Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (92 mails)

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Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] 286's as X-terms
On Friday 06 September 2002 11:43, Christopher Dawkins wrote:
> > My question is whether there is a 'mass market' for this? Do schools have
> > a large supply of 286 (or even 386) machines sitting in cupboards that
> > could usefully be used as X terminals??
>
> We find the sceen update speed just too slow on slow processors. It's OK
> on a static page, but you just get a web page with lots of moving GIFs and
> your local processor spends so much time processing the screen updates the
> mouse slows down to moon speed (ie move it, wait a minute, move it etc).
> We are now junking 486-33's because of this. 486-50's and 66's are still
> OK, but p-166's with 16M RAM are now our thin-client minimum.
>
> Windows that take ages to redraw when you move them are now becoming
> unacceptable.
>
> But this is running an X server on them, not VNC.

I don't think there are that many 286s or 386s left in schools. Using older
machines as terminals has a few technical issues.

1. Best to use a decent resolution eg 1024 x 768 in 16 bit colour. This
requires 2 meg of video ram and its often difficult to upgrade pre Pentium
machines.

2. If you want to use etherboot you have to have a bios that will boot from a
network. Some early ones don't although some can be flashed to update them.

For these reasons I think its best to use pentiums as the lowest spec for
terminals unless you already have a supply of machines you know will work.
There are plenty of P100-P166s getting taken out of service and second hand
dealers are selling base units at about £25 each. You can easily run Windows
locally on these and Xterminals from servers so you get to run all your
education specific apps on Windows 95 (just about everything will run on
Windows 95) and your Web browser/office stuff from Linux servers using the
machines as thin clients. Up to date productivity and backward compatibility
at low cost and without paying a bean to MS if you already have 95 licences
for the machines.

Regards,

--
IanL


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