is also absolutely no need to worry about the expense of desktop administrators.
Although Linux thin clients provide affordability, reliability and are secure, they may not be for everyone. Business desktops are typically used by 5 different types of people, namely – Transaction workers, workers with basic knowledge, technical workstations, more advanced and knowledgeable workers and those at a kiosk. Therefore you can quite clearly see that each individual desktop worker will have a unique set of requirements. Therefore a Linux Thin Client may suffice for some of the workers, but not all. A transaction worker will have perfect access to applications such as help desk, order entry, inventories and customer service. However, a technical workstation user will be limited by the lack of vertical applications contained with Linux. Unfortunately Thin Clients are just not the right type of desktop for vertical markets and Windows is proving to be a far more popular and well positioned choice.
Thin clients are well suited to the knowledge workers. They are great for functions such as accounts clerks, line managers, field sales and any form of remote support. These users will definitely benefit from the secure and reliable access that is offered. Linux thin clients are also great for occasional workers to us. By providing a fixed set of applications and required information, an occasional worker has access to a far more secure and yet sustainable desktop.
One of the most popular and recent thin clients is the Devon IT TC5X/XW. It offers up to 2GB each of RAM and DOM, plus you also have access to gigabit Ethernet and even optional Wi-Fi. The majority of Devon IT thin clients actually use their own Linux derived operating systems known as DeTOS (Devon terminal operating system). The Devon has a processor of 1.6GHz Atom, N270. The display supports dual displays via DVI-D and DVI-I connectors and the resolutions are up to 1920 x 1200.
It is also important to mention Symbio when talking about Linux Thin Clients. They specialize in redeploying as diskless workstations. A number of years ago they actually called foul play on Dell and HP for their recycling attempts. These two giants of the computing industry believed they would sell more PCs and thin clients if these diskless workstations were removed from the marketplace. However they should not be taken for granted and without doubt still form an integral part in the world of computers and desktops.