JoeShmoe
Contributor
Contributor

Advice - View Client on re-purposed PC's

If we wanted to take old XP desktop PC's and repuprose them as thin clients what's the best/accepted way to enable a view client on these devices and retain all key functions such as DNS, DHCP etc?

Are there available Linux distributions for example that include the View client? Or is there a better option (PXE boot etc). Appreciate any advice as new to View/Thin clients

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21 Replies
Linjo
Leadership
Leadership

There is a few options from the open source ThinStation.org to commercially VDIBlaster from Devonit.

I think there will be more options very soon when the Linux PCoIP Client is availble.

// Linjo

Best regards, Linjo Please follow me on twitter: @viewgeek If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
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sketchy00
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Anything coming out of the rumor mill on this?  ...I've been anxiously waiting for a View 5 client for Linux and the Mac as well.  From what I've seen, I'm not the only one out there...

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Linjo
Leadership
Leadership

Be patient, its coming.

Best regards, Linjo Please follow me on twitter: @viewgeek If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
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VMMikeC
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I've used VDI Blaster...It's okay. The cost savings is nice, but I'd much rather use a zero client

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Bravo5MN
Contributor
Contributor

Weve successfully used 4-6 year-old Dell hardware with a clean XP load, locked down with a group policy to only allow the View client to run (in fact, the policy auto-starts the client). We've chosen to still put anti-virus on the machine just to keep it safe. Works nicely if you have the investment in the HW and XP OS license just sitting in the storeroom.

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VMMikeC
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I thought about doing it this way, but it's double OS patching.

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marvinms
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I currently have DevonIT's VDIBlaster up and running on my PoC environment. I also want to reuse current equipement without the need/cost/maintenance/license of having a Windows OS on those machines.

My current hold-up has to do with the Windows 7 VMs and not VDIBlaster. Dell is currenlty "buying" into the product and also supports it.

Their manangement console is an appliance that the Terminals know to report to (by name), when they show up, you lable them, assign a Profile to them and the machines boot and re-boot if desired into the entiled pool.

The cost is about $20 a license.

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jescka
Contributor
Contributor

If you want to reuse an existing PC, you definitely want to look IGEL Technology's UDC Universal Destkop Converter which includes the most current View Clent for Linux.  Their conversion solution is a full implementaion of their IGEL Embedded Linux, which is arguably one of the best, if not the best overall thin client operating system available.  IGEL's UDC is also fully manageble using their thin client management system, which is free! The IGEL website is http://www.igel.com.

IGEL also has a virtual machine version of the thin client firmware that is exactly the same as what would be installed on your old PC. It's a great way to see what you'll get after you install their UDC on your PC.

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If you running Windows 7 as your VM you must have SA or VDA..   With those you are entittled to  "Windows Thin PC"  It's basically Windows 7 Embedded ported to a PC.

It's small and it's windows 7.   It has write filters to lock the drive so on a reboot the image is back to prestine condition.   It can be managed easily as well.

It runs the Windows  VMWare View 5 Client with no issues.  You get everything you want and more.

It's also included if you have SA or VDA. 

Larry B

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Lubbe176
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We have built custom Thinstations, implementing a PCOIP client.

My collegue has built these, ill ask him to comment on this thread.

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redhawk668
Contributor
Contributor

I am that colleague who has built the custom Thinstation images Lubbe176 is talking about Smiley Happy. It is indeed possible to implement PCoIP in Thinstation, it requires some effort as this is not supported by the creators of Thinstation... Googled for info on this topic, but couldn't find any, so I figured this one out myself.

I've downloaded a Linux build environment from the Thinstation sourceforge site: http://thinstation.org/ You'll need a Linux machine for this to build. Flavor of Linux doesn't matter. My image is based on Thinstation version 2.2.2h.

After some googling I found out HP has a PCoIP client for Linux which is based on the open source vmview client. It is actually for the HP t5545 line of thin clients.... Anyway, these clients run a kind of Linux based on Debian, the client update of this is distributed as Debian *.deb files.

Download link: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=nl&prodTypeId=12...

This is a Windows exe file, this extracts 2 *.deb files. I've copied this to an Ubuntu machine and installed the packages on this machine. This gave me a working PCoIP client in Ubuntu with USB redirection, etc. Smiley Happy. I've recorded the changes made to the Ubuntu machine and used this in my Thinstation build... et voila, this resulted in working PCoIP and usb redirection in Thinstation... :smileycool:. It has taken a while before I got this working, a lot of trial and error, but the result is rewarding. We've installed our image with the help of Norton Ghost on the harddrive of our clients.....

I am working on a howto, for those who are interested.

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Lubbe176
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks Robert (RedHawk), it might be interesting that we are running over 600 of these "Thinstations" and that they are virtually maintainance free.

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redhawk668
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah, that's right virtually maintenance free :smileylaugh:. The only time when these clients need maintenance is when they break down.... :smileysilly:

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Linjo
Leadership
Leadership

There is now an official Linux PCoIP View client, so no need to get it from "other" sources.

Here is some more info:

http://mindfluxinc.net/

// Linjo

Best regards, Linjo Please follow me on twitter: @viewgeek If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
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redhawk668
Contributor
Contributor

Looks promising, but it's fairly large :smileyplain:.... My solution has a very small footprint, it's only 32 mb in size. This is the Linux kernel, drivers and the VMWare View Client. It basically creates a ramdisk, crams everything in and runs completely from RAM.... :smileycool:. I've configured this in such a way that the connection broker is already filled in, the only thing the users have to do is click on connect, fill in their username and password and connect to the virtual desktop, very easy.... Keep it simple...Smiley Wink. When they logoff from their session the machine returns to the logon screen... Pressing the on/off button switches off the machine.

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redhawk668
Contributor
Contributor

Little update, I've made some changes to the Thinstation configuration. I've finally solved the ACPI problems we encountered. At this moment, when students logoff from a Thinstation they now get a dialog box in which they can choose reconnect or shutdown. When they click shutdown, the machine shuts down, reconnect brings them back at the login prompt. If they wait one minute the machine will also shut down.... Smiley Happy I've also configured a cron job so machines will shut down at 23:00.... Saves some energy...

I've also started work on a totally new Thinstation image, version 5.0, new kernel, etc. and wireless support, nice :smileycool:... We still have some old laptops, could be nice to convert those in Thinstation machines....

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Sergei13
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have done it with Windows Thin PC, a Windows 7 light OS specifically made for that purpose.

However, it requires software SA.

Everything is set thru GPO, once the machine is setup up and located in the right OU.

The way I have done it, is autologon, shell set to the VMware client + shelly which forces to loop on the client.

If you add a local GPO to prevent ctrl+alt+del and a few other bits, you almost have a Thin Client running out of the 1giga Ram PC !

I also looked at Igel. Looked nice but their licencing mode is based on Mac Address ...

If one of your old PCs die ... you buy a new licence :smileydevil:

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scottsb45
Contributor
Contributor

Sergei13,

I'm interested in using Windows Thin PC to deploy VMware view VM's in our infrastructure. We are as well trying to use some older hardware and save some money. I have Thin PC installed on a test machine and we have a VMware view manager server running version 5.0. I Just to make sure you are in fact going through the process I'm looking to do, I was wondering if you could give me some more information?

If I'm understanding what you are doing correctly and this is what I'm trying to do, you are using Thin PC as a "proxy" pretty much and using it so when a machine is turned on it connects to the VMware view server connection broker and you can choose or automatically load a VM from the connection broker? If that is similar to the process you are doing I was wondering if you could give me quick run down on the process you chose to make this happen. It doesn't have to be step by step, but it would be great to get as much information as possible. Thanks for any information or help you can provide!

-Scott

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Sergei13
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Here are some quick guidelines.

Since I neve managed to deplys WTPC with MDT, I used a bootable USB  key on which I installed the OS with a Microsoft tool I can't recall the name).

The install is pretty basic, it needs to reboot once.

Once done, I shut the machine down and move it to a specific OU

In this OU, I have a GPO that does all the job; which is bascially.

     runnning a script that copy saved local policies, basically some stuff about blocking ctrl+alt+del, task maneger + others I can't recall but could dig in if needed.

          Install the client if not already installed

          Set a registry key to avoid ssl certificate check

          reboot the machine

     runnning an other script that sets all the registry for autologon

     GPP to copy shelly.exe and vdm_client.adm

     disable local users and create a spécific local admin

     disable access to local c drive and some other security stuff

     set firewall on except for 3389

     create a job to stop the machine every night at 9pm.

   

I have to say it took me a bit of time but that does the job. But Zero Client are more comfortable for end users.

The only thing is when setup is finished, I am having a hard time modifying it, I have to start again from scratch  :smileyblush:

Hope this help.

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