Multimedia


Starting off our new series called Vendor Spotlight is a company that I think is doing some very cool things, ThinFusion Inc. The interview was conducted by phone and included Brandon and Rick Vancleeve

What is ThinFusion?

ThinFusion is the combination of a Linux OS platform running in a thin client environment, while providing access to the majority of Windows-based applications. ThinFusion uses either a thin client OS local, paired to a session on a ThinFusion server, or alternatively allows the use of cross-platform client software to provide secure and very speedy access to the ThinFusion Server session literally from anywhere.

ThinFusion provides a single access point to all the Linux and Windows applications that a user needs. The administrative interface allows for simple drag and drop granting and revoking, in realtime, of access to applications on a group or individual level.

What applications can I run on ThinFusion?

This part is easy…
Since it accesses a Windows Terminal Server for Windows apps you can go to Microsoft’s site and find every supported program out there. You don’t have to go through a giant bug list of “quirks” when running Windows apps in a Linux shell. If it runs in a Terminal Server environment, it runs on ThinFusion.

On the Linux side, since you are in essence just accessing a Linux Desktop you can run all your Linux applications.

Who is ThinFusion Inc?

ThinFusion Inc, is a small company in the Mountains of Montana that have developed ThinFusion to meet the needs of K-12 Schools, Higher Ed, and Small to Medium Businesses. ThinFusion mission statement: Access your classroom from anyplace anytime.

What is a typical customer for ThinFusion?

The typical customer would be a school or business that has a need to control access to applications, reduce administrative and technical support costs and increase the quality of service for its users while maintaining the necessary security and controls.

What is a sample use case of ThinFusion?

A school district with a Laptop lab is an excellent use case for ThinFusion. Typically in this environment the Laptops would be running Windows with most applications installed locally. Often the students are issued the laptops and are responsible for physical security and transport, often including off school property and for all purposes becoming the students main machine for home and school. Such an environment has multiple risks and costs associated with it, including re-imaging regularly due to misconfigurations, virus and spy-ware issues and either malicious or inadvertent deletions and changes to the software.

Particularly if the laptops are issued and kept by the students does the risk of virus infection or inadvertent misconfiguration crop up, the possibility of infection and transport of the viruses and spyware becomes a virtual certainty, with some school environments literally being taken down for periods of time from such infections.

ThinFusion in this environment would remove most or all of the issues discussed. Two choices are possible:

1. Install a very slim Desktop Linux with NX Client software on the student laptop, all application access requires dialup or better Internet access to the ThinFusion Server, thus all applications are run in a very secure and less virus-prone environment.
2. Install Windows or keep the current Desktop OS, adding lockdown software and the NX Client software, requiring dialup or better Internet acccess to the ThinFusion Server etc.

Both of the above examples allow students and staff to securely access their school network just as if they were sitting at a desk in class, from anywhere/anytime. It extends the learning environment beyond the walls of the school, and it allows for collaboration beyond the bus bell. This is the mode that we see businesses transitioning to at record pace, as we see more and more workers using home offices and accessing data through secure remote scenarios.

This environment is effective for students and teachers, with teachers mostly falling into the category of # 2, they having the most need to run 3rd party applications that are typically Windows-based.

What are the support options?

A ThinFusion subscription comes with a full support, training and installation package. Higher levels of support packages are available.

What should you not use ThinFusion for?

ThinFusion is not a great solution for high end multimedia, neither for creation nor viewing. A class of 50 users running a very graphically oriented courseware would be fairly choppy.

How do I learn more about ThinFusion?
Please visit their website (www.thinfusion.com), to experience demonstrations, tutorials, case studies and more. You can also reach them by phone at 1-800-432-0346.

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If you can think of an example of a vendor that is going something you can really appreciate and is good for the community, put a comment in or email me: rbrunson[at]novell.com

Enjoy,

RossB

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The excellent Wine Review blog has an article about Photoshop running on Linux using WINE (WIne is NOT an Emulator), recommended read for the graphics artists in the audience.

From the article:

Mixed-media professionals such as photographers, Web designers, and graphic designers will not be disappointed in Adobe’s latest incarnation of Photoshop. In this release, Adobe aims hard at addressing the issues of file management, easy photo retouching, and smarter output for the Web. While Adobe manages to successfully address these issues, it also remains true to its photo editing roots.

More from the article.

RossB

P.S.  Skip, don’t even think about using Photoshop on SLED, it’s the GIMP for you…

openSUSE 10.3 is now officially released and available. Here are some of the highlighted improvements and links to more info:

  • Beautiful green artwork
  • KDE 3.5.7
  • KDE 4
  • Gnome 2.20
  • GTK YaST
  • 1-Click Install
  • Multimedia (MP3 support out of the box)
  • New/Redesigned YaST Modules
  • Compiz and Compiz Fusion
  • Virtualization (Xen 3.1, VirtualBox, KVM,…)
  • OpenOffice 2.3
  • New package management
  • Faster boot times
  • and more…!

openSUSE 10.3 GM announcement

Novell press release

ZDnet blog mention

Download openSUSE

Adobe Flex is a platform for creating rich internet applications – and an alpha version of Adobe Flex Builder for Linux is now available to the public and runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise. Adobe has traditionally been staunch supporters of Windows and Mac – with a much more limited amount of attention paid to Linux.  Adobe PhotoShop was even named as one of the most requested applications for Linux in a customer survey Novell held last year.  Perhaps Adobe is starting to change their attitude towards Linux — perhaps…

Thanks to this ZDnet blog entry, which points to this Adobe Flex developer’s blog, which points to the official Adobe page.

If you’re starting to look at Adobe Flex, and starting to build some applications, check out this alpha code and be sure to give Adobe your feedback!

Jono Bacon, he of Lugradio fame and GNOME developer legend has a nice treatise on why Mono is great for applications on Linux at his blog.

Stop by the Lugradio site, subscribe to the podcasts and visit the forums.  Some of the shows are incredibly funny and somewhat NSFW, so beware and use some headphones.

RossB

You all know I am a proponent of technology, many of you have seen or heard me speak, when something is exciting and new and I think others can benefit, it’s almost impossible to shut me up. And like many of you, I have had situations where someone who is a block for a project, proposal or something else that needs to move quickly is avoiding answering or moving the approval process along.

Well, with that prequel, I’ll tell you about a tool that I pickup very infrequently but with a chuckle when I do: Trumpia. Basically you can become the human version of Operation Rolling Thunder, contacting simultaneously on all available and possible methods the person you have gotten disgusted with and put your sight reticle on.

Misuse of Trumpia can and very likely will drive all your friends off en mass, immediately. You can configure the various SMS, email and IM accounts of the people you wish to drive to complete and utter distraction. You then send out a BLAST (nice and descriptive name, that) to all of them, effectively realtime spamming them on all the possible channels that you have for them.

So, use this one properly, and don’t misuse it. I have realtime-blacklisted Trumpia for my sites and phones, this could be the most irritating thing since sand in your trunks.

RossB

I would like to take this as an opportunity to remind everyone that DVD playback on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop using libdvdcss is illegal in the United States of America.

Despite the fact that it is unsupported and technically “illegal” there are many websites out there that show you how to do it… like this one

http://www.softwareinreview.com/cms/content/view/46/

I don’t know how people like this author sleep at night…  (I’m Kidding!)

🙂

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