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2004 Sep 29 09:27

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Re: [vox] LTSP, a School District, and Windows...
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Re: [vox] LTSP, a School District, and Windows...

Steve Hargadon wrote:
On Tue, 28 Sep 2004 12:25:27 -0800, Edward Elliott <ed_elliott@email.com> wrote:

Steve, let me drop a note and contribute a bit of background research in case that's helpful.

Great feedback.  I don't think it's the licensing fees, necessarily,
or the alternative programs available (which I looked at as well)--I
think it was more like this:

"We support 4,000 computers with two technicians, and we aren't sure
we even want to talk to you.  We have several Windows programs which
we depend on for state reporting on student progress.  You say you can
run Windows program using Linux thin client, but I don't want to have
to switch the licensing the I currently have.  I have zero time to
talk, but if you'll show me you can run Mavis Beacon and Accelerated
Reader, then I'm willing to make the time to talk to you."

Now, I'm not sure I'm willing to jump through these hoops, but I want
at least to figure out what I'm up against.  This district has
multiple campuses, lots of students and pcs, and it would be a
significant opportunity to showcase the technology.
It really depends on the applications themselves. For example, my chiropractor has some (old) applications he really needed to do his business. One is a DOS-based patient management system and the other is a form generation program for insurance based-claims (which runs under Windows 95). I tried Dosemu and Wine to no avail. I found that Win4Lin running Windows 95 was my best bet, since it ran both applications flawlessly.

The caveat is that they can only run these apps under one user since a) they only have one licensed copy of Windows 95 and b) they have one Win4Lin seat license. The good news is that these are just licensing issues--the thin client technology could run a huge office full.

I was told by Netraverse (who manufactures Win4Lin) that if I wanted to have multiple copies of Win4Lin running, that I'd need to buy their Terminal Server package plus have an individual license of Windows for each user. We all agreed that one user would be sufficient. The other users log into Linux and run native, open source applications for basic office tasks (Internet, Office software, etc) which they are quite happy with.

The upshot is that if Mavis Beacon and Accelerated Reader can run under Windows 98 and don't require certain DirectX/3D features, you could use Win4Lin to demonstrate this. The other option to try is CodeWeavers' CrossOver Office (a Wine based technology that you have to pay per user for). CrossOver Office runs Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, and it might be able to hack the Windows apps in question.

You can get a trial copy of CrossOver office, but Win4Lin does not have such an animal.

Good luck!


PS: There is one other option I know of, and that's VmWare, which is more expensive than either CrossOver or Win4Lin. VmWare can handle Windows NT/2K/XP (unlike Win4Lin). You also can get a demo version to test it out. As I understand it, the math department at UCD runs Linux and VmWare to handle their legacy Windows applications.

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R. Douglas Barbieri
fn:R. Douglas Barbieri
n:Barbieri;R. Douglas

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