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A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I.

23 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Aug 17, 2005 8:04 AM by Joseph Yanushpolsky

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Andy

Posts: 4
Nickname: andy1234
Registered: May, 2005

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 18, 2005 11:33 AM
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> From a pure technology point of view this may well be
> correct however, for most companies, the best 'technical'
> solution is not always the best 'commercial' solution.


> The net result of centralising control of hardware and
> software and access to it (not to mention who decides who
> can run what and what software can be bought, etc.) is,
> for many companies, a bureaucratic nightmare. You end up
> with a black box department where no one outside can
> actually get to do anything without reams of arcane forms
> to fill in and frequently weeks of waiting to get the most
> rudimentary response.
>
> Remember print rooms? I do. The same used to be true
> there. To get a print, forms had to be filled in, handed
> in and negotiated. Hours (or days) later you'd get back a
> print. If it was wrong in some way you went around the
> loop again. If you complained, you went to the back of
> the queue. Now we have photocopiers. You want a print?
> You get a print. It's that simple.
>
> Decentralising hardware and software to the users was a
> massive leap forward. Sure there are some increased costs
> but they are dwarfed by the increased flexibility. In
> addition, the job of maintenance is returned to being a
> service to the rest of the company not an obstical to its
> workings.
>
> > People will look back on
> > the 1980's and 1990's and say what were they thinking.
>
> They were thinking how wonderful it was to have the
> freedom to work the way they want and not having to kowtow
> to a bunch of backoffice geeks who think they know
> better.
>
> Whilst the idea of dumb terminals looks good on paper and
> has may well work in special situations, I can guarantee
> that in no time there'll be a user who says "we need
> software X to do our job better" and the response will -
> once again - be "We know what you need better than you do
> and we approve of software Y. Oh, and you've exceeded
> your file storage allotment and must delete some files.".
> And the user just will go out and get a PC to use in
> n addition to
the terminal.
>
> V.

I believe the situation was exactly the opposite and continues to be. In special situations some people will need their own machine but the vast majority of users would be much better served, at far less cost and be far more satisfied with a terminal. On the one hand you say the market is able to satisfy demand when it involves everybody getting their own individual machines, software, etc etc but when it involves servers the market would not respond to user needs. There was no great leap forward, it was a great leap backward. The last 25 years have been spent relearning everything that was well known in mainframe operating systems. Most of the productive energy was wasted with the fantasy that everybody could be their own data center and everybody could program. The dirty little secret is that even in the largest companies, technology outside the mainframe environment has been a vast productivity sink hole with the exception of the businesses that sell and service it. Spreadsheets, databases, word processing and email were all available 20 years ago in the mainframe (server) environment. The rise of the internet is really proof of this.

The bandwidth problem was self created by the industry itself. Images are nice and useful in some cases but the vast majority of information is communicated via text. We stopped drawing pictures on cave walls when we learned to write. People really need to be a little more honest about what has gone on. At least we should not pretend to have discovered something that other people had along time ago.

Keith Gaughan

Posts: 17
Nickname: kgaughan
Registered: Feb, 2003

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 18, 2005 1:30 PM
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The bandwidth problem was self created by the industry itself. Images are nice and useful in some cases but the vast majority of information is communicated via text. We stopped drawing pictures on cave walls when we learned to write.

Yup, and look at all those illuminated manuscripts, books with diagrams, the likes of UML and other graphical ways of describing things, &c.

Pictures and text are useful. Just because we started writing doesn't mean that images suddenly became redundant.

Frank Sommers

Posts: 2642
Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 18, 2005 6:45 PM
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> The bandwidth problem was self created by the industry
> itself. Images are nice and useful in some cases but the
> vast majority of information is communicated via text. We
> stopped drawing pictures on cave walls when we learned to
> write.

>
> Yup, and look at all those illuminated manuscripts, books
> with diagrams, the likes of UML and other graphical ways
> of describing things, &c.
>
> Pictures and text are useful. Just because we started
> writing doesn't mean that images suddenly became redundant.


There is enough bandwidth now, at least in most parts of the US and Europe, to have all the images and even video you can think of. Ubiquitous broadband is what's causing me, at least, to rethink how we do computing.

Ironically, what we use the Web mostly is transmitting text - HTTP is a text-based protocol. There will be applications that bypass the Web-server/Web browser, and really deliver the benefits of the network, pushing text into merely a category of the types of data being transmitted.

Terje Slettebø

Posts: 205
Nickname: tslettebo
Registered: Jun, 2004

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 18, 2005 7:10 PM
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> My motivation for experiencing how thin clients work is to
> find out if thin clients can help solve what I perceive is
> a crisis on user desktops. For the past three years, I've
> been running a company that provides software and services
> to small businesses. Most of our customers cannot afford a
> dedicated IT manager to look after their desktops, which
> are almost exclusively Windows-based. As a result, most
> customers experience the following desktop lifecycle:
>
> Clean Slate.
> Gradual Decline.
> Crisis.
>
> That devil's circle has led me to believe that software
> is now a service business, and that
> software vendors can provide greater value with service
> than with their software products, simply because desktop
> crisis management service is what users need the most.

That argument sounds specious to me. While I agree that the industry has a kind of crisis, in that ordinary user's PCs typically quickly gets overwhelmed with malware, and programs malfunctioning and causing other programs to malfunction, basically screwing up the system - even for very careful users - I don't believe that return to "central control" is the way to go (no matter what the "software as a service"-sellers will have us believe, who are experiencing a crisis themselves, in that people simply aren't buying or upgrading as much as they like, so they try to "rent" it, instead).

The argument is like if car manufacturers said that, "Look, we can't make cars that don't break down frequently, even for normal use, so you'll have to hire a mechanic to keep it running." Seems like charging over and over for the same product... That's not the kind of industry I'd want to associate myself with! (I'm a professional software developer) Frankly, I'm appalled by the lack of quality in our field. We're really like it says in the article "The U.S. Software Industry and Software Quality: Another Detroit in the Making?" (http://www.csd.uwo.ca/courses/CS472a/pfaffenberger.html) As it says there, the car industry had a similar periode, where you really needed to be your own mechanic (or hire one), just to keep the car running. Do we need that today? No! Because the car manufacturers (lead by Japan) have got their act together, and started to produce reliable, economical in use, low-polluting, long-lasting, easy-to-use cars.

We should get the same in our field! Create software and hardware that don't crash on normal use, or any kind of of use, for that matter, and which don't "deteriorate over time". This is not an unsolvable problem, and in fact, alternative OSes have been able to do it (such as RISC OS). For starters, don't let any program muck with any other program (or the OS), unless explicitly permitted. That means, no adding itself to the boot sequence, modifying registry entries for other programs, and so on (and banish the central registry (in Windows) to begin with. It's an exceptionally bad idea, leaving the system wide open to attack, and tightly coupled).

Create systems that work - don't require an mechanic present (or for rent)!

Regards,

Terje

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 19, 2005 5:11 AM
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> In special situations some people will
> need their own machine but the vast majority of users
> would be much better served, at far less cost and be far
> more satisfied with a terminal.

I think in many ways this summarises my position nicely. Centralisation of control results in the creation of a group that believes it knows best what everybody else needs and has no inclination to provide anything beyond the most minimal sub set of stuff they can get away with (because minimising the department's maintenance budget inevitably comes to override all other business requirements).

It represents everything that is bad about centralised bureaucracy and the way in which it stifles business.

> Images are nice and useful in some cases but the
> vast majority of information is communicated via text.

Check mate to me I believe. Centralising a company's computing resources always results in a department whose mind set is such that not only do they know best what everybody else needs from 'their' computers but also know best what everybody else needs, full stop.

Distributed computing resources (of which the internet is a good example) gives people the choice about how they want to work, without them having to be in trall to those who think they know better.

V.

Andy

Posts: 4
Nickname: andy1234
Registered: May, 2005

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 19, 2005 9:52 AM
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I don't know who the controlling back office geeks are or what evil empire Central Control represents. These seem like straw men to me. Saying not everyone needs a full featured computer with software etc. etc. is not like advocating facism. Relax. We will have to see where the future takes us.

Michael Feathers

Posts: 448
Nickname: mfeathers
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: May 23, 2005 7:30 AM
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> We are back to the mainframe (read server) environment we
> never should have left in the first place. There never
> was a need for all the seperate CPU's, storage, operating
> systems and duplicate software (except for the hardware
> and software companies pushing the junk). It took along
> time to rediscover the wheel. People will look back on
> the 1980's and 1990's and say what were they thinking. It
> all could have been so much easier. You talk like the
> SunRay is something new. Intelligent terminals were
> available along time ago. I at least give Sun credit for
> pushing the idea that the network is the computer. You
> are traveling a well worn path. It is nothing new.

It's easy to forget that that was hellish too. When PCs came out they liberated us from being at the mercy of overworked sys admins. There is no perfect world here, neither thin nor thick are a panacea, you have to choose your poison.

John Tyler

Posts: 3
Nickname: jmufarrige
Registered: Jan, 2003

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: Jun 10, 2005 8:34 AM
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Just curious how the rest of your week with the SunRay went, how was the performance and usability?

Joseph Yanushpolsky

Posts: 1
Nickname: josephy100
Registered: Aug, 2005

Re: A Week on a SunRay – A Travelog. Part I. Posted: Aug 17, 2005 8:04 AM
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Three questions:

1. How did you point Sunray at a specific URL/IP address to reach Sun network firewall?
2. What did you use as a VPN device to get through the firewall?

Please advise.

Thanks,

Flat View: This topic has 23 replies on 2 pages [ « | 1  2 ]
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