posted by Olivier Fourdan on Mon 27th Sep 2004 04:35 UTC

"HP Thin Client with XFce, Page 2/2"
Click for a larger versionThe device includes the remote management tools from Altiris that allow deployment of Linux images on the thin clients connected to the network. The device also includes SNMP support for configuration of terminal settings, reporting of terminal configuration and attached devices, and traps but I've not tried these functionalities.

Additionnaly, the version with 128MB of flash memory ships with the Mozilla web browser among other tools. That should be very usefull for organizations where the intranet is used intensively.

The Xfce panel is very small, located at the bottom of the screen. There is no item predefined but a menu that looks like Windows "Start Menu", and a few items like the the volume control, the logout button and the clock. The "start menu" is actually similar to the one that shows when right clicking on the root window. From there, the user can access the Xfce setting manager or one of the connectivity applications already mentionned.

Adding new items to the Xfce panel is perfectly supported and it's very easy to define additional launchers for the favorite connections.

HP is actually not only using Xfce as a graphical shell, but it has customized the panel and developped its own plugins for the Xfce setting manager. HP has developped several additional modules for the Xfce settings manager to configure the device, the screen resolution, add printers, etc. That really gives the impression of a well integrated software package.

If something goes wrong, there is even an option to reset the device to its factory settings.

Click for a larger versionBeside the relatively slow 800 MHz Crusoe processor (compared to current desktop computers specs), the system operates fairly fast. In fact, I quickly forgot about the thin client or the remote connection (using VNC in my case) and started working like I do with a regular desktop Linux system.

I have not been able to try neither Citrix nor Windows Terminal Server because I don't have any available server that run those tools, but from my experience I found Citrix to be faster than VNC so I guess the system would feel even faster when using these tools to connect to Windows servers (Your mileage may vary though).

The overall impression is that HP did a very good job by integrating all these software components together. Thin clients aren't new, not even Linux based thin clients, but this one really makes the difference thanks to its integrated configuration tools and its configurable Xfce desktop.

About the author:
Olivier Fourdan believes firmly in free software. He's been using Linux exclusively since 1994 (Yggdrasil Plug and Play Linux, anyone?) and started the Xfce project as a hobby in late 1996. He tries to share his spare time between his family and the development of Xfce, with the help from the other developers of the project.

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  1. "HP Thin Client with XFce, Page 1/2"
  2. "HP Thin Client with XFce, Page 2/2"
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