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Thinking about a thinclient setup for "Home Use"

I guess this is enterprise gear? Make a thinclient/fatclient section.

So I’m up to my head in projects, but I get a request the other day from my dad about getting a new laptop. Now thats not all bad, but I was thinking about how I might move in the next few months, and how I could start to trim down a lot of the basic small work I have to do.

As well, over all, I can see a lot of positives of using a thinclient setup just for user management around here.

So long story short, have you guys ever set up a thin client network for at your home?
Have you done it with laptops?
What did you use it for?
Is it possible to set up for use outside of the home?

Still early plotting stages so I may not do it but I’m looking into it.

I have a distaste for thin-client machines, so that may be clouding my judgement here, but I do not understand how a thin-client + server arrangement would be a good idea if you are moving away.

If a normal desktop/laptop system has a problem, it usually still results in a functioning machine, whereas a thin-client config issue can result in a unusable brick. A server issue then would mean that all the thin clients become unusable.

Not to mention, would not desktop virtualisation over WiFi for a laptop result in an impressively laggy experience?

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Unless you have deep pockets, things like watching Netflix or YouTube are challenging tasks for a thin client, in my experience.

Is the family comfortable with a FOSS environment already, or just Windows? Microsoft VDT licensing is complex and expensive.

Sorry, for parents and things that are here at the home.

No idea! Probably not.

Thats not really within scope for my folks. They stick to local broadcast television, but do a lot of work stuff for fun.

Parents switched to linux basically when I did because security.

You know, someone posted this (I think in the lounge), and as far as thin clients go? Not shabby at all.

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/14371827525008884418?q=2400ge&rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS668US668&biw=1920&bih=937&prds=opd:1133057265208624130&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjijqi4sPnkAhWNmuAKHbQoABMQhC0ILigA

Edit: Like, 300 bucks for a Ryzen with Vega 11 whatever and all the basics around it? That’s hard to beat. Also… side note, why is the Vega 8 twice the price? I’ll have to look closer when I get home.

JMHO

That’s way too much horsepower for a thin client. The CPU, storage and video capabilities make no difference.

A $99 Intel NUC is a good option. Even the new raspberry 4 would likely work good now that it has a gigabit network interface.

All an enterprise thin client does is connect a mouse and keyboard to a remote session, and output whatever video content it is sent.

OTOH

Maybe a network boot is something to try? The client PC does all the work, but a server could be used to provide a more durable storage environment. Also can be remotely maintained, snapshots used for versioning, etc.

Do you want to use an old laptop or buy new equipment?
Personally, I don’t see much sense in this solution when we talk about home and one user. It will not be fast or especially convenient.

Personally, I would rather consider using an old laptop / pc normally as a stand-alone computer rather than implementing such solutions.

Something must have performance. If not the user’s machine then the server. Network bandwidth also plays a big role.

For business ok but home …

Maybe build something similar to @TeckMonster for a different purpose. :wink:
https://forum.level1techs.com/t/building-a-x86-handheld-gaming-pc/

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Those PC sticks are cheap, but they lack any kinda of power and they have eMMC storage which can give spinning rust a run for it’s money for slowest read/writes.

I need to update that thread

To be completely honest, I don’t know much about networking, and I don’t know the 1st thing about thinclient, but If you’re looking for a new affordable laptop I cannot recommend the Acer Aspire 5 slim enough.

Not a reference link (if for some reason anyone cares)

It has a true NVMe SSD (not the one in the picture) out of the box with room to add a 2.5" HDD or SSD. I added another stick of RAM right away, but it comes with 1 4gb stick.

It also has gigabit ethernet, and can even play a bit older AAA titles.

This is the remastered Elder Scrolls Skyrim.

Here’s a cinebench score, but ignore that top score… no idea what happened the first time I ran it. (wasn’t expecting to share this so it’s not a proper screenshot)

1st run

For a $300 laptop I’ve been floored with how good it is. I hope this helps, and if you have more questions about feel free to ask, I’ve already received 2 for my family, and I’m thinking about getting another. Haha

@wendell maybe something to review?

Not really the best idea. In these cases I think it would have been better to just have a laptop setup and it be individual based not a managed user setup. It can be a pain to upgrade those and its probably wiser to let the user manage his or her own system

Sounds like this thread is more along the lines of running a fat client off of remote storage.

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Alternatively, you can think of something like https://turbo.net or similar… PortableApps, Cameyo, VMware ThinApp, rollApp, ThinStation, Microsoft Application Virtualization, Roozz, Thincast.

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In terms of performance, rather sufficient as a thinclient. Although personally I still do not see a special sense in such a solution at home.

You’re not wrong. The $99 NUC is a sensible thin client. The Pi 4 probably will be a good choice in the near future if not already - I think there’s a bit of work on the software side still getting ironed out. Not sure.

I’m just floored by what you can get for $300 these days. You don’t need a server at all unless you’re in need of some supreme storage.

Not sure where opensource efforts have lead, but either way (open source or used Enterprise) its not easy. I have not been impressed at work at the complexities even Enterprise (with support) contends with. Get to know teradici and check out their used gear if you can use Enterprise software like VMWare with Horizon. I’d love to see what open source has to offer. There was a long winded youtube vid of a guy supposedly setting up an open source thin client (or maybe zero client) small business setup, but it was more him being a typical IT hot bag of air and less actual ‘how to actually do it’.

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And that’d be great if the user didn’t know how to also break the systems in a fantastical manner lol.

Your parents break Linux? What distro do they run? Do you have them going bleeding edge for no reason?

Legitimate questions because there are stable versions of software out there.

That being said if your gonna do thin client… centos 8 + fedora minimal images with a pxe boot would be the best way IMHO to do it. Just because they are based on the rhel style model which has a boat ton of support out on the web

Teradici and their pcoip are interesting but you have to invest a little $ and it is unlikely to be suitable for a mobile solution outside the home. But this is obviously one of the options for OP to consider.

You can also think of ThinStation. Or buy a cheap SBC (Pi3, Pi4, Odroid XU4) and use WTware.
But imho is not ideal for gaming / multimedia. Typical lag for a remote desktop and very poor performance for video.
I would rather not treat it as an alternative to regular pc / lap.

Of course you can do a lot in this topic, as even Wendell showed, but there is always $ in the background. If we add various cloud services to this, the question arises whether it makes sense.

https://wtware.com https://winterminal.com
https://thinstation.github.io/thinstation

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Nope, ubuntu. Old driver issues tho

Make regular backups and simply restore the system when it goes down. :wink: