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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > should I use OSX or OSXServer for remote connections?

should I use OSX or OSXServer for remote connections?
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michael_rc
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May 2, 2011, 09:00 AM
 
Hi,

I have two old ibooks that are very slow and near their end. Rather than replace them with new laptops, I'd like to buy a MacMini and have my old ibooks act as "thin clients" to connect to the Mini. Basically, I'd like all applications, storage, and documents to reside on the Mini. I'll use my iBook to simply connect to the Mini and then remotely control and interact with it. What program(s) would I use for this?

Should I get a Mini with OSXServer on it? Or can I simply have OSX on the Mini and still allow two different laptops to connect in and control it?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

-Michael
     
Mac Write
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May 4, 2011, 12:29 AM
 
Doing a VNC type system would be slow display with no audio. What exactly do you want to do with the ibooks? Also Lion will have OS X Server included as part of it when it comes out later this summer. What are the specs on the ibooks? Maybe as you say they've reached the end of their useful life and can't be used with newest software.
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--Stephen King
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2011, 01:13 AM
 
What it sounds like you are looking for is something like Windows Terminal Services (or whatever it is called now) or SSH X11 forwarding. Alas, no such solution exists on the Mac. You could setup access to launch apps and store stuff remotely via a VNC based solution or the like, but you will not be able to have two users on different machines using the same apps at the same time. You won't even be able to share the GUI environment, as VNC will monopolize the GUI as if you are physically at the Mac Mini - you cannot have two users using this simultaneously.

If there are solutions to do this, they aren't bundled with OS X. The best you could do is share X11 based apps, and there would be limitations there as well.
     
AKcrab
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May 4, 2011, 01:14 AM
 
I would wait for Lion and see what that brings to the table.
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 4, 2011, 05:40 AM
 
Screen sharing and ARD are both limited to one at a time. Lion may change this. May.

The only way I can think to do it now is to run two virtual OS X Servers on the mini and remote into one from each iBook. You still won't get any audio though.

Unless you are talking about running a directory service. You could hold user data on a server and bind your iBooks to it. Give them portable home directories and then they will sync up on login and logout when the server is available. That could be done with a Mac Mini Server right now. I'm not writing instructions for that here though sorry. Gotta make a living somehow.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2011, 01:38 PM
 
Two OS X Server VMs would indeed work for sharing apps, but chances are having both VMs running will probably require more RAM than the Mini will support to run optimally.

I doubt Lion will change this, but we'll see...
     
turtle777
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May 4, 2011, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by michael_rc View Post
Hi,

I have two old ibooks that are very slow and near their end. Rather than replace them with new laptops, I'd like to buy a MacMini and have my old ibooks act as "thin clients" to connect to the Mini. Basically, I'd like all applications, storage, and documents to reside on the Mini. I'll use my iBook to simply connect to the Mini and then remotely control and interact with it. What program(s) would I use for this?

Should I get a Mini with OSXServer on it? Or can I simply have OSX on the Mini and still allow two different laptops to connect in and control it?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

-Michael
You're overthinking this.

Buy a MBP and be done with it.
The iBooks are too old to be of any use.

-t
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2011, 02:22 PM
 
It's a legitimate question, it would be lovely if we could do what the original poster wanted in OS X, but I guess Apple is mostly concerned about maximizing hardware sales rather than providing this utility. A similar rationale may exist for virtualizing OS X client.

Solutions exist on the Windows and Linux side.
     
turtle777
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May 4, 2011, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It's a legitimate question, it would be lovely if we could do what the original poster wanted in OS X, but I guess Apple is mostly concerned about maximizing hardware sales rather than providing this utility. A similar rationale may exist for virtualizing OS X client.

Solutions exist on the Windows and Linux side.
Pfff.

The battery run-time for an old iBook will be less than 1 hour. No software solution would make that better.
Using the old iBook as a "mobile" reader is a very sub-par solution, no matter if it theoretically would work or not.

-t
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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May 4, 2011, 03:41 PM
 
I've never seen a windows terminal server setup the was "snappy".
     
turtle777
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May 4, 2011, 03:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I've never seen a windows terminal server setup the was "snappy".
Yes, let alone on 5-10 year old hardware.

-t
     
King Bob On The Cob
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May 4, 2011, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It's a legitimate question, it would be lovely if we could do what the original poster wanted in OS X, but I guess Apple is mostly concerned about maximizing hardware sales rather than providing this utility. A similar rationale may exist for virtualizing OS X client.

Solutions exist on the Windows and Linux side.
Solutions exist on the Mac side, but it will not provide the experience that the original poster is looking for. Mac Terminal Server - Mac Remote Desktop - Virtualization - RDP - OS X Terminal Services
     
Doc HM
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May 4, 2011, 05:40 PM
 
I think it's probably best to acknowledge that although the OP would rather not replace the iBooks, in reality this is by far the best/most practical solution. Considered getting used Macbooksor MBP's as an alternative to new hardware?
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 4, 2011, 06:17 PM
 
Terminal services on Windows is generally much snappier than Apple Remote Desktop. Especially over the internet. Still not exactly snappy though.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2011, 06:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Yes, let alone on 5-10 year old hardware.

-t

Your point about battery life might be valid if a replacement battery is not a possibility and it is important to run without AC, but a thin client doesn't need fast hardware, this is the whole point. It would run fine on old hardware, in theory.
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2011, 06:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
I think it's probably best to acknowledge that although the OP would rather not replace the iBooks, in reality this is by far the best/most practical solution. Considered getting used Macbooksor MBP's as an alternative to new hardware?

Yeah, AquaConnect looks promising. One nice thing about RDP based solutions is that audio is forwarded on to the client.
     
   
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