Never Recycle an Old PC With Neverware

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Neverware? Never heard of it. That is, until I came across it recently in my reading. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’m on the lookout for, as a cloud computing fanatic. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of information about it on the Neverware site, but luckily I know enough about virtual desktops and terminal servers to discuss it. I think I might have a few questions at the end, though.

The basis of the system, created by Jonathan Hefter of Dogpatch Labs, is fairly simple; you have a server sitting in a machine room or closet that is beefy enough to push a virtual desktop (terminals, in old words) to one or more disk-less workstations. The object is to make it transparent and streamlined enough that the user doesn’t really know the difference.

The PC itself is little more than a video card and some RAM, since all of the applications run from the server and are just piped to the monitor the remote PC is feeding. You would just sit down, turn it on, and work as you would with any other PC.

Neverware’s site is sparse on details (I did sign up for more info that I’ll update here) on how it in particular works, but most virtual desktop solutions can run into big money. There are alternatives to that of course (I used to play with the Linux Terminal Server Project myself) but Dogpatch seems to be putting this out there for school systems without the large budget to replace 60 or 100 aging desktops.

The questions I would ask are about licensing. Microsoft had bulk licenses for Terminal Server that you could purchase for X users, and I know that some other big company solutions offer the same pricing model. In order to save money, licenses can’t be an issue. So, in that case, what OS is this thing running?

I’ll let you know what I find out, but in the meantime, do you think this is something that would work out to infuse old school networks with new life? Let me know in the comments!

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