The idea is just a broken one – network computing. The official reason why it will not work was at the time of its inception likely is a combination of bandwidth access (or lack there of) along with the dropping price of stand alone PCs with a real hard drive.

Fast forward to now, I see that for most people, a stand alone PC is “okay”, but a growing segment of the population frankly needs something managed as updating their OS is something that they find to be more than they can tackle due to issues arising when things go wrong.

I have grown tired of watching users of Windows, OS X or anything else you throw at them, being too much as there is always going to be some level of responsibility for maintaining things. Unfortunately, many individuals are not equipped to this task.

In the enterprise world, I see the growth of thin clients being used, sometimes with Linux but often connecting to a Windows server. Based on what I have seen, it appears to be the perfect marriage as both Windows and Linux thin clients today are more robust than ever.

Ignoring mistakes like Webtv amongst others, does anyone see managed services for “Ma and Pa Kettle PC User” being a boon, technology allowing for subscription based/diskless computing again? I am interested in hearing perspectives from both sides of the issue. Because regardless of how bad an idea it may seem like, the fact is that I have talked with a number of people about the concept of Windows (or any other OS) as a service they subscribe to, using old hardware, they loved the idea.

  • Use a thin client with something like Thinstation which is Linux but works well with Windows Server. It can also provide a seamless Windows experience, but not rely so heavily on the client hardware.
  • Many people would rather just have the software they need installed, ready to go, than have to deal with the installation and maintenance of it themselves.
  • In a bad economy, who would not want to be able to use the latest operating system environments without having to fork over their first born just to cover the cost of hardware that will likely overwhelm them anyway? $30 per month vs $399 plus endless calls to the local tech for help? Seems fairly obvious.

Clearly, the concept is not all bad. It is just a matter of getting the logistics in play. We have seen it working in the local fields of the enterprise and remotely via VPN. Is there room for the home user here, too?