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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > So what ever happened to the "network computer"?

So what ever happened to the "network computer"?
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analogue SPRINKLES
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May 31, 2007, 12:32 PM
 
Remember 10 years ago everyone though computers would turn into hard drive less "network computers" that ran off a server in the building or even through the internet. This would allow you to have the same "home" folder no matter where you went and bring the costs of computers down?

Even Apple played with the idea with OSX server and netboot.

Not that I ever liked the idea to begin with but what happened?
     
andi*pandi
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May 31, 2007, 12:44 PM
 
some of the pcs at work have this.
     
peeb
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May 31, 2007, 12:50 PM
 
Processor and hard drive prices fell. Networks still go down from time to time.
     
DrMischievious
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May 31, 2007, 12:54 PM
 
Lag?
     
analogue SPRINKLES  (op)
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May 31, 2007, 12:56 PM
 
Was the only thing that was supposed to be missing from these things is a Hard drive or optical drive? Would that really have saved that much money in the first place?
     
peeb
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May 31, 2007, 01:05 PM
 
Apps have become more graphic intensive too. I remember vax terminals, which were kind of cool, but would be hard for todays apps.
     
mac128k-1984
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May 31, 2007, 01:18 PM
 
The need to run new or different applications, falling cost of the hardware, people's disdain for a "dumb" terminal all were reasons. It was (and remains) to be a step back, and people recognized this.

The folks at sun and Oracle were pushing this as a way to get a piece of the PC pie, They thought by going with net PC they'd supply the server hardware and server software to make this happen. Also those two companies thought the net-pc was a way to break the monopoly grip of Microsoft on operating systems and business apps.
Michael
     
BasketofPuppies
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May 31, 2007, 01:21 PM
 
We've been able to get does-office-functions-perfectly-well computers for cheap since 1998. Apps and, with some effort, operating systems can run over networks. And, unlike with network computers, these are the same apps and operating systems employees were using before they were running over networks, so they require no retraining.

In short, network computers offer no advantages over personal computers and have significant disadvantages.
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peeb
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May 31, 2007, 01:42 PM
 
The only thing I liked about the netboot system we had at college, was that I could log onto any machine, and it would boot my OS preferences to the local computer I was using.
     
Oneota
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May 31, 2007, 01:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
The only thing I liked about the netboot system we had at college, was that I could log onto any machine, and it would boot my OS preferences to the local computer I was using.
You don't need NetBoot for that - Network Home Directories will do that quite nicely.
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peeb
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May 31, 2007, 01:56 PM
 
Maybe that's what it was. It was cool.
     
macroy
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May 31, 2007, 02:55 PM
 
We actually have thin-clients in certain environments. The main benefit was that that because processor/memory and disk space is centralized at a server farm, software upgrades and patching is much easier. In addition, the ROI is greater as you no longer have to upgrade machines on a rotating basis (i.e. every two years or so).

For the most part, I think the drop in hardware prices and the lack of software support (there are simply software packages that will not work on Citrix) made them less beneficial.

While the terminals are not as abundant in our environment, our Office applications does run off of Citrix (for the non-IT staff that is). So I guess you can say that its evolved into a hybrid environment - as opposed to a completely thin-client environment.
.
     
starman
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May 31, 2007, 03:36 PM
 
World of Warcraft

Home - Twitter - Sig Wall-Retired - Flickr
     
peeb
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May 31, 2007, 03:56 PM
 
Isn't there quite a lot of work on the client side there?
     
wolfen
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May 31, 2007, 04:22 PM
 
It was a roadie for Metallica for a while (buncha a55holes). Then it stumbled around LA solving crimes for a bit.

Now it's just really laid back. But I don't think it's anything to be concerned about.

Oh wait, you said Network Computer. Nevermind.
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peeb
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May 31, 2007, 04:24 PM
 
!
     
mduell
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May 31, 2007, 04:38 PM
 
Because you'd have to rely on the network being functional to boot your computer.

But apps are moving online:
http://docs.google.com
Adobe was talking about some Photoshop-on-the-web thing
Google released Gears at their dev con today to help with using 'online' apps when offline
     
olePigeon
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Jun 1, 2007, 12:12 PM
 
Before people had personal computers, almost everything was a network terminal (or less, a teletype!)

Sun really pushed network terminals.
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nonhuman
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Jun 1, 2007, 12:18 PM
 
     
OreoCookie
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Jun 1, 2007, 12:46 PM
 
We have some at my university at home (Sun Rays). They work alright, you have less maintenance, but on the other hand, it feels slow and I can't install any personalized teX things.
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olePigeon
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Jun 1, 2007, 01:01 PM
 
Here's the Macintosh NC that Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs had announced, but it never came to fruit (hehe):

"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
analogue SPRINKLES  (op)
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Jun 1, 2007, 01:04 PM
 
Funny how back then tall monitors were cooler than wide.
     
vmarks
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Jun 1, 2007, 01:40 PM
 
The cool thing about a network computer is that if it breaks, it's stock hardware, you just plug a replacement in and the user keeps working.

I have an IBM XStation. It's a small amount of ram, a vga adapter, keyboard and mouse, network, and a card slot for pcmcia.

You boot it up and it's got Xwindows, and it wants to know the server hostname/ip and a user/password, and it spawns a display off of that server.

Very cheap to make, yet works great with SunOS/Solaris, AIX, Linux, BSD, and possibly OS X although I haven't bothered to try.

Still, it isn't the same as having a rich client running locally.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 2, 2007, 07:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Here's the Macintosh NC that Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs had announced, but it never came to fruit (hehe):

There must be some good reason why I have no recollection of this.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
alligator
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Jun 2, 2007, 09:36 PM
 
Aren't the Google applications something like this? You can use them online from any machine.
     
   
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