Talk:Thin client/Archive 1

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ARCHIVE MADE ON 29/12/2006

ARTICLE: Thin client

CURRENT TALK: Talk:Thin client


Removed thethin.net due to it being an advertising link that provided very limited information. Removed the cliency link due to a dead link.

Advantages/Disadvantages[edit]

I notice the only disadvantage listed is that a 100mbit network is needed to provide a suitable alternative for a local hard drive. What of the deleterious effect on the whole user experience of the much reduced and highly variable available processing power? It's a good idea, but I fear that the very cost pressures that drive an institution to install a pile of minimal-processing thin clients in place of regular PCs may knock on to the networking infrastructure and server clock cycles available to have them efficiently provide for even an average user's needs, never mind someone using them for a demanding task.

Personal experience of this - the college which I attend for work-related training offers computer facilities in their libraries, and the vast majority of terminals are thin terminals about the size of a VHS case running Citrix Metaframe, dwarfed by their increasingly aged CRT monitors. I know it's the wrong language for this kind of reference document, but they are bloody horrible. My current laptop is an old pentium 60 that i bought as a contingency stop-gap for about the price of a tank of gas (for such an item it's had a good run, 18 months while i save up funds for a truly worthwhile new model)... the Citrix clients allegedly have 800mhz, 1Ghz or even higher processors (Celeron? IDT? Cyrix? Transmeta? my information runs dry at this point, but going by the lack of noise I'd say they don't have chip fans) installed. But going by the comparative response time and easiness of the user experience (whether or not i'm likely to start shouting FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, COME ON!!!! at the screen within a half hour, in a public library!), waiting for the librarian to look away so I can sneakily find a power socket for the old Pentium beats logging on and battling with the thin clients hands down, every time.

I still have to use them if I need internet, printer or email access when at the college, but I try to avoid that if I can as it's an incredibly frustrating experience, particularly when most of the machines are in use (but it's not fantastic even when I'm one of three or four students)... the available processing power, even for the simple task of scrolling up and down through a word, internet or acrobat page, is minimal to borderline - thanks to many users sharing the precious runtime of one or two stressed-out servers, filtered through an otherwise speedy hookup that was nevertheless never supposed to be used as the bus for a bunch of trumped-up video cards - you can almost taste the horizontal tearing on every meticulous redraw. Even typing can feel a bit like a cellphone's predictive text function at times as you wait for Word to catch up. The college seems to have recognised this to a degree and provided a minimal complement of proper, meaty pentium-4 PCs (but as noted - double digit speed pentium-1's would probably suffice) for anyone needing to do more complicated work (e.g. photoshop) or plug in any kind of USB equipment like scanners (the thin clients offer ports, but seem only compatible with floppy disc drives).

Now I'd call that a distinct disadvantage, as it's a distressing barrier to productivity..... If only I could sum it up in a set of four or five bullet points like those advantages :-)

Also - if the network goes down or a server fritzes out, every student in the place could lose their work, as all the programs running remotely suddenly quit (maybe even dropping them right down at the default metaframe / etc logged-out display). With even a minimal-spec fat client, well, the network file share access may go down, but they can at least either keep the opened files on-screen until normal service is resumed, or save temporary local copies to hard disc, CD, flash drive, floppy etc. As noted, the things are useless to theives, as they cannot operate without the umbilical network. I would consider the chance of the network b0rking in this manner several times a year more likely than even a single fat computer "walking", given the experience of a small number of corporate / institutional nets and their security staff.

-Tahrey


Terminology[edit]

Client naming is problematic and ambiguous, because "middle client" mentioned above has almost ten different names. I sugguest this article (and hopefully other wikis) will use the term "hybrid client" and not other variants. This may reduce the confusion and will make it more easy to understand the clients:

  • Thin Client - server processing, server persisting.
  • Hybrid Client - local processing, server persisting.
  • Fat Client - local processing, local persisting.

Client (computing) should explain this.

In my opinion this article should focus on pure thin clients while referring to the hybrid client article, and let Client (computing) do the clients comparison.

--Whadar 22:23, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Your description doesn't match my understanding of these terms. My previous company was dealing with some "thin client" companies (eg. NCD, Wyse), selling CPUs for the local processing. The following is my understanding of the terms:
  • Terminals (dumb=text, smart=graphical) - server processing, server persisting.
  • Thin Client - local processing, server persisting.
  • Fat Client - local processing, local persisting.
Sun Micro (another strong thin client proponent) uses the same nomenclature for their thin clients AFAIK. Dyl 23:41, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
I take back my previous comments - it looks like Wyse uses your definitions (what I called smart terminal). However, I'm pretty sure that Sun uses what I listed. Dyl 23:47, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Sun refer to "Thin client PC" which is just a low profile diskless hardware. Of course, with this PC you can apply local or remote processing. So Sun maybe define "Thin client PC" but not "Thin client architecture"...
  • Thin clinet = Terminal AFAIK.
This is all confusing, but i think the above definitions are more understandable and more widely used.
--Whadar 09:44, 3 August 2006 (UTC)