Thin Clients really work

A week or so ago I was in Linz, Austria, to do a little report for GNOME Journal about the Pangea internet/multimedia centre for immigrants and refugees. I was really surprised at the performance of GNOME using very old PCs as thin clients with a regular new PC as the server. They seemed as fast as new PCs.

A couple of issues came up:

  • How can things be set up so that local drives (CDRoms, USB-sticks, etc) will be visible on the GNOME session that's actually running on the server? Hopefully the answer is simple.
  • There doesn't seem to be any UI for setting gconf lockdown keys. Not only would this be easier, but it would allow the administrator to, for instance, quickly unlock the panel on a user's computer, make a change, and lock it again. This could be a great little pygtk hack.

I was a bit confused when arriving in Linz this time. Last time I was there, it had a vaguely eastern-european-style makeshift train station, but I suddenly found myself inside a multi-level shiny metal and glass complex. The tram used to be across the street but I couldn't find the street anymore. I followed the signs, and eventually figured out that I was indeed in Linz.