Todd Knarr: I think theres two counter-arguments. The first is games. Games are driven by incredibly data-intensive graphics. Even modern broadband connections have a hard time handling the data-flow needed to generate high frame rates in detailed 3D-rendered games, especially considering the bandwidth-usage caps ISPs impose to prevent overly-heavy use of the connection. Secondly, local control. The current P2P-vs-RIAA war is a case in point. Users want X, but its not in the content providers interests to allow X. The upcoming generation of users arent going to want to turn control over to entities whove already proven willing to cut off the very things that generation of users wants out of their computers. I think those two things are going to be, as always, the things that block movement of the PC out of the hands of the user.
John: The comments so far make clear that there are two distinct factions. One side is the staunch personal-computer group. They want full autonomous control over their own machines; Power to the People! (As Steve Jobs was fond of saying, back in the 80s). The other camp, which I believe is far larger, is the information-appliance crowd. To them the computer is much like their automobile. These users have no interest in how it works, but simply wish to use it as a tool, and are actually happy to let others maintain it.
Myne: Main problems with Terminal based computing are local storage, security, reliability, bandwidth, memory and processing power the time of mainframe terminal computing has long passed. It still has some useful niches but no amount of bandwidth can compete with local computing.
W3bbo : the remaining issue is NOT bandwidth, but rather Latency. And theres no way that a terminal services, Citrix, or VNC client is going to match the reaction time of a local machine. Period.
/ \/ /\ /\/ : What is suggested is remote administration – not remote applications. Picture this, on your home PC (not a thin client), you will have an OS running from the HD with all local programs. Only difference is that you will not have root/Administrator privileges on it.
Hgit: No one has mentioned the ace in the hole that the big Telcos are going to offer. That is a java card that will hold/control your session. Think of it your dad gets ADSL installed, the rep comes to his house with a book sized terminal client or LCD monitor (no moving parts, no noise) plugs him in and presto everything he needs. But he is also supplied with a java card that he can carry around – whenever he visits someone with an ADSL thin client setup he can insert his java card and his desktop session magically reappears. This type of setup is easy and cheap for the Telcos and is being testing as we speak.
Andy: Everyone wants to personalize what they own. Some people prefer sports cars, some people prefer luxury cars. A mass thin client approach just doesnt fit with that. Having cookie cutter applications for every single person isnt going to work.
Snake: Computers have lost their spark as a source of glitter in the technological world. This is why, overall, computer sales and technological advancement has been (relatively) flat for the past number of years. Computers are starting to be recognized for what they TRULY are – tools Ten years ago a computer was seen as the solution to many issues – now, it is a tool to help the user reach a solution, if it can. Linux will, for the foreseeable future, never supply that transparent solution that the average user is looking for. This is what has kept Microsoft on top.
Tomorrow: Comments (continued)