Thin Clients; Opportunity for ROS?

Here you can discuss ReactOS related topics.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Could ReactOS be used as a thin client os?

Yes!
14
50%
No!
4
14%
Maybe!
10
36%
 
Total votes: 28

tomleem
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:59 pm
Location: New Hampshire of United States of America
Contact:

Thin Clients; Opportunity for ROS?

Post by tomleem » Mon May 08, 2006 2:28 pm

"By John G. Spooner ... Thin Clients II: The Comeback ....David Foss needed new computers, stat. As the CIO at New London Hospital in New London, N.H., Foss had to devise a method for replacing the facility's entire aging fleet of desktop PCs while better securing its sensitive patient data, easing the systems management load on its technology department and gaining a solid return on the investment. ... :
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1958716,00.asp

Would ReactOS be perfect for a thin client? ROS is small yet fast. It would seem like it would be ideal for a thin client (as opposed to the OS leader with its huge Win software).

What do you think? (inquiring minds want to know :) ).
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tom Lee M / BigGoofyGuy
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

rastilin
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:26 pm

Post by rastilin » Mon May 08, 2006 3:04 pm

For this task which requires speed and reliability I would be hesitant to recommend the incomplete ReactOS. Personally I would go with a Gentoo system with a centralised LTSP server like here..

http://www.gentoo.org/news/en/gwn/20050 ... letter.xml

They never got the openmosix idea working but if the hospital has better hardware and is willing to disconnect the shutdown button on the individual clients it's possible to make a powerful and reliable system. A network mounted partition through a boot script, possibly through loopback on a remove drive, would be trivial at this point, even encrypted partitions through the encrypted loopback.

Wierd
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:12 am

Post by Wierd » Mon May 08, 2006 5:42 pm

I turned win98SE into a thin-client about 5 years ago using ISOLINUX and MEMDISK.

The system needed a CDROM drive (But ISOLINUX supports PXE, so this isnt a steadfast requirement), and 256+32mb of RAM.

ISO linux+Memdisk would load a 256mb disk image from the CDrom, which was a drivespace2 compressed FAT volume. (With it in RAM, you dont even notice, since the redundant reading imposed by Drivespace is moot when dealing with RAM access speeds compared to HDD read speeds.) This compressed volume was sufficient to hold pretty near 512mb of data (Ultra-pack method), and was sufficient to house a basic install of win98SE, IE5.5, and a networked install of MS office.

By setting the network options to "Log in across an NT domain", you can get the thin client to execute a user-specific login script stored on their local domain controller, and set up all their network folders and such very easily. Since the thin client itself doesnt even need an HDD drive, and since the boot image is read only, there is no possible way for the client to become irreparably damaged, short of them scratching the bottom of their disk all up. (Or 'losing' it)... By switching to PXE, it would take longer for the client to boot since it would have to TFTP the 256mb disk image to each client (OUCH! I imagine a large enterprise server having to dish out 500 such requests all at once at 8 AM...) but it would eliminate the need for a CDrom drive inside the thin client machine, and would make it totally immune to disaster short of the server self-destructing.


I did this little experement for "Shits and Giggles", since I was bored and wanted to see what I could do with Memdisk when I heard about it. I keep the win98 thin-booter I created for use in real emergencies, as an "Instant workstation". (EG, all my hard drives crash and burn, and make the clang of death sound.. So I need a diskless workstation ASAP, etc.) You mentioned thin clients, so I brought it up.

oiaohm
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:40 am

Post by oiaohm » Tue May 09, 2006 10:16 am

Reactos stands a chance for thin termal work but. A real but. Unlikely to have a small enough memory foot print against the Linux thin clients. Under 8 meg requirements. Or Dos clients under 4 meg.

Thick client work like Drbl (diskless remote boot linux). Would be a better target. IP6 support does make Drbl run better. Network filesystem support required. Reduces required image size as well.

The Ltsp is hybred thin and thick.

Pure thin push in most cases to much load back on the server.

Thin has its advantages at times when it comes to secuirty. Some thing run better on the server.

Old argument Linux not for desktop. Its a threat and a half since the Linux desktops are the best they have ever been. If the LSB changes work market could be really small.

Question are we targeting thin or thick clients. Ie thick clients run applications themself. Thin clients only run the interface rest happens on the server.

tomleem
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:59 pm
Location: New Hampshire of United States of America
Contact:

Win compatible?

Post by tomleem » Tue May 09, 2006 7:27 pm

Since ROS is a Win clone, would this not give ROS an advantage over Linux or DOS? :?:

8)
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tom Lee M / BigGoofyGuy
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wierd
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:12 am

Post by Wierd » Wed May 10, 2006 12:10 am

oiaohm wrote:Reactos stands a chance for thin termal work but. A real but. Unlikely to have a small enough memory foot print against the Linux thin clients. Under 8 meg requirements. Or Dos clients under 4 meg.

Thick client work like Drbl (diskless remote boot linux). Would be a better target. IP6 support does make Drbl run better. Network filesystem support required. Reduces required image size as well.

The Ltsp is hybred thin and thick.

Pure thin push in most cases to much load back on the server.

Thin has its advantages at times when it comes to secuirty. Some thing run better on the server.

Old argument Linux not for desktop. Its a threat and a half since the Linux desktops are the best they have ever been. If the LSB changes work market could be really small.

Question are we targeting thin or thick clients. Ie thick clients run applications themself. Thin clients only run the interface rest happens on the server.
ROS's architechture is not suitable for your description of a thin client. Personally, I consider a thin client to be a network distributable image that is both small, and doesnt require a perminent storage device on the operation host. EG-- A small image is transferred, booted, then network volumes are accessed for all further storage needs.

A Thick client would need some form of perminent storage device on hand for doing its tasks.

As for the argument about "Linux desktops arent a good idea", is because the Linux kernel was never designed with fancy graphics in mind. I dont care how magickal the linux desktop is, it still is a kludge around Xserver in my mind, and will always have inherant problems because of that. Further, the *nix way of handling files is a bit obtuse. While you can get used to it, the idea of treating everything like a file in a unified directory tree structure is a bit "Old" (Talking, Unix and Mosix old--- 1960s and 70s old). Throw into that the fact that 90+% of desktop users use windows, and arent going to be able to handle a smooth switch to a linux desktop (and would most certainly not be moved in any positive direction toward its better features, over the obtuseness just mentioned), I feel that the linux desktop will never take off.

ReactOS is much more likely to steal the FOSS desktop before Linux does, despite Linux's MASSIVE head start, simply because it is looks, feels, and runs like windows.

oiaohm
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:40 am

Post by oiaohm » Wed May 10, 2006 3:04 am

Thick client is DRBL http://drbl.sourceforge.net/. No local harddrive at all processing done on client. All server is a harddrive source.

Difference between Think and Thin is where the processing is done.

It a Microsoft IDEA that think clients have to have hardrives. Windows 3.11 and Windows 95 Both can be ran as think clients. Windows 95 lacks a operational network filesystem on boot so it has to use a heck load of memory for a disk image ie slow. Windows 3.11 could run directly off the fileserver with a ramdisk for swapfile. No local permit storage required.

MS removed the support for booting from Network filesystems. Put that back and you have a Thick client in the class of DRBL. Ie what one are you talking about thick or thin.

Hmm Unix single tree. Why does everything lead away in a single tree for the user from the desktop on Windows.

Its the Administators that don't handle the switch to well to Linux. Users I have seen swap over in hours getting them to swap back requires a program or two not on Linux. Reason Linux Start Menu is simpler to find ones way around open desktop project defines it next version of LSB will demard it to be LSB compad. Nice ordered and neat memu tree.

You do realize that drives ie a: b: c: predate UNIX and the Single tree filesystem. Becareful when you say something is old and out of date and you are using something older.

Its really shows that you have not used a recent Linux desktop. In the last two years. A upto date desktop you have drives. Insert a cd/usb key auto mounts. Also drives appear in a my computer like system. Note the system admin can ever choose how that is displays. Ie Unix great big tree can be choped in to small sections where every you want and appear as drives with the new desktops. Its all down to adminstator configuring the desktop.

Linux kernel not build for fancy graphics?? No it is build for fancy graphics NVIDIA keep on refusing to suport the interface DRI and use their own.

Basicly dig head out sand as see that Linux is not as week as it first appears. Lack of closed source software/hardware support its biggest bug bear. Secound user interface for Admin. There is nothing wrong with current user interface for user. Gnome 2.14 is actually responcive. 2.12 is not. And Gnome 2.16 will have vector graphics before the end of this year. Features of Vistia desktop interface are all ready there. Ie we have a big catchup in desktop interface. Reactos is not close to either in features.

When it comes to pure thin clients Linux rocks. Dos can be a little to hard to get network drivers. Reactos will most likely not be even in the fight.

As a thick client or hybred thick-thin client the advantage of being able to run windows apps appears even that is not that great if the require apps run in Wine. Lower memory usage compad to Linux running Wine might get Reactos somewhere.

Really compat Linux thin clients run in 2 meg ram and under 3 meg of Image. Really compact Dos thin clients run in 640kb ram and under 400 kb of image. Linux thin clients are still classed as bloated. Asking for over 8 megs for a thin clients is insane comes too expenive to embed into flash chips. Note 3 meg image Linux thin clients can fit on the end of alot of motherboard Bois chips thinking alot have 8 megs of bois with only around 700 kb used. Heck Delete the Bois on some motherboard replace it with a compact Linux only Bois with the thin client tacked on. By by boot from floppy on anything else really locked down no cmos access at all. Then with network time server you can even pull the cmos battery of the motherboard because it will never be needed. Remove another major cause of failure from the thin client as well. Ie no harddrive no battery. Only ram processor or motherboard lot simpler to look after. It scarry how many thin clients are stuffed because the cmos battery leaks in old machines this can be higher than ram faults.

Note 4 and 8 meg requirements is with added on features. 4 megs of ram and 4 megs of transfer to startup max for Dos. 8 megs of ram and 8 megs of transfer to startup max for Linux. Raw memory image dumps.

Basicly Reactos does not make the grade at this time most likely never will for Thin Client work. Too large for thin client work. It will not fit in a lot of Bois chips for reduced network load on startup.

Reactos as a thin termal client server that will work. Not going to work as a thin client itself. Better off using Reactos as Hybred or Thick large size and memory usage is tolerated.

---
Know you competion. Target where you can do better.

Wierd
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:12 am

Post by Wierd » Wed May 10, 2006 7:52 am

Actually, No.

Linux KERNEL is not built with graphics, or ANYTHING-- other than data processing in mind. X Server is made with graphics in mind. I can take the lastes, greatest fangle-dangled linux kernel, drop on BASH for the initial console, and BOOM. Fulling functional linux kernel.

The kernel doesnt care a hill of beans. While you CAN switch to a graphics mode (If your console supports it) by accessing the framebuffer directly, or by passing some VESA mode information (This is how Tux penguin shows up) this is a very far cry from the API support newer kernel architechtures like oh....... the NT kernel... Have for graphics modes. Unix was never meant to be a desktop OS. Linux has its roots DEEPLY embedded in Unix, and suffers this same problem.


Now-- About the Unix VS CP/M(DOS) Filesystem...

CP/M - Been around since approx 1974. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M)
Unix- Been around since approx 1969 (http://www.levenez.com/unix/history.html#01)

Unix is older by about 5 years.

NT kernel shed Windows's CP/M roots almost entirely, and the heirarchal FS view displayed is more for the user than for the OS itself. NT kernel uses other means internally. Last I checked, Linux still did things the Unix way, all the way down.

As you can tell from the history I linked to, Unix was never intended for desktops. It is strictly a server platform, and was designed to process data and serve files, and do so securely. To use an analogy--- A matchbox is designed to hold matches. Slapping rubber tires and a steering wheel on it doesnt make it a car, no matter how much paint you put on it. --- Simmilarly, you shouldnt use a car as a matchbox either.

The robustness of Unix (and its decendant, Linux) for server processing lends immense strength to it for that application. (Which is why it can use a thin client-- It is actually MEANT to be accessed remotely in such a manner.) In contrast, NT kernel is slow, chunky, does needless processing that isnt associated with network tasks, and is just ill-suited for a streamlined network server(And likewise, as a thin client). Linux and Unix can litterally leave an NT server with identical hardware in the dust doing fileserving and network processing, because their architectures are streamlined for server processing, and NT kernel is designed to host a desktop. The "Way" the OS does something is fundementally more important than the fact that "It does" do something.

A matchbox with wheels is not a car even though it moves; A car does not make a good matchbox either, despite being able to put stuff inside.

"A server OS is not a desktop OS, even though it has a GUI; A desktop OS does not make a good Server OS either, despite being able to run 'services'."

They have different priorities, and they should remain that way.

Linux == DAMN FINE server platform, because that is what it copied. (Linus Torvalds made a better Unix. Unix is a server platform, through and through.)

NT kernel== A DAMN FINE Desktop platform, because that is what it was designed for. It uses some Unixisms for security, but is otherwise its own thing.

The only way I will ever use a Linux workstation (as my primary environment) is if I am forced into doing so, for whatever reason. Last time I checked, this goes against the FOSS principal. I am MUCH more excited about ReactOS, and its being an NT clone, then I EVER will be about Linux's so called "Desktop" agenda. While I suppose it is possible Linux might get some utility as a graphical workstation, I wouldnt get my hopes up about ousting Windows's dominance in that area.

If you ask me, there are several "Desktops" that "Run on linux". Not "A linux desktop." EG-- Gnome, Blackbox, KDE ................ .........

The only thing holding those desktops to Linux, is the fact that linux doesnt have a native one, and inertia. KDE is even making a win32 port. Will it oust the windows GUI? Doubtful.... There are more alternative shells for windows than you can shake a stick at.... But I havent seen any major market penetration there either.

Long story short--- I feel ReactOS with a blindfold and handcuffs has a better chance than "Desktop on Linux" does for ousting the Microsoft desktop.

You can think of it this way:

Linux is to Unix is to servers,
Like Reactos is to Windows, is to desktops.

Linux has more market share than Unix does for servers anymore. Perhaps, ReactOS will have simmilar results by using the same paradigm. (Being a free and better version of their predecessor)

Matthias
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:43 am

Post by Matthias » Wed May 10, 2006 10:29 am

That is Bullshit! I use _only_ Linux on my desktop, and i can tell you that it works better that windows right now! Also, Windows NT was _not_ meant to be a desktop OS, it was meant to replace UNIX initially and only later on (e. g. with Windows XP) it made it to th desktop market. Just don't talk about things you don't understand.

oiaohm
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:40 am

Post by oiaohm » Wed May 10, 2006 1:14 pm

Weird is more just talking about not understanding stuff.
Now-- About the Unix VS CP/M(DOS) Filesystem...

CP/M - Been around since approx 1974. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M)
Unix- Been around since approx 1969 (http://www.levenez.com/unix/history.html#01)

Unix is older by about 5 years
You really think that drives with letters started with CP/M this is the best laugh I have had in a while. The OS that Unix cloned had drives with letters. Ie its like the wheel no one is sure who invented it is too old. VFS used by Linux and UNIX was clased as a waste of processor power. When your computers only run a 1 mhz it is a waste.

DRI access gets preference over console operations. It is a smart move to disable DRI if you are using a server for fileserving because you will be slowing stuff down. Now don't you wish you could do that with Windows tell it not to give prefence to the Desktop or to Give Prefence to the Desktop. Ie processors that X11 uses when DRI is enabled for drawing to screen are processed in the kernel itself. The highest Nice level you could ever ask for. Reason way there is HTTP server that embeds into the Linux kernel as well and its not apache. www.x.org and www.xfree86.org both link threw to the kernel. www.x.org is being used more because it explots the extra power of the kernel mode better. Same also applys to sound.

Linux is built with a fail safe. A console. You really notice the difference when you don't have kernel accelerated X11.

Note is the intrd executable that starts the bash. Its optional to start a console at all on Linux just like its optional to start X11. I have had web boxs with web admin without a console at all. Not all Linux distros start consoles. Some prototype intrds don't even use bash or a scripting lang. They just start the demons. Bit like the windows startup process. Its up to the persons who makes and install the distro if you will have a console at all if it will even enable framebuffer at all. The framebuffer tux is optional. You find webservers and fileservers run faster without it. Framebuffer and DRI are tweeks to make the users siting at the linux life better.

Everything under linux is optional. This does not mean if you are using something that it will be sharing the processoer power evenly with everything else.

http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/ The Linux desktop. A stack of standards. All desktops on Linux will have to obey these rules. A Desktop will not be a Linux desktop if it does not obey. This is part of the LSB project. Linux United into one force. This is what MS and Reactos is facing.

The menus are formated X way the Desktop screen is formated X way. Ie everything the same.

I can tell you know that KDE on Windows will not get that far. Really. Its based on cygwin its too slow. Main reason so all KDE applications can run on Windows even If a little slow.

I am sick of seeing people speeking the MS confernce line. I hear it enough when I attend. It has so many mistakes.

Unix was not attentend for Desktop. Linux has alterations that make it suited for Desktop. They are two different fish hidden under the same color skin.

frik85
Developer
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:48 pm
Location: Austria, Europe
Contact:

Post by frik85 » Wed May 10, 2006 1:29 pm

oiaohm wrote:Now don't you wish you could do that with Windows tell it not to give prefence to the Desktop or to Give Prefence to the Desktop.

This is possible in ReactOS & the WinNT (XP, 2k, etc.) serie too. You can specific the cmd.exe as your default "shell", or anything else.
oiaohm wrote:Note is the intrd executable that starts the bash. Its optional to start a console at all on Linux just like its optional to start X11. I have had web boxs with web admin without a console at all. Not all Linux distros start consoles.
In general that would be possible in ros/wnt too.

Coviti
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:26 am

Post by Coviti » Wed May 10, 2006 3:54 pm

Actually, Wierd is mostly correct. Linux is better for a server than a desktop, and Windows is better for a desktop than a server. You may not like it, but Linux has qualities that make it's server abilities better than Windows, and Windows has qualities that make it's desktop abilities better then Linux. That's it. Flame me all you want but it won't change my opinion. (I hope nobody would be that mean! :D)

Wierd
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:12 am

Post by Wierd » Wed May 10, 2006 6:16 pm

Matthias wrote:That is Bullshit! I use _only_ Linux on my desktop, and i can tell you that it works better that windows right now! Also, Windows NT was _not_ meant to be a desktop OS, it was meant to replace UNIX initially and only later on (e. g. with Windows XP) it made it to th desktop market. Just don't talk about things you don't understand.
Uhm? What ARE you smoking? That has to be some GOOD stuff!

NT was first built to oust OS/2, which was IBM's competing DESKTOP. While microsoft was purporting it as a server OS, Even old version of windows NT had a desktop that rivaled the primary consumer market one. I ran NT4 workstation for a LOOOONG time in fact. It was MADE to have a GUI from the get-go.

Matthias
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:43 am

Post by Matthias » Wed May 10, 2006 9:01 pm

Wierd wrote:NT was first built to oust OS/2, which was IBM's competing DESKTOP. While microsoft was purporting it as a server OS, Even old version of windows NT had a desktop that rivaled the primary consumer market one. I ran NT4 workstation for a LOOOONG time in fact. It was MADE to have a GUI from the get-go.
If WinNT was meant to be a desktop OS, why were most computers shipped with Win95/98/ME until Windows XP was released? Why didn't they put the graphics subsystem into the kernel right from the beginning, but only with NT 4.0? Why didn't it support USB until Win2k, even though Win95 OSR2 supported that? Why didn't Windows NT have proper DirectX support until Win2k?
Heck, Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD, which is which is a direct UNIX descendant, but still Mac OS X is one of the better desktop systems around after all i've heard. The idea of a kernel being "optimized" for home or server use is BS, as you can see from the Mac OS X example.
Coviti wrote:Actually, Wierd is mostly correct. Linux is better for a server than a desktop, and Windows is better for a desktop than a server. You may not like it, but Linux has qualities that make it's server abilities better than Windows, and Windows has qualities that make it's desktop abilities better then Linux. That's it. Flame me all you want but it won't change my opinion. (I hope nobody would be that mean! :D)
You have probably never seriously used Linux. I do, and it works just as well as, if not better than, windows. The installation is much easier if you use Distributions such as Fedora, Mandriva, Suse or (K)ubuntu.

Also Windows isn't half bad for servers. IIS has been insecure for years, but those times are over and nowadays you have powerful technologies on IIS, like .NET which is very well integrated into IIS. There is a reason why for example eBay runs Windows servers...

Coviti
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:26 am

Post by Coviti » Wed May 10, 2006 9:09 pm

Matthias wrote:You have probably never seriously used Linux. I do, and it works just as well as, if not better than, windows. The installation is much easier if you use Distributions such as Fedora, Mandriva, Suse or (K)ubuntu.

Also Windows isn't half bad for servers. IIS has been insecure for years, but those times are over and nowadays you have powerful technologies on IIS, like .NET which is very well integrated into IIS. There is a reason why for example eBay runs Windows servers...
You're right actually. I haven't used Linux since I tried Debian (Bad idea!) and SuSE, and neither would work properly once installed. I know it is possible for Linux to be a desktop OS. However, the majority of people who want a Desktop OS want simple! Windows=Simple. The majority of people who would even use a server OS would be advanced enough to use Linux, and would prefer it for it's vast benefits over Windows.

I am, however, as I speak (or type), downloading ISOs for Slackware, Ubuntu, KNOPPIX, Debian (Again), and any other free distros I can find. Yes, I have plenty of blank CDs to waste! ;)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DotBot [Crawler], Joshua Smith and 3 guests