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Making A Easy-To-Setup $50 Linux Multi-Seat Computer

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  • phoronix
    started a topic Making A Easy-To-Setup $50 Linux Multi-Seat Computer

    Making A Easy-To-Setup $50 Linux Multi-Seat Computer

    Phoronix: Making A Easy-To-Setup $50 Linux Multi-Seat Computer

    While it's improved a lot recently, in the past setting up a multi-seat computer has been a pain in the ass with a lot of manual configurations needed and other peculiar steps to get the hardware/software combination working right. What if the process were a lot simpler? What if new seats could be added to a computer at a very low cost and the setup was effectively "out of the box" to the point that it's truly plug-and-play? Well, we are now effectively at that point on the Linux desktop and there is a new Kickstarter effort to help in that initiative.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=17306

  • bastafidli
    replied
    Originally posted by perpetualrabbit View Post
    But the biggest problem is per-seat sound and usb ports.
    Per seat USB is actually fairly easy since Pulse Audio. I use the setup described here

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MultiseatX
    http://disjunkt.com/jd/2010/en/multi...ng-sounds-109/

    with system wide pulse audio. Works just fine with 3 seat configuration based on 1NVidia video card with sound over HDMI and 2 NVidia cards paired with 2 SoundBlaster cards.

    I believe the product described in this article defeats the true purpose of multiseat. You can have multiseat for under $20 by adding addition GFx cards that supports also sound over HDMI. I use wireless mouse/keybard combos a 1 USB hub shared by 2 seats. The 3rd seat gets USB ports directly on the computer. Also since many LCDs these days come with USB hubs they eliminate neat for product described in this article.

    Leave a comment:


  • RussianNeuroMancer
    replied
    Looks like project will not be succeed. Idea of ​​lack of demand comes to mind first, but there is other reasons:
    1. International shipping only for five units, no less.
    2. International shipping only of DC-125 unit, that doesn't support high screen resolution.

    Few thousands people maybe order UD-160, even with payment for shipping, but it's impossible. It's not enough to reach the goal anyway, so lack of demand is main reason of this fail. Sad to see that.

    Leave a comment:


  • kobblestown
    replied
    Virtualization for multiseat

    A rather flexible solution to multiseat is remote virtualization (i.e. running the virtual machines at some remote server rather than locally on a desktop machine). Of course, you will need to access the virtual machines remotely, e.g. over RDP for Windows guests (or for accessing VirtualBox console regardless of the guest OS) or VNC (KVM console, Unix guests). I'm very excited about SPICE and will be trying to move to SPICE-enabled virtualized desktop at home to see how it fares.

    Then, of course, one needs a computer to access the remote virtual machine. I think RaspberryPi should be able to handle an RDP/VNC/SPICE client while being cheaper at the same time! I'd like to buy one (or three) of those once the 350000 preordered devices have been shipped

    Such scenario is not strictly speaking multiseat but achieves pretty much the same effect, if you can find cheap client machines like RaspberryPi. And you get 'hot desk' (is this a real idiom?) along the way.

    I think virtualization can be used even with a traditional multi-GPU mutliseat configuration. It's just that the only application that will be run on each seat is an RDP/VNC/SPICE client which connects to the virtual machine for the particular user possibly running on the same physical machine. That's pretty nice if you want to implement multiseat for, e.g. Windows or some other OS that cannot do multiseat.

    Leave a comment:


  • curaga
    replied
    Originally posted by kebabbert View Post
    For instance, you can hot desk. You can not do that with an ordinary thin client. Have you studied the SunRay or are you guessing?
    I have, in fact. Doesn't hot-desk mean you can continue your session on another thin client? Yes, most normal thin clients can do that. VNC can do that, as do many other such protocols. Sun merely had very nice integration with their smart cards and such, using solutions from other vendors you'd have to set some things up yourself.


    Very different. Sunray is similar to this USB client (which do have a cpu, even a keyboard has a cpu). The Sunray does not run an OS, it has a BIOS (actually, something called Firmware). But no OS. Nothing to patch. Nothing that can be hacked. No virus is possible. No harddrive, no nothing.
    What do you think is netbooted from the server then? What handles networking, what is their VNC client running on?

    If its OS were static in the BIOS chip, it would only make it less secure - harder to update when new vulnerabilites are discovered.

    Leave a comment:


  • kebabbert
    replied
    Originally posted by curaga View Post
    SunRay definitely runs an OS and their modified VNC client on it. I don't see why you think it's suddenly something great; it's really rather standard thin client.

    This thing here, it's an USB hub + displaylink usb adapter in a nice case. No VNC, no CPU.
    No, the SunRay is not a standard thin client. It is much different. Some call it zero state client. Oracle calls it ultra thin client. Basically, it is similar to a keyboard. A keyboard has no intelligence of its own (though strictly speaking, the keyboard do have a cpu) and the keyboard only handles I/O. No software is run on the keyboard.

    For instance, you can hot desk. You can not do that with an ordinary thin client. Have you studied the SunRay or are you guessing? Very different. Sunray is similar to this USB client (which do have a cpu, even a keyboard has a cpu). The Sunray does not run an OS, it has a BIOS (actually, something called Firmware). But no OS. Nothing to patch. Nothing that can be hacked. No virus is possible. No harddrive, no nothing.

    Leave a comment:


  • curaga
    replied
    Originally posted by kebabbert View Post
    SunRay has a cpu yes, but the cpu does not run software. Everything is processed on the server. Nothing is run on the SunRay. It only handles I/O, mouse and keyboard into the server, and the server sends back bitmaps. Impossible to hack. And Sunray is like a mouse or keyboard, how can you hack a mouse?

    Dont you think this USB client has a cpu too? It has. It is similar to the Sunray in construction. The server sends back graphics, which this USB client shows. This USB client does not run software. (I suspect)

    But ordinary thin clients, are weak and have a OS to boot into, etc.
    SunRay definitely runs an OS and their modified VNC client on it. I don't see why you think it's suddenly something great; it's really rather standard thin client.

    This thing here, it's an USB hub + displaylink usb adapter in a nice case. No VNC, no CPU.

    Leave a comment:


  • kebabbert
    replied
    Originally posted by curaga View Post
    SunRay is definitely a thin client, it has its own cpu and so on.
    SunRay has a cpu yes, but the cpu does not run software. Everything is processed on the server. Nothing is run on the SunRay. It only handles I/O, mouse and keyboard into the server, and the server sends back bitmaps. Impossible to hack. And Sunray is like a mouse or keyboard, how can you hack a mouse?

    Dont you think this USB client has a cpu too? It has. It is similar to the Sunray in construction. The server sends back graphics, which this USB client shows. This USB client does not run software. (I suspect)

    But ordinary thin clients, are weak and have a OS to boot into, etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • bernieplugable
    replied
    Pros and Cons

    Originally posted by leif81 View Post
    If that's the case, can we get one where the link between the host PC and the Plugable hub is wired RJ45 or wireless?
    Yes, your diagram is exactly it (if you also add a USB audio device alongside the video, keyboard, and mouse).

    Ethernet obviously would have some big advantages, but overall USB (being a low-level, master-slave, plug-and-play bus) is part of what makes this doable.

    * It's lower cost, which is critical when you're fighting for each dollar as you are with this scenario
    * It can be 100% plug and play (as it is in F17). Key for schools, etc.
    * It can be lower latency (with good low-level drivers, which Linux generally has)

    Once USB devices become network devices, you kind of start heading away from the multiseat world to the network X term or VNC type world. Pros and cons.

    Wireless USB is ok, but not low cost, robust, or high throughput enough for the multiseat scenario (in general).

    Leave a comment:


  • curaga
    replied
    Originally posted by kebabbert View Post
    This is similar to "thin clients" but different. This solution are called "zero state clients" or "ultra thin clients".

    This solution is instead something different and called "zero state clients", I really like this solution. Everything is run on the server and there is no cpu in the client that runs any software. The clients dont run any software and you can not upgrade them. If you google, there are several vendors that sell "zero state clients". Avoid "thin clients" - they suck. Imagine a PC driving several other workstations. Each client uses 2.5 Watt which is very good. Say your PC uses 100 watt, and say you have ten users, then each user will spend 10 watt. That is better than each user using 100 watt pc each = 1000 watt. However, the problem with "zero state clients" has always been graphics. 1280x1024 which this solution utilize, is not really usable.
    SunRay is definitely a thin client, it has its own cpu and so on. I guess the main difference to the WinEmbedded clients of HP is that the OS is netbooted instead of installed.

    But that in no way saves the admin from having to update/patch it, just on the server.

    BTW, if a thin client takes 100W it's hardly thin anymore

    Leave a comment:

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