Linux Desktop Software


Userful Multiplier vs Thin Clients


Userful Multiplier for Linux is often mistaken for a thin-client solution. In fact, it is a "zero client" or a "thick client" solution. Each user station has dedicated video access to the host PC. This means that in an educational setting, users can enjoy rich media (e.g., streaming media, Flash), that may appear choppy on thin client hardware. Moreover, Userful Multiplier delivers a much more responsive user interface, compared to thin clients and Blades. Learn more about the disadvantages of thin-client solutions

Below is a chart that compares Userful Multiplier to single-user PCs, thin clients and Blades. Userful Multiplier provides significant TCO savings, a very responsive user interface and significant infrastructure savings. If there are applications in your organization that must run with a thin client, however, Userful Multiplier is by far the most cost-efficient strategy to deploy these thin clients. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop combes bundled with a Citrix ICA client and Windows Terminal Server client


Figure 1: Comparison Chart
  Userful Multiplier PCs Thin Client Blades
Monitors, keyboards and mice 10 10 10 10
Computer boxes required
(over 5-year period including upgrades) 
2 PCs*
+ 5 dual-head video cards
20 PCs* 10 thin clients
2 servers*
10 end-devices
20 blades*
Consolidates desktops
(centralizes hardware & software maintenance
Yes No Yes Yes
User interface responsiveness
& rich media performance
Excellent Excellent Poor Good
Power & air conditioning costs Very Low High Moderate Moderate
Supports thin-client protocols  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Upfront costs  Low Moderate High** Very High
Ongoing costs  Low High Moderate High
Scalable & allows for staged adoption  Yes Yes No No
Usable during network outage Yes Yes No Depends
Open platform
(reusable, non-proprietary hardware) 
Yes Yes Depends No


* Note: Thin clients have a longer lifespan than Userful Multiplier systems and standard PCs. They can typically outlive several server upgrades.

** Note: Deployment costs for thin clients are "high", owing to the fact that in addition to purchasing thin clients (which typically cost as much or more than a full-fledged PC), there are also substantial server and software licensing requirements to support these clients.

The upfront cost of a thin client deployment can be brought to "low" by retrofitting obsolete recycled PCs as clients and using Open Source software on the server instead of Terminal Services products from Citrix or Microsoft.


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