Thinclient PXES from 2x and thinstation

I have spent about a week with the 2x page open in one of my browsers. I’ve been trying to get to know PXES’ new incarnation. For background. PXES was hosted on and was an attempt at making a multi-protocol thin-client boot distribution…. In other words, among the files released were iso images that you could use to boot up and select to be a thinclient for rdp, vnc, xdm, nx (compressed and optionally encrypted x), citrix, etc. What was really interesting to me is that you could also customize your disc to only connect to a specific protocol (or hard code a disc to only be a client to a specific server address.)

It looks like the new thinclient OS and thinclientserver pxes edition is a bit different from the previous look of the project. It looks as though currently, the download client iso is only going to work if you have a thinclientserver install on the network that you boot up on. (Which to me is a bit disappointing.) However, the thinclientserver seems to give some real advantages in customizing the thinclient settings. (So you can specify config information for each client machine.) I did try installing the server rpm for linux (no deb or tar.gz’s available for this one.) and on Mandriva the post-install script failed. It says that the linux version is compatible with Red Hat Enterprise 4 or Suse 9.x

So, among other things I’ve downloaded all of the most recent sourceforge release of pxes (pre 2x takeover of the project) and intended to try to re-customize a disc. For background…. I had used this before as a good, quick way to turn a spare computer on the network to a remote X login for one of the other existing machines. I don’t NEED a thinclientserver install to manage the thinclients, I just want a quick and easy dumb xdm terminal.

SO…. as I was looking, I discovered…. (or rather re-discovered) Thinstation which looks like it has a lot fo the features that I recall in the original pxes….

Thinstation is a thin client Linux distribution that makes a PC a full-featured thin client supporting all major connectivity protocols: Citrix ICA, NoMachine NX, 2X ThinClient, MS Windows terminal services (RDP), Cendio ThinLinc, Tarantella, X, telnet, tn5250, VMS term and SSH.

No special configuration of the application servers is needed to use Thinstation!

So, I start looking and there is an online configurator (yes you can configure and build your very own iso through a web interface, then download the iso or the etherboot image, or the image for hard drive/flash/etc… nice.)

Here’s the thinstation online configurator. It is not AS easy a process as you might hope, but it could be much worse.

Thinstation does provide prebuilt cd images and configuration files can be loaded from a floppy image. OR a custom cd can be built with your own customizations. It looks like this fits the bill for what I’m looking for. PXES by 2x certainly has it’s use, I imagine for a large setup where you’re migrating a large number of users to thinclients that would be exactly what you want to make sure you can configure each thin client properly.

On a side note, the use of thinclients can REALLY be a way to make good use of existing (albeit older) equipment. For many functions – web browsing, text editing, emailing…. a thin client is MORE than sufficient to handle the task.

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