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We have some Windows XP Pro computers in a "computer room" next to the checkout counters in our store. (Just a little mom&pop store.) The POS database server is on ...
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    Remote monitor


    We have some Windows XP Pro computers in a "computer room" next to the checkout counters in our store. (Just a little mom&pop store.) The POS database server is on one of those computers. We use a wireless laptop from time to time in the storeroom and use Windows Remote Desktop to connect to one of the POS computers to do receiving.

    I would like to put a permanent workstation in the storeroom, but I do not wish to put a full-fledged computer there. The only purpose would be to remote into the POS computers via a wireless network connection.

    We already have the LCD terminal, keyboard and mouse in place. What I envision would be a simple little box, maybe no bigger than a BandAid box, which would not take up any space, would not use much power, and would not generate much heat. It would only need power, two USB ports and a video port. It would run Linux off of solid state memory - flash drive or something. It would have to connect to the wireless network. The only application I would run on it would be the VNC client. I would put the VNC server on one of the POS computers.

    Does anyone know of such a device? Obviously my needs are quite specific, but perhaps there is something close to it out there.

    Thank you,

    --FatBear

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Time for a google search. There are such things that run linux and can do what you want. You could get one of the little linux netbook computers (cheap) that run off of a flash disc and have a VGA and/or DVI video interface that can hook to your LCD display and will work with your USB keyboard and mouse. Just put it where folks cannot physically access it and they only can get to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since they are battery powered, but can run off of wall current, you have a built-in UPS, so they should pretty much be 24x7.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux User saivin's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Is a thin-client an answer to your question? Please go through Thin client - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and see if that is of any help.
    A candle looses nothing by lighting other candles. - Khalil Zibran.
    Registered Linux User #490076

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    Thanks Rubberman and saivin. I'll check out both of those suggestions.

    --FatBear

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    I have ordered a small device called Fit-PC1 on clearance sale for $199 with wireless and Linux already installed. I will use it with VNC, rdesktop, or something similar to connect to the PC with the POS database. Does this make sense? If not, the loss is not so great as to precipitate a divorce. (It's mostly my wife's store, I'm just the "IT guy".)

    I am not allowed to post links, probably to avoid spam and self-serving marketeers, but I am neither. If you were to put the usual www stuff in front of this: "fit-pc.com/fit-pc1/" you would have a link that pointed to the device I bought.

    Thanks again for your help.

    --FatBear

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I've heard of them. It will probably work just fine. Do you know what distribution+version of Linux it runs? Also, what is the processor and video chip set?
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    From their website:

    "fit-PC Slim Linux [the model I bought] is shipped with preloaded Ubuntu 8.10 and Gentoo 2008.0 in dual boot mode."

    "
    Hardware
    CPU: AMD Geode LX800 500MHz
    Chipset: AMD CS5536
    Display: Integrated Geode LX display controller up to 1920x1440
    Memory: 512MB DDR 333MHz soldered on-board
    Hard disk: 2.5 IDE 60GB
    Ports:
    RJ45 Ethernet port 100Mbps
    WLAN 802.11b/g 54Mbps
    3 x USB 2.0 HiSpeed 480Mbps
    mini RS-232 (RX/TX)
    VGA DB15
    Stereo line-out audio (headphones)
    Stereo line-in audio / Mic
    "

    --FatBear

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Either of those should work for you just fine. Gentoo is more of a "hacker's" distribution since everything is built from scratch, including the kernel, with just the hardware drivers you need. Ubuntu is easier for the newbie to get going. Both are solid and used for a lot of commercial systems.

    My first personal Linux that I used daily was Gentoo on my old Dell XPS-R450 about 5 or 6 years ago. Then I tried Simply Mepis on my Dell 8300 workstation. It was very good also. Then I installed Freespire on my Dell D600 laptop, switched to Ubuntu 8.10, and then gave that to my grandson who uses it to design and control RC aircraft and helicopters. Then a couple of years ago I needed a new workstation and laptop for my consulting business so I had a custom workstation built and am running CentOS on that. My current Dell D630 laptop has two system discs - one with XP and one with Ubuntu 9.04 installed on it. I run XP for client support, and Ubuntu for my own use. In all these cases, I have been happy with the Linux distributions I have used. I have done serious software development on all of them and cannot say that one or another is "better". They all have their niches and situations where one is more appropriate than another, but I have enjoyed using them all and have learnt a lot about Linux that way.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    I used Unix a lot in the '80s and early '90s, but have been using Windows systems since then. I went from being a hardware developer (large Unix systems) to a user and my applications ran on Windows. I've been watching Linux with curiosity since it began, but have never had the need to install and use it. To me a computer is a tool or a project, but not a hobby, so without a hard reason to try it, I have just never found time to do so. I guess that will change in a few days.

    Wish me luck.

    --FatBear

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    Linux User saivin's Avatar
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    Let me be the first to wish you...

    ...To me a computer is a tool or a project, but not a hobby, so without a hard reason to try it, I have just never found time to do so...
    Lot of people think on the same line. Hope linux distros will mature enough so that people will start using it for day-to-day business and can still hold the same opinion. That's the reason why I like distros like Ubuntu/Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSuSE, Mint... That way more and more people will use linux and as a chain reaction more and more SW vendors will right linux version of their software(albeit closed source) and HW vendors will incorporate support for linux. Good thing is this is already started to happen although at a slow pace...

    Good luck again.
    A candle looses nothing by lighting other candles. - Khalil Zibran.
    Registered Linux User #490076

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