Using your system as a thin client

The idea of a thin client is to effectively minimise the amount of processing done by the system on the user’s desktop and to shift the computing power and data storage off to a computer room somewhere else. Essentially the workstation simply processes graphics command and keyboard / mouse movements and the central server does everything else. (i.e. all applications sit on the server and actually run on the server, with the IO redirected to a “dumb” graphics terminal via a network connection).

The system comes with support for the following thin client technologies;

  • X11 – this is the native Unix X-windows protocol designed primarily for use over LAN’s (Unix Only)
  • VNC – Virtual Network Computing, this is a free implementation useful over slower connections (Multi-platform)
  • RDP – Microsoft’s thin client protocol (Windows Only)

Using X11 in thin client mode

This is probably the easiest to access (although none are difficult) and you would use this if your Unix server was connected to your local LAN.

  • Step 1 – from the login screen, click on the System icon
  • Step 2 – select XDMCP Chooser from the menu and click OK
  • Step 3 – a list of available servers will appear. Click on the server you want to connect to, then click Connect. If no servers are listed or the Connect button will not become clickable, then there are no servers on your network to which you can connect.

Now you should see a login prompt for the system to which you have connected – log in and you’re away.

Using a VNC connection

You would typically use this to connect to either a Unix or Windows server via a LAN connection or via a Broadband / ADSL connection.

  • Step 1 – navigate to Applications -> Internet -> Terminal Server Client
  • Step 2 – enter the server name and port into the Computer box
    This should be of the format server:port , for example: central-server:5905 or
  • Step 3 – select VNC from the drop down menu next to Protocol
  • Step 4 – click on Connect

For this to work you obviously need to either set up or have someone give you the name of a working server / port number.

Using an RDP connection

You would typically use this to connect to a Windows server.

  • Step 1 – navigate to Applications -> Internet -> Terminal Server Client
  • Step 2 – enter the server name into the Computer box
  • Step 3 – select RDP (or RDP5 if your version of Windows supports this) from the Protocol dropdown
  • Step 4 – enter your Windows username , password and domain
  • Step 5 – click on Connect

For this to work you need a Windows server set up to allow incoming Terminal Server connections. In all cases you will need a valid password and in the cases of X11 and
RDP, also a valid username for the servers in question. (for VNC connections the user id is normally implied by the chosed port number)

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