Changing a company from 100% Windows to 100% FreeBSD.

C. Ulrich dincht at
Mon Nov 17 11:56:48 PST 2003

On Mon, 2003-11-17 at 09:27, Lee Mx wrote:
> I am switching about 40 desktop's running different versions of
> windows over to freebsd.  One of the primary requirements is
> OpenOffice-1.1 and I've always run it locally on my laptop.
> I'm considering running it over the LAN which would mean that
> I suppose that I would NFS mount the binary and do the network
> install.  Could someone who has done this tell me if they
> recommend running it on the network or if it would be better to
> just install it on each of the 40 machines.  This company and
> every user, uses Office daily, especially excel.

I've never done this, but OpenOffice is such a large application that
this might not be such a swell idea. On my Athlon 750 with U2W SCSI,
OpenOffice 1.1 takes 20 seconds to load from the hard disk. I couldn't
guess how long it would take trying to pull it over the network, but I'm
sure it would be a lot longer. Also take into consideration the fact
that, unless your office is very well funded, you're probably don't have
the newest equipment. If this is the case, you could consider running
all the desktops as local thin clients. When a user logs in, they're
really just logging in remotely to an application server where all the
real work work is done.

- you only have to regularly maintain the application servers
- "outdated" hardware works just fine for the thin clients as everything
is run on the server
- users access their data and do their work from any machine (also
reduces "my machine" syndrome common in some workplaces)

- Allowing users to save things to floppy or CD could be slightly
problematic (ditto for playing video and sound)
- if all 40 desktops are in the same office/area, you'll probably have
to set up more than one application servers and work out a solution for
load-balancing and keeping them in sync
- if your users use large apps like OpenOffice, you might need pretty
hefty servers, especially in the memory department. However, it will
still be less memory than what would be required to run OpenOffice
locally on all 40 machines

The client/server approach may not end up being the best solution for
your specific situation, but at least it's something to think about.
I've always heard good things from those who've implemented similar
solutions in their organizations.

Charles Ulrich

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list