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Re: [school-discuss] Ubiquity

It seems to me the better route would be to build a portable NX client, and run FreeNX on the servers, at least for remote access. VNC is great because it requires just a minimal client. But in my experience, it doesn't scale up very well on the server side; that is, the server starts to buckle when you get more than a handful of VNC users connected. (The number will vary depending on the server's hardware, but the point is the VNC server is fairly resource intensive.)

NX is encrypted, works well over dial-up (better than VNC), and can maintain persistence between sessions.


lee wrote:

... or "Delivering consistent application experiences everywhere."


... Does LTSP have a VNC Java browser client?

... Is there a way to key sessions to users in LTSP so the session is persistent? That is, if a LTSP terminal bombs (VNC, PLE-bootable, etc.) can a user log back into the same X session?

I ask b/c I've just taken a 2nd look @ VNC. VNC has long had a Java applet component pushed from the VNC server & w/ VNC, the X desktop is persistent.

Which brings up another question: How restrictive is Java availability? Would it be reasonable to expect a reasonably-young version of Java to be available on 95% of the browsers a student might run into?

WRT to security, UltraVNC has been around for 3-4 years w/ some very interesting VNC-oriented SSL & VPN-ish tools available (hmmm, & maybe some of which might have their own compression functions like ssh...). The bandwidth issue is less a concern in the USA, and the various VNC projects have done a lot to compress packets.

I hope I don't come across as too dismissive of the bootable CD ... or the VPN USB portable apps ... they have their place, but I'm trying to evaluate where they'll have their limitations when restrictive environments. Each solution -- AJaX (fat, slow), SimDesk (proprietary), VNC/persistent LTSP, CD-bootable & USB-portable ... all these are going to have limitations.

Maybe each solution is penultimate and what is needed is a functional suite of all three to create the perfect solution.. Taking Chris' idea, a bootable USB stick with a sync / temporary working file space in case the VPN component isn't available. The USB/CD-bootable distro will deliver more power & better integration & be a good way to VPN to a host school.

I'm thinking about how web services have attained ubiquity and what toolsets will help a student (or any user) to have reliable, consistent tools wherever they go, with or without $100 laptops, etc.

FWIW ... seven years ago I was running the VNC Java server from multiple X Deskops (using FVWM2) & having a grand time admin'ing AIX databases using Linux as a persistent client. At the time it was a bit costly in terms of CPU, and the Java screen rendering routines were still a bit rough around the edges


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