Thin Client, Thick Server
This is our view of the new tech infrastructure for SMEs. Low-cost (USD 100) desktops and USD 5 monthly subscription for software. The Thin Client and Thick Server run Linux. The cost reduction (for the desktop, as compared to what’s available now) will help push computers further down the organisations in emerging markets.
Thin Client: Runs Linux on the desktop (KDE), along with the basic set of applications — Mail (Evolution), Browser (Mozilla), Office equivalent (OpenOffice), and a few others. Later, we’ll add on our Digital Dashboard to extend to a new, simpler and collaborative read-write environment. We should be able to user 3-4 year-old machines as desktops. No local storage. Use a floppy (or later, an in-built EPROM) to boot. The Linux Desktop vision will become a reality via the Thin Clients for the next set of computer users.
Thick Server: All the applications and Linux terminals for the desktop run on the server. Mails, Files and Preferences are all stored on the server. The three layers of applications: System (file, dhcp, print), Messaging (email, IM), Collaboration (calendar, digital dashboard), Enterprise Software (ERP, CRM, SCM, etc.).
We are currently working on deploying the Thin Client-Thick Server architecture within our company for our 30 users. There are three types of users: New Users, Existing users of Linux, Existing users of Windows. A different strategy needs to be used for each of the three sets. Once we have deployed this internally, then we want to talk to some of our Messaging clients and get them to deploy it within their enterprise, empowering the rest of their enterprise with computing.