Cloud computing with Linux thin clients--Linux based cloud computing system benefits users and the environment

Source: Internet
Author: User
Keywords nbsp; thin Client
Tags .mall access application applications based client clients cloud

Explore cloud computing from a linux® perspective and discover some of the most innovative and popular linux-based solutions-paying particular attention to choices that can bring environmental benefits.

We have discussed cloud computing from a variety of perspectives in a number of contexts. An exciting aspect of cloud computing for embedded Linux engineers and enthusiasts is its application on thin-client computers.

One of the basic concepts of cloud computing is leveraging the resources available over the Internet. With an integrated, limited client, cloud computing is largely analogous to a LAN-based client-server computing that uses a dumb (dumb) terminal or a once-popular thin client. ("thin" means that the devices themselves have limited processing power (or no processing power at all) and they depend on the processing power on the server.

Bandwidth has become a limiting factor because large amounts of data must be transmitted over the network. In the the mid 1990s, graphical thin client rage, but because of the inability to meet bandwidth requirements, their applications to a large extent still limited to the LAN. For the Internet, the speed has yet to be improved. But even in the face of such constraints, the benefits of centralization-especially hardware costs, because computers are expensive and thin terminals are cheap-are still worth weighing.

Network Computing

This trade-off is no longer necessary as high-speed Internet access grows and the Internet infrastructure itself functions. Migrating to higher throughput makes a variety of interesting technologies possible.

You can now use a Web browser to perform tasks on a remote server that was previously only implemented through software hosted on the local machine-even for graphical operations such as page layouts or image editing. A large number of companies create services to meet demand. Imagine any tasks you perform locally, and some companies located in other locations offer this service online and are likely to be free.

This paradigm paves the way for new ways of accessing information over the network, including new software and equipment. No more dumb terminals, no more thin clients. For some, the definition of "thin" has been expanded to include any system that has access to the Internet, regardless of the overall functionality: New devices such as mobile phones, netbooks and mobile Internet devices (MID), and even redesigned older desktops and laptops. If the server reaches the same level of functionality, content, and connectivity as the Internet, all clients belong to a thin client.

Most industry analysts agree that thin-client applications-especially mobile phones-have grown dramatically. In fact, in the near future, for most people, thin clients will be the primary means of accessing the Internet.

As John Gage predicted in 1984, the network eventually evolved into a computer.


However, usefulness is often not the main factor in deciding whether or not to be widely used. More precise judgments can be made on the absolute and relative costs associated with value (especially when considering adoption in developing countries). The client's "fat thin" level is directly related to its cost, since weaker systems are less expensive. Similarly, the cost of cloud-based software is directly related to whether it can be used on a large scale.

Innovative market and cost-value ratios

Support technologies such as cloud computing and thin clients are prompting organizations to consider different ways of investing and marketing. For example, one Laptop per child (OLPC) produces extremely inexpensive equipment (at the current price level of us$200), develops education-related software, and creates educational opportunities in countries that previously did not have any Internet access or technical training, Marketing goals point to Governments in developing countries, not individuals. Although this behavior is bound to bring huge benefits to the company, but overall, it is beneficial to the whole world.

The OLPC case also shows the importance of the relationship between value and cost. Consider the overall cost of the "fat" client. Imagine a technical writer who works in a café using a laptop computer. A portable computer may contain all the resources-word handlers, page layouts, drawing tools for illustration and legend, and conversion tools for processing XML and PDFs-all included in a notebook computer, which could be worth 2,000 of dollars, and features similar to desktop computers. The price of the software may be close to the price of the system itself, resulting in a total investment of 4,000 dollars.

By contrast, suppose the technical writer uses a thin client in the same café-a smaller, resource-constrained system that may cost only one-tenth of the expensive laptops mentioned earlier. Thanks to the software and storage provided in the cloud, this thin client may have no active parts, only a very simple processor, just enough resources to run a modern Web browser, and a fast network connection, but the technology writer can have a lot of resources, and possibly even more resources than the local user, It also has a good security that he or she knows whether the work can be saved if the battery is out of power or the laptop is stolen.

The software available in the cloud can produce the same quality document as the local machine, with the same level of control over the final work, but it is free of charge, with the benefit of corporate adoption, advertising, or some other innovative process. The total investment of the user is only 200 dollars.

The characteristics of the cloud

The best operating environment for thin clients around cloud computing has the following characteristics:

highly customizable, inexpensive and even free operating system for all required applications, cheap or free networking features are built into the operating system's kernel and are small enough to fit into a small device with enough flexibility and functionality to run a full laptop that saves power and maximizes battery life.

Linux meets all of these standards. It is used in mobile domain, enterprise domain and embedded domain, including book Reader and Set-top box and other special consumption equipment. And by implementing virtualization, Linux can also run applications built for Windows®, Mac OS X, and other operating systems.

Linux: cloud-oriented operating system

Linux has matured and is already available as an embedded operating system, and its free sex--in terms of cost and royalty-free--has revolutionized the markets formerly dominated by a handful of companies that have demanded that royalties be delivered strictly in accordance with the units they use. Linux now provides real-time support as well as structured driver support, which is unmatched by other proprietary real-time operating systems, and the availability of related applications is unprecedented. Linux forms the basis of at least 4 new netbook operating systems, leading the explosive growth of smartphones and is expected to continue to expand market share over the next 5-10 years.

Linux's flexibility, developer control, power management utility, and overall stability make it ideal for older, recyclable systems. By loading Linux to replace (or supplement) the host operating system, the old machine can be revitalized.

Access Cloud Applications

What is the application? It refers to the cloud access process in addition to the operating system components, and here must also consider the cost. The cloud makes it possible for thin clients, but the key to reducing costs is to limit the cost of software running thin clients.

Most developers know that some of the most powerful network-oriented applications are currently free, including Web browsers (such as Firefox, Opera, and Chrome), e-mail software (such as Thunderbird and Evolution), Instant messaging (such as Pidgin and Trillian), and multi-platform application environments (such as Java™ technology). Synthesizing only these four application types will constitute a powerful thin client and is completely free.

However, it should be noted that free, open source operating systems and applications do not mean that they can form a completely free device. As Jamie Zawinski, a famous Open-source developer, once said, "Free software is free only when your time is not creating value." You must work on the basis of free software to design and implement the system just as you would have to do to develop proprietary software. However, because the base product is free and can get its source code, the value from free software is much higher than the paid software during this time, even if the process itself takes much longer.

So it's not surprising that the number of embedded Linux developers is now over 100,000, and that number is growing.

What thin clients are present?

This section describes several types of thin clients that appear on the market today. Many of these clients are new devices and still look for niche markets in customers and businesses. All of these clients have some of the same features: they themselves have lower storage and processing power to perform related functions, all designed around cloud computing and run on Linux and other Open-source operating systems.


Netbook is a compact, low handling (measured by modern standards) but fully functional notebook computer, usually supporting wireless Internet access. Netbooks is designed to be used as a thin client and most of them do not have a fan or disk drive.

Examples of netbook include OLPC XO, Asus EEE PC and MSI wind. Most netbook run full Linux distributions, such as Fedora or Ubuntu, but there are also some customized distributions for them, such as OLPC's linux-based Sugar operating system, developed by educators as a learning environment. The Sugar interface can also run on a standard Windows or Apple system.


Mobile Internet Device (MID) is a very compact device with a touch screen and sometimes an option to install a miniature keyboard. Mid is also sometimes referred to as the Hyper-Mobile (Ultra-Mobile) PC (UMPC), mid supports wireless Internet access and is designed specifically for mobile applications (their size is similar to mobile phones). The main difference between netbooks and mid is the volume size, because they usually use the same processor, but MID functions are generally weaker: they use less storage, less memory, and smaller screens.

Examples of MID include Nokia N810, Sony Vaio P, and Acer Aspire one series. Almost all MID devices are running on a variety of Linux versions. In particular, Nokia devices run Maemo, a comprehensive kernel and middleware platform with a limited user environment and optimized to keep application resources available, but some developers create alternative desktop environments. You can also use the Ubuntu MID Edition, which can be built on top of the Intel® middleware set with Moblin to build a powerful operating environment.


These fast-moving handsets were initially used as enterprise devices for reading emails and browsing the Web, and became popular. Many smartphones come with small keyboards and fast, persistent Internet connections, thanks to the huge growth of 2.5G and 3G mobile data networks.

Examples of smartphones with keyboards include the new Palm Pre, HTC G1 and Openmoko projects. Smartphones without keyboards are Motorola Krave ZN4, Samsung Anycall sch-i859 and Emblaze Mobile Edelweiss, and Purple Magic reference design from the French company Purple Magic. All of these phones use the Linux operating system.

Recently released a number of new mobile phone designs running a variety of Linux versions. The Linux distributions designed specifically for smartphones include Android (Google products) and LiMo based software, LiMo is a smart-phone standard organization.

Special Equipment

The main functions of some specialized devices also need to rely on the network. E-book readers must download books in some way: Amazon's Kindle uses a mobile-based network connection to connect directly to Amazon's servers. (Note that the Kindle is running Linux). Other dedicated, network-enabled devices include TiVo digital video recorder (DVR) and Roku Netflix Player video streaming set-top boxes, both running Linux.

Mixing equipment

There is a new device on the market that might be best known as a hybrid cloud computer. It is a standard office laptop that provides an interesting feature: a Linux based thin client is built directly into the hardware, sharing the keyboard, screen, and network connections. It may seem strange to have two computers in one enclosure. But the advantage is obvious, the thin client can be activated as soon as the phone to connect to the network, using a standard battery can be used for 18 hours, and after hibernation, users can start and enter the larger machine when needed. This is a real cloud computer with local backup.

The current only one by one hybrid devices are the Dell Latitude e4200/e4400 series (this feature is called Latitude on), but more similar devices are planned for the future.

Greener clouds

Cloud computing and the use of Linux based thin clients can bring environmental benefits.

Cloud computing centralizes the use of resources, which means that all hard processing occurs on large, fast machines in a location in the cloud. Some companies-especially google-the concept as a core concept, placing server clusters in physical locations near power stations, such as Oregon and Eemshaven. Netherlands (near a large windmill power station). This method is not only environmentally friendly, but also beneficial to the company because of the loss of large amounts of electrical energy in transmission. Google also has a patent for a buoy-type wave-generating server cluster (well known), which is not only in the same location as the power station, but also financially affordable.

There are other benefits to thin Linux clients. First, they are very "thin", which means they contain low-power hardware, so they are more energy-saving than expensive notebooks. Second, they run Linux, which provides many power management advantages, even for older hardware.

Again, and most importantly, Linux can be run in any location. Instead of throwing the old computer into an electronic pollution junkyard, it provides it with a new, inexpensive hard drive-or boot from a CD or USB flash drive (UFD) and reconfigure the computer as a thin client.

You will make a contribution to protect the Earth!

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