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Re: Cheap hardware X-terms?
Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Doug Loss wrote:
> > I was remembering from
> > my long-ago days as a ComputerLand hardware tech that most ethernet
> > cards had (and still have) sockets for boot PROMS, which allow them to
> > be seen by the system as bootable devices. That would mean that the
> > system could boot from a boot image file somewhere on the network rather
> > than from a floppy or harddrive in the machine. We used to do this from
> > Novell and IBM networks.
> That kind of technology exists already. A company called Igel makes
> a plug-in ISA card that allows any PC to act as a diskless workstation:
I just took a look at IGEL's stuff. The card you get is a FlashRAM
filesystem with all your code for the thin client operation on-board.
You still need a network card with a boot PROM (I think; they talk about
a 3-card kit which includes the filesystem card, a video card, and an
ethernet card). This would probably boot faster than downloading a boot
image from the local network, but at a cost of 260 Euros each (the only
price I could find). That's too high for most schools.
> > What would it take to develop X-terminal boot PROMs? If we could do
> > something like that, any system could be turned into an X-terminal just
> > by slapping a boot PROM on an ethernet card and installing it.
> Have a look at
Thanks, Evan. I looked at these (especially the last). They seem to be
talking about most of what I'm asking for. Also see:
> I would personally wonder if old systems (ie, 486s that rarely come with
> more than 16MB of RAM) are up to the task of doing decent X service.
> Call up a single mainstream like Netscape or WordPerfect and you're
> swapping like crazy -- and I find the prospect of swapping over a
> network link to be downright chilling.
Why would an X-terminal be swapping? It's not running the program, just
displaying the output and collection keystrokes and mouse events.
All the stuff above is basically about setting up a system as a diskless
workstation that boots from the net. You can have it configure itself
(via file downloads) as an X-terminal, a Windows PC, or whatever. What
I'm curious about is just how much space on the PROM is taken up by the
boot code, and if there's enough room there for a stub OS and an
X-server too. I suspect not, but if so you'd have essentially an
instant-on X-terminal for the cost of a PROM. Please tell me that I'm
way off-base here (if I am).
Doug Loss The difference between the right word and
Data Network Coordinator the almost right word is the difference
Bloomsburg University between lightning and a lightning bug.
email@example.com Mark Twain