The solution: Network computing: The NC model ("THIN CLIENT")

Network computing is an old idea whose time has come again. Early computers were centrally administered, serving numerous users via remote text-only terminals. Today, systems like Unix can provide dozens or hundreds of users with a point and click interface comparable to Windows or MacOS. One can think of X-windows as filling the same role as MS-Windows, with the exception that the programs run on a server, but display on your terminal. Terminals that can display X-windows are called X-terminals. X terminals are one of the many possible types of Network Computers, or NCs. When you login to your Unix account, your session runs on the central server, but displays on your NC. Each process (window) that you run is an independent client. It is typically the case that a great deal of the work done by a program involves re-drawing of client windows as you scroll, cut and paste, or open or close windows. Under Unix, the X11 protocols are used to offload these screen drawing tasks to the NC. This means that, when a change is supposed to be made on the screen, the server sends an X11 command to the NC, instructing it to do the computation necessary to, for example, move a window from one place to another.

There are some disadvantages to network computing:

For more information on some of these issues, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) .

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