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Are you choosing to re-invent the wheel or are you not aware of the several fine Thin Client methods out there? If you are making the choice, kudos, re-inventing is ...
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  1. #11
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    Are you choosing to re-invent the wheel or are you not aware of the several fine Thin Client methods out there?

    If you are making the choice, kudos, re-inventing is the best way to truly understand. Somebody else's wheel might not do what you want your wheel to do.

    Gentoo Linux has been used to create custom Linux solutions like this. It is a step above compiling everything yourself.

    There are a few embedded Linux frameworks that might be useful.

    There are a few small Linux distributions that might be a good starting point.

    If you just aren't aware, there are a few already existing projects. Linux Terminal Server Project is a great idea if you have a Linux server and you need to give access. Since the users can re-configure their user space, it might not be a good fit.

    ThinStation is a stateless, PXE booting solutions. Minimal Linux specific knowledge is needed. It doesn't require a Linux server; there are instructions for using a MS Windows server as a boot server. Several remote admin features are included, all of which can be individually enabled or disabled. Even OpenVPN is available for remote terminals, though they probably wouldn't be diskless.

    If your thin clients are inside a firewall, the bad guys can't even find them without breaking your firewall first. If your thin clients are stateless (boot the same way each time they are turned on) then even if they are compromised, a reboot cleans them up.

    Thin Clients are a great way to separate the user interface from the data and processing. There are many reasons to centralize your IT resources; control of data, management of resources, cost, ease of access. For example, if a workstation costs $500 to replace every 3 years and 10 workstations can be run on a $1500 server, then there are obvious savings (Though the Windows licenses have a cost, as well). Virtual desktops can be reconfigured for more resources, cpu, memory, storage, as needed. Aside from thin clients, there are software clients for many platforms, with remote access, your users can have access to a full PC from tablets (though iOS doesn't have mouse support there are products claiming work-arounds), netbooks or laptops from anywhere they have a Internet connection.

  2. #12
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    Thank you all these ideas are great and I will be looking into each of them. If anyone has any other idea on how I can increase my security I would be more then happy to hear them.

    Also @Dustspeck due to my lack of knowledge in this field I have decided to make my own OS from scratch (following the http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ guide) just so I can learn how it all works. I will probably end up using/modifying someone else's thin client but for now I just want to understand as much of it as I can so I can be better informed.

  3. #13
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    Actually, I think you'll learn more from LinuxFromScratch than Gentoo. I would have liked to recommend it over Gentoo but many people think I'm crazy.

  4. #14
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustspeck View Post
    Actually, I think you'll learn more from LinuxFromScratch than Gentoo. I would have liked to recommend it over Gentoo but many people think I'm crazy.
    you can learn different things from each distro ... gentoo gives you the option to maintain a system after initial installation and setup - LFS is more about the journey IMHO

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