Home Thin Client Blockbuster

Thin Client Blockbuster

I can imagine the movie trailer voiceover: “In a world where Thin Clients rule, one man (and a very large software company) is fighting back…”

This is a movie starring Robert Scoble, Microsoft’s most famous blogger. It’s about the war against Web-based apps and the script is being written by Robert himself. First he said:

“…Olivier has the thin-client disease that’s all the rage lately. Here’s a hint: the thick client is coming back.”

He expands on Thick Clients (ha ha, geddit?) in a later post:

“Thin clients are fine (an entire wing of our business, MSN, builds for them) but thin clients fall apart when you fly in planes every two weeks (without Wifi). Is that drinking the Microsoft Koolaid? Maybe, but when you get Photoshop in your browser let me know, OK? And technologies like WinFS will keep thick clients relevant for more than a decade.”

Ah, the old ‘Photoshop in a browser’ argument. I admit I would love to have a web-based image editor program. I recently downloaded The Gimp, as I no longer have access to Photoshop. Luckily it’s not a large program (a little over 30MB I think), so it’s not too much hassle to install it on multiple machines. Even so, it would be nice to have it as a web service… So yes, Robert you have a point there.

Incidentally and ironically, I found a good definition of ‘Thin Client’ on Microsoft’s site: “A network device that has the ability to process information independently but relies on servers for applications, data storage, and administration. See also network computer, Windows terminal.”

In other words, ‘Thin Client’ means the server does all the work.

But ultimately, much as I like a good war movie, I have to disagree with Robert. We’re now in a world of broadband and ever-increasing storage space on servers – both of which are becoming cheaper every day (unlike petrol). So the Thin Client is not only here to stay – it’s set to become the next big Brad Pitt blockbuster.

Thick Clients are like silent movies in the late 1920’s, just before talkies took over. We’re entering a new era of Thin Clients – and I for one know how this movie will end.

[note: The “in a world where…” bit was inspired by Rogers Cadenhead and The Morning News]

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