To PC or NetPC? Hmmm …what the heck, let’s give it a go!
Brown, Ian Lewis
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Some would argue that the time for NCs or NetPCs has either not yet come or has long passed. Flinders has been watching and waiting for some time now. We had planned to try out this “new” approach in a small, controlled way in 1998, perhaps with a small server and up to 10 NetPCs. However, when university funding became available to provide 100 library workstations for student Web access to flexible delivery initiatives being developed in 1998, the Library was faced with a decision. Should we purchase 100 PC workstations with no additional staff to support this significant increase in public equipment, or should we test the theory that significant savings in application and desktop support costs can be realised with a NetPC type solution? Are they really as fast as normal PCs and are they in fact, easier to manage and support? This paper reports the reasons why the Flinders University Library chose the thin client NC solution in preference to standard fat client PCs, why we thought it particularly appropriate for student applications, how we implemented the new system, what problems we encountered and how close to reality we found the promised benefits, to both end users and system managers.