Alan W. Runfeldt
(908) 996-4990

In response to Lawrence Dietz' aricle

Thin Client Architecture
in The Post Microsoft Workplace

I think that Mr. Dietz has hit the nail squarely on the head. As Mac integrates more Unix features into its OS and Microsoft repeatedly shoots itself in the foot with more resource-intensive and downright unreliable and readily hackable and generally troublesome versions of Windows, while Unix (specifically Linux) support grows universally, Sun's Solaris OR Linux-based 'thin client' approach is a concept whose time has come (again).

This is not a new concept, but the timing is the thing. It was a good idea ten years ago, but that was when Microsoft's promises were trusted. Repeated failures and escalating costs (not to mention the bad press of their legal battles) have eroded that trust internationally. European governments shun Microsoft. Now the international and domestic corporate markets are ready to listen.

While the per-work-station cost of maintaining PC's has grown, the efficiency of the network has grown as well. Bluetooth and other wireless technologies make integration of everything from the work station to the PDA to the cell phone not only practical, but increasingly more efficient and totally user-friendly.

"Walk in, log on and go to work."

With the integration of Java, Javascript and Flex/Flash technologies into the common web browser, that 'browser' is no longer simply a means of interpreting html-encoded pages. It IS the workspace.

Supporting one 'desktop' application - the 'browser', eliminates 90% of the IT support requirements of the current PC-based Windows network environment.

The hardware cost savings alone make this appealing to the corporate IT analyst. When you centralize the applications software *source* to a network server, yet let it run independently in a local workstation, software upgrades are not only easier to supervise and maintain, but the hardware requirements are eased as well.

We are not talking about a return to the 1970's client-server relationship, where all of the processing relied upon a monster server connected via miles of cable and workstations were 'dumb terminals'. We will be seeing 'thin clients' - although they are not weak clients.

And, we are not looking forward to more of the MS brand of peer-to-peer networking. After ten years of universal acceptance and very hard use, the technologies which support and have enhanced the capabilities of this new client-server relationship - The Internet - and have made 'to google' a verb, have proven themselves not only to the IT community, but to the general public as well.

And, one last point. At a time when there is a major world-wide initiative to produce and put in place millions of "One hundred dollar" (well, actually $200) portable computers into the hands of children around the world, and when cellular technology is the new telecommunications choice for the entire world - including the rapidly integrating 'third world', the *concept* of universal connectivity is no longer science fiction. It is today's fact.

Yes. I think that Sun's new initiative will strongly erode Microsoft's tenuous hold on the work place and that will be a good thing for everyone except for those soon-ready-to-retire millionaire Microsoft executives and the foolish IT people who bought into the MS song and dance and learned how to push buttons like Pavlov's dogs, but missed out on gaining a firm foundation and understanding of how computing and networking really works as the technologies evolve and make our lives better.

Alan Runfeldt
No Deadlines Networks