News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Top thin-client vendor rolls out new Linux OS, thin clients

Aug 2, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

Wyse has upgraded its Linux-based thin-client OS to the 2.6 branch, and is rolling out a new Linux thin client. Wyse's Linux V6 operating system features improved security, manageability, and flexibility, while the Winterm 5150SE client could finally help Linux gain traction on the desktop, Wyse says.

Wyse's Linux “V6” OS

According to Sr. Product Manager Junaid Qurashi, Wyse Linux V6 is based on a 2.6.5 Linux kernel, and offers substantial improvements to thin client security. V6 boots from a read-only local filesystem, making it impervious to viruses, worms, user misconfiguration, and other problems that drive up PC desktop administration costs.

V6 features a modular design that enables supported protocols such as ICA, RDP, X-Windows, and others to be added and removed using a central administrative interface. This, too, helps security and eliminates network noise, since unneeded protocols can be disabled. It also permits devices to be configured with fewer resources, and permits them to be redeployed as requirements change, according to Qurashi.

A new “free seating” feature means that users can log in at any Winterm 5150SE station on the network, and still retain their configuration details and access rights. Furthermore, Wyse's Linux V6 based clients are “stateless,” and use a plug-and-play configuration system that is said to require zero initial configuration when a device is physically added to the network. “If a client fails, you unplug it, plug a new one in, and keep working,” Qurashi said.

Linux rising in thin clients

Wyse was named the top thin client vendor for the last seven years by IDC, with about 40 percent of the overall market. It sells thin clients bundled with a number of operating systems, including Linux, Windows CE, and Windows XP Embedded.

IDC found Linux in over 20 percent of thin clients in 2003, with a 60 percent annual growth rate that makes it the fastest growing thin client operating system. Wyse, like IDC, sees Linux growing quickly in the thin client market. “Our figures are in line with IDC findings,” said Qurashi.

Qurashi adds that Wyse sells its Linux-based clients for slightly less money than those that run Windows CE, “Mostly, because people expect Linux to be cheaper.” At the same time, Wyse's Linux clients offer more functionality: in addition to ICA and RDP (Citrix and Microsoft thin client protocols, respectively), they can support Linux X11R6 applications. “Our Windows XP Embedded clients can support X applications, but [Windows] CE cannot,” said Qurashi.

Wyse thin clients can attach to several different kinds of servers simultaneously. They might run a Windows desktop based on RDP, with Citrix and X-Windows applications running concurrently on the same clients. Alternatively, the clients might use a Linux-based desktop, with Citrix applications. Support for Microsoft's single-application protocol is pending, according to Qurashi.

Some of Wyse's Linux-based thin clients also offer the option of running the Mozilla or Netscape 4.77 browser locally, in order to provide users with faster access to the Internet.

Thin clients based on the LTSP (Linux terminal server project) can offer some of the same capabilities, including free seating, but LTSP has not scaled beyond a few hundred clients, according to Qurashi, whereas Wyse boasts of several installations with close to 10,000 clients.

The Winterm 5150SE

Wyse will offer its 2.6 kernel-based V6 Linux thin client OS initially in the Wyse Winterm 5150SE, a new thin client based on an AMD Geode GX 533 processor. The 5150SE offers USB and legacy I/O ports, and fits unobtrusively under a desk or on the wall, according to Wyse. It features an especially impressive video subsystem, supporting resolutions up to UXGA (1200 x 1600) with 85KHz refresh rates, and 100KHz refresh rates at lower resolutions. “Better displays are very important in the European market,” notes Qurashi. “I think Europeans have better eyes, and can actually tell the difference between these refresh rates.”

Qurashi adds that AMD's GX 533 chip was selected after it outperformed an 800MHz c3 solution from VIA in testing with Windows applications.

According to Wyse, Linux thin clients will bring to the desktop some of the same advantages that have helped Linux succeed in the server and embedded markets. “The Wyse Winterm 5150SE thin client is helping advance the overall movement of Linux to the desktop,” said Mike DeNeffe, Senior Director of the Wyse Winterm line.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.