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Developer(s)Donald A. Cupp Jr. Tobias Paepke
Stable release
6.2.2 / 2019-11-11
Operating systemLinux
TypeThin client Software
LicenseGNU General Public License

Thinstation is a free and open source Linux implementation of a thin client operating system. It only requires standard PC hardware and can boot directly from the network via PXE or Etherboot from a TFTP server, or from local devices such as Hard disks, CompactFlash drives, USB keyrings and CD/DVDs. The minimum requirement is an i686 class CPU and RAM dependent on the intended use, typically 64–256 MB.

From version 6.0, Thinstation will only support 64 bit processors. [1]

Technical specifications[edit]

Thinstation is a standalone system, that does not require any modification of the server as long as the server accepts remote client connections. This is true for:

  • Microsoft Windows Server (2000, 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2) using RDP via rdesktop and FreeRDP.
  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 versions for single user login (Remote desktop).
  • Citrix servers using ICA
  • Linux, Unix servers using X (XDMCP), NX (NoMachine, FreeNx, 2X, Neatx), ThinLinc (Cendio), View Open client (VMware), SSH, Telnet and other text terminals.

Even a light standalone desktop is available with Mozilla Firefox and some other basic application like editors and file managers. A web kiosk is a standard solution too.

A Thinstation boot image can be created in two ways (really only one with two paths).

  • You can download the development environment with the DevStation Installer, which will set up a nice build system for you on real hardware or a virtual machine that runs on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, or a Unix computer.
  • You can clone the development environment to an installed Linux Distro of your choice.

Comparison with LTSP[edit]

Thinstation resembles Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) but:

  • unlike LTSP, Thinstation is independent of NFS (Network File System) – although NFS can also be supported.
  • unlike LTSP, Thinstation supports non-Linux servers such as Microsoft Windows and Citrix.
  • LTSP comes integrated with several Linux distributions whereas Thinstation is an independent project.


Thinstation started as a fork of Netstation in May 2003, hosted on SourceForge. It was originated by Miles Roper from New Zealand and joined by Paolo Salvan (Italy) and Mike Eriksen (Denmark). Shortly after Trevor Batley (Australia) joined the core staff, contributing TS-O-Matic and was the project leader of ver. 2.3, that didn't materialize. Marcos Amorim (Brazil) is heading a future version based on OpenEmbedded. The present version 5 is developed mainly by Donald A. Cupp Jr. (USA) and is based on Crux Linux ver. 2.7. Tobias Paepke (Germany) joined the development of ver. 5.

Press reviews[edit]

  • IDG On-line Magazine Techworld (2007) (in Swedish)
  • C't Computer Magazine, issue 3, page 202–205 (2007) (in German).
  • Linux Magazine Especial, issue 02 (July), page 67–72 (2007) (in Brazilian Portuguese).
  • IXBT Web Magazine (2009) (in Russian).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ThinStation by Donald A. Cupp Jr".

External links[edit]