Linked by Olivier Fourdan on Mon 27th Sep 2004 04:35 UTC
Xfce This summer, in the beginning of August, HP has released a new Linux based thin client. Unlike the other models from the "t5000" line of HP thin clients which use Microsoft Windows CE as their embedded operating system, the "t5515" is based on the Linux operating system. This is also, to my knowledged, the first device that is using Xfce for its graphical user interface.
Order by: Score:
Good Review
by Mike on Mon 27th Sep 2004 04:58 UTC

Just wondering if you can provide a link to Xfce - there doesn't seem to be enough in the review ;-)

I dont start Gnome vs. KDE wars on Slashdot, I use Xfce 99.9% of the time I am using Linux.

It was nice to see Xfce included in Fedora Core 2, however it would have been nice to have it as an install option (instead of mounting the CDs and installing the RPMs manually). It would be useful if RedHat/Fedora could populate the Xfce menus with items for installed/important programs too. That's just my opinion.

Xfce 3 is also an awesome way to resurrect an old computer. Although it would be nice if Knoppix 3.6 came with version 4 instead of 3.

Itís easy to make themes too Ė this is my only attempt:
http://www.themedepot.org/itemdetail.php4?id=1275

This HP Thin Client is nice. I need a new toy but I donít think the accounting department will agree :-(

HP modules
by WattsM on Mon 27th Sep 2004 05:56 UTC

Are the HP-developed modules for XFce going to be released with some kind of open source license, so they can be made available for desktop Linux users? (And FreeBSD users, since that's what I used to use XFce on -- and what I'll use again when I finally get a PC running once again!)

interesting
by Anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 07:46 UTC

This is very interesting, usually you see a standard Gnome/KDE setup. It's good to see industry looking deeper into the FOSS scene. Props HP.

You know
by deathshadow on Mon 27th Sep 2004 07:50 UTC

xfce reminds me a lot of CDE. That's not a bad thing.

Lightweight, simple, fast and doesn't drag older hardware under. What's not to like?

Wonder if they'll distribute a port to HP-UX? I tried Gnome on it and it was so-so, especially since the latest is 1.4 with no plans on HP's part to port newer versions.. which is why I'm back to CDE there. I could always build gnome 2.x myself, but since the machine is on paid HP support at that jobsite I really should stick to stuff they (HP) approve of.

......
by poundsmack on Mon 27th Sep 2004 07:53 UTC

cool, if only i didnt hate hp......though i like xfce

Pricetag?
by Emil 'opi' Oppeln Bronikowski on Mon 27th Sep 2004 08:03 UTC

How mutch this baby going to cost me? XFce4 is my default WM, and it's nice too see that HP like it too.

I like IceWM better.
by Devon on Mon 27th Sep 2004 08:05 UTC

XFCE's interface is just too... different. Very limiting as well.

[OT]Are there mainboards for Transmeta to buy?
by Anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 08:07 UTC

Are there any mainboards to buy for the enduser? Which company (Asus,MSI etc) delivers mainboards for the enduser so that he can make a Transmeta based PC at home?

Thanks for all answers

two things
by ra1n on Mon 27th Sep 2004 08:29 UTC

1)Prices of those toys?
2)Those applets developed by hp will be included in the standard xfce?

ps another thing, I've tried the first release of xfce4 is there a way now to remove the upper taskbar and use only the lil'iconbox? :-P

Link
by Gonzalo on Mon 27th Sep 2004 08:31 UTC

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/thinclients/index_t5000.html

Just a direct link to HP thin clients, so you can see what they look like. There's not even a photo in the article.

NX Client
by raoulduke on Mon 27th Sep 2004 09:24 UTC

It sounds like a nice thin client, not a vendor lock in like SunRays which can't run on anything but Solaris (was there a Linux version yet?). The only missed opportunity is the omission of a NX client. Especially with FreeNX out, it would've been interesting to see how it would have broadened this clients' features even more.

price
by anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 09:39 UTC

There are, and also include powerpc, arm and the like.
You'll want to search for single intergrated motherboards for industral use. They're usually just development boards for commecial use.

If you're planning on creating your own thin client, you may want to check out the mini-itx boards (mostly based on via's C3 x86 CPU; fanless), www.mini-itx.com etc will give you ideas of what you can do with them. You can flash the BIOS with a Linux BIOS on these too.

RE: NX Client
by loco64 on Mon 27th Sep 2004 11:41 UTC

It sounds like a nice thin client, not a vendor lock in like SunRays which can't run on anything but Solaris (was there a Linux version yet?)

Excuse me, but you can get to run SunRays ThinClients with a GNU/Linux enviroment.. all you need is a GNU/Linux Server (RedHat or SuSe) and the SunRay Server beta version.
One more thing, theres no vendor lock.. the SunRay comes with a lower version of the SPARC family, and its functionality is FAIR different from any other ThinClient out there... besides, Sun keeps claiming ThinClient computing since 96 I guess...

Regards,

RE: two things
by directhex on Mon 27th Sep 2004 11:53 UTC

another thing, I've tried the first release of xfce4 is there a way now to remove the upper taskbar and use only the lil'iconbox? :-P

if your distribution uses the Session Manager (e.g. you log in using GDM on Debian 3.1), then right-click on the session manager system tray icon (you may need to enable the tray icon via the xfce settings screen), Session Control, and kill xftaskbar. then save the session, with xftaskbar extinct and xfce4-iconbox living.

otherwise, look into the starxfce4 script, and more specifically the programs it loads using xinitrc

Looks really nice
by dpi on Mon 27th Sep 2004 12:11 UTC

Ofcourse, its all possible. Is there a X client frontend too? Using NX (http://www.nomachine.com) might be faster than VNC (and/or Citrix, RDP).

How fast is this Transmeta CPU compared to say a Duron 800? If its about the same i think its very fast for a thinclient. Also, one important advantage of the Crusoe is that it doesn't use a lot of electricity.

Finally, don't forget the price of $350 is for one only. When you buy more you pay less, relatively.. ;)

PS: thanks for XFce. XFce4 is great!

"Great" review
by Anonymous Coward on Mon 27th Sep 2004 13:30 UTC

So you review a thin client, yet you don't have access to a server. Well, "In my experience this is faster than vnc" is almost as good as actually trying the thing out. Unbelievable!

Does anyone really read these reviews before they are published?

Question
by Anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 13:47 UTC

I think that Sun Microsystems Sun Ray Thin Client machines are better.
The price is better and security is better.

XFCE 4.2 version ?
by amiroff on Mon 27th Sep 2004 15:04 UTC

Great that HP pays attention to open source projects.

By the way, Olivier, could you provide us XFCE users with some tips on when to expect the new 4.2 version? I am looking forward for it very much.

Keep up the great work!

RE: two things
by Joe Drago on Mon 27th Sep 2004 15:29 UTC

ps another thing, I've tried the first release of xfce4 is there a way now to remove the upper taskbar and use only the lil'iconbox? :-P

It's in the XFCE4 FAQ ... you just make it so that .xsession doesn't have the line "xftaskbar &" in it.

Memory usage
by Anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 15:42 UTC

I noticed when using XFCE 4.0.5 on top of NetBSD, my machine was using around 45-50 MB of RAM in a rather default configuration. My Ubuntu Linux setup with Gnome 2.8 on an iMac uses around 65-70 MB in a similar configuration. It's too bad Mozilla browsers use up so much RAM. It would be nice if a GOOD browser with solid CSS/DHTML support would come out with a footprint of 5-10 megs MAX.

RE: XFCE 4.2 version ?
by vecc on Mon 27th Sep 2004 16:00 UTC

Amiroff, Here's some info about xfce4.2:

http://www.xfce.org/xfce_42_info/xfce42.html

Real World...
by Nobody on Mon 27th Sep 2004 16:29 UTC

I wish I could "test drive" some of these thin client solutions, or at least see them in real world, production enviroments.

For $350 (without a CRT/LCD), it seems like it's kinda-pricey for what it does. I will concede though, that the price has to do with the small footprint, I am sure.

Right now I am using old laptops as x-terminals, they are "ok", but I'd sure like to see that HP (or even what LTSP/DisklessWorkstations.com offers) in action.

With audio being "iffy" according to various posts on LTSP, will sound even work on the client?

I'd even be somewhat satisfied with a decent review of thin clients in *nix-only shops. Almost all of the reviews I have seen are all, Citrix this, RDesktop that. Not much on the X side.

Does the machine have an IDE port?
by bob on Mon 27th Sep 2004 16:30 UTC

Does this machine have one?
If possible, it would make for a nice, cheap desktop machine.

Re: "Great" review
by Olivier Fourdan on Mon 27th Sep 2004 16:49 UTC

> So you review a thin client, yet you don't have access to a
> server. Well, "In my experience this is faster than vnc" is
> almost as good as actually trying the thing out. Unbelievable!

Did you read the review at least? I did the review with a VNC server, not everybody use/need/have/can afford a Windows Terminal Server.

No windows terminal server doesn't mean no server.

RE: XFCE 4.2 version ?
by Ignacio on Mon 27th Sep 2004 16:55 UTC

i want to help test xfce 4.2 but at work cvs port is blocked.

Any way to get this beta release ??? im running FC2

Ignacio

Price
by PowerTerm on Mon 27th Sep 2004 17:11 UTC

At first I was thinking, why buy this when you can get a walmart PC for 199. But then I thought of work where we have about 100 PCs. If I could replace each of those PCs with these and a single server to support them, I would save a bundle on IT and power consumption. As our needs grow the difference will only get bigger. For work this would be pretty cool. <BR> Now for home I would love a $99 to $150 thin client to put in the kitchen, and maybe one on my mini-desk in my bed room. A extra networked media box on my PC in the living room and that would be perfect. In any case, once I figured out that im not the target market for this device, it made more sence.

Duron vs. Transmeta
by PowerTerm on Mon 27th Sep 2004 17:17 UTC

A Duron will be significantly faster. It is probably important to remember, though, that neither processor would be stressed in a thin client. All the real work is done on the server, this hardware's job is really just to manage the network connection and display what the server tells it to.

Those posts by PowerTerm were me...
by Cal on Mon 27th Sep 2004 17:26 UTC

Sorry if this is Off topic, but I actually posted those two posts by Powerterm. I don't know why my browser autofilled in PowerTerm as my name, its never done that before. Sorry.

No Fans
by hraq on Mon 27th Sep 2004 17:39 UTC

I think this machine will be so quite because it is not using a Fan I guess. I knew that this CPU will not need an active cooling mechanism. If anyone would explain.
More quiter environment more innovative production

Pricing
by UglyKidBill on Mon 27th Sep 2004 18:00 UTC

uh... is my glinks-hacked fooling me or the correct price is not $350 but a wooping $ 3500 !?

not as nice as flonix usb 1.0
by pita on Mon 27th Sep 2004 18:12 UTC

not as complete as flonix usb edition 1.0 (with also vnc, wtse, ssh clients) : http://www.flonix.com" http://www.flonix.com

But it's nice to see more os on usb keys, I think that's the futur ;)

client power
by peter on Mon 27th Sep 2004 18:20 UTC

Client cpu-power does matter, because a) it has to load a linux kernel and b) it has to do all the display / X work.

And very nice to see how XFCE4 is employed, it deserves it! Excellent! I only wish it had a better filemanager..

@anonymous (ipconnect.de)
by AdamW on Mon 27th Sep 2004 18:55 UTC

I don't believe you can do that. An alternative to consider is VIA's C3 platform, which you can buy in fanless configurations.

Client Power
by Cal on Mon 27th Sep 2004 19:50 UTC

Of course it has to load the linux kernal, and run X. But thats it. I have a 200mhz arm PDA that can do that pretty well. I was just saying that either processor is beyond the point where it matters very much.

He has a point.
by jofas on Mon 27th Sep 2004 19:52 UTC

> So you review a thin client, yet you don't have access to a
> server. Well, "In my experience this is faster than vnc" is
> almost as good as actually trying the thing out.

>>Unbelievable!
>>
>>Did you read the review at least? I did the review with a >>VNC server, not everybody use/need/have/can afford a Windows >>Terminal Server.
>>
>>No windows terminal server doesn't mean no server.

No offense, but this person has a point. Why would you review a thin client without a terminal server of some kind? That's the whole idea behind thin clients.

VNC isn't a real-world test, because no one uses VNC with thin clients in a real-world production environment; very poor performance and... only ONE connection at a time allowed per server! How would that work in an office of 50 people?

Not having a *windows* terminal server is no excuse. www.K12LTSP.org nothing simpler in the world to set up and it's free.

I don't mean to flame things up here, but if you don't know what to do with a thin client, do the research or drop the review.

http://lateral.pycs.net
by Roberto on Mon 27th Sep 2004 20:16 UTC

Unless you mean per server process, of course, that is not right. I have a VNC server where a dozen clients connect (a classroom where students can watch my desktop).

On another configuration, the dozen clients have each one a separate desktop on the server.

Screenshot fonts
by Lumbergh on Mon 27th Sep 2004 21:02 UTC

Nice fonts on those screenshots. Probably the best I've ever seen on Linux.

@jofas: Re: He has a point.
by Olivier Fourdan on Mon 27th Sep 2004 21:23 UTC

> Not having a *windows* terminal server is no excuse.
> www.K12LTSP.org nothing simpler in the world to set up and
> it's free.

Sorry, www.K12LTSP.org doesn't provide a Windows Terminal Server for free (!!), all they give is rdesktop, the exact same software that ships with the HP device... I hardly see your point with K12LTSP, it's another client, not a Windows server..

From K12LTSP web site :

We've included the rdesktop package that provides access to Windows2000/NT4 terminal sessions with a simple click of an icon. This gives users a choice of operating systems as needed. Note that this option requires a separate W2K/NT terminal server and licenses for clients.

SunRay is better
by Anonymous on Mon 27th Sep 2004 22:09 UTC

Compared to Sun's SunRay this HP offering looks rather bleak, uninovative and uninteresting (typical HP). SunRay looks like a more promising piece of technology especially with Linux support coming very soon. I use SunRay at work every day and I have to tell you this is really a kick ass piece of technology especially if coupled with smart cards to transparently move the session from one client to the other.

RE: Having a point
by jofas on Tue 28th Sep 2004 03:26 UTC

Roberto: Multiple VNC viewers do not constitute multiple processes. It's multicast; everyone gets the same data at the same time. Not the same thing as multiple terminal connections and it's still only one single server (host) process anyway. You couldn't configure a VNC server so that multiple users could work on that server simultaneously, opening files and programs, etc.

Olivier: Correct, LTSP isn't Windows, hence the acronym Linux Terminal Server Project. This same acronym reveals that LTPS is also not a client, but a server that hosts heavier applications so that clients only need be able to run X. The rest is done by the server.

What I meant was that it would have been nice to see tests involving HP thin client and a Linux or UNIX terminal server. This would have been great for us to see, particularily because those of us who actually work with thin clients have never seen an HP thin client built specifically with and for Linux/UNIX!

It's like reviewing a hard drive by only powering it up without ever attaching the data cable.

Forgive me for expecting a technical review.

RE: RE: Having a point
by James on Tue 28th Sep 2004 06:28 UTC

With all due respect, you are incorrect. VNC can have several users on the same server simultaneously, each in an entirely separate session.
In fact when I was in university (I just graduated and the class to which I am referring did things this way until fall of 2003), the preferred method of working in the FreeBSD environment was to ssh in from our windows box at home, start up a vnc session and then connect (the window manager was WindowMaker). There could be (and were) numerous students on the same machine at the same time.

In fairness to you, you are correct for VNC on Windows, but that is not where VNC was originally designed or most effective. My apologies if you meant VNC for Windows, but you did not specify.

Re: One connection per VNC server?
by Roberto on Tue 28th Sep 2004 11:01 UTC

Read my message. I have two setups. On one, it's multicast. On the other, it's one desktop for each client.

This is not windows, you know.

LTSP with XFce
by Ram Sambamurthy on Fri 1st Oct 2004 08:21 UTC

We set up 10 PCs that were destined for scrap, right from 90 MHz Pentiums with 8MB RAM. KDE was too slow; but XFce saved the day and even the users (who are school kids) noticed the difference. I was amazed at how much we could get out of these old machines.
Question for Oliver: has HP contributed the code back for the extra modules. If they haven't, shame on them. If they have, that's great.
No matter what anyone says about XFce, I think it's great. Good job Oliver. Long live XFce.