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Thin Client

Top level Technology

Linux Thin Client networks allow one or two powerful servers to host applications, displayed on recycled old machines in the classroom.


The "Thin Client" method of computer networking

This is not our technology. It is a well established technology by which old used or donated computers that the kids use (the clients) are used simply as a terminal to access the full computing power of a new and powerful server in the back room as though it were that server.

This has a drastic impact in a school computer lab:

Touch typing

The kids can't ruin the machines

The kids, though they have their own files, their own email, their own desktop environment that they can change to their liking, none of that rests on their terminal - it is all stored on the server. This means that the kids cannot inadvertently reconfigure the machines themselves (like black type on black background, for example), only their private environment is configurable, so they aren't constantly disabling the computers - a maintenance nightmare in regular labs. Also, these terminals that the kids use are interchangeable; if yours burns up in the middle of your 3000 page life story, you simply go to the next terminal, log on, and pick up where you left off without any loss of data because it was all on the server in the back.

The "clients", which are by far the greatest equipment purchase in a lab, can all be really old, used, previous-generation computers. This is because the demands on those machines is so slight that almost any machine will do. The minimum specs on the clients we like to have Pentium 1's, 75Mhz or better, 32meg RAM, and no hard drive (Yes, that's NO hard drive - there goes most of your maintenance problems), but it works well with 486s' also (we have a 486 right next to an 800Mhz P3 in the same lab here in Eshowe, and the computing experience is identical).

Setting up computers

There are lots of computers already accessible to schools.

This means that all those stacks of old computers everywhere that no one knows what to do with are suddenly useful, and saving schools vast amounts of cash that they would normally have to outlay on relatively new equipment so they can run contemporary software.


Theft is a pervasive problem

Theft is also addressed because the extremely cheap and easy to steal client computers cannot function without the server (they do not have their own hard drive) and so are rendered useless outside the Thin-client environment. The one expensive server computer can be easily locked in a "safe" out of sight of the students and accessible only by technicians. Not only are replacement costs very low, but the thief trying to sell these useless client computers will quickly realize there is no market for them, and go elsewhere for his goods.

Operating system


We use LINUX, not WINDOWS.
This means that there are NO licence fees. Windows licence fees can double the price of the lab!
  • Linux is a freely-distributable operating system that has the 20 year pedigree of Unix.
  • For every Windows application, there is a LINUX alternative that for all intents looks and operates the same.
  • A modern Windows installation requires considerable resources at each computer- in a Thin Client setup Investment and upgrading occurs at the Server only, allowing the use of old computers.

Quality of equipment

The Thin-Client network in the lab ensures that each terminal, no matter its own computing characteristics, behaves with all the speed and capability of the server, so each user has an experience of top quality, smooth, fast computing.