Lots of news! Fedora 17 was released last week, so our early adopters have begun posting some interesting things showing their Plugable thin clients. We expect and hope for more in the coming weeks (And we need more early adopters! See below).
Plugable UD-160-M demo by a customer at the Omaha Linux Users' Group meeting this week. See the video with demo and Q&A (10 mins).
A video of the Fedora 17 install and use experience. You can simply use and test Fedora 17 + Plugable USB thin clients by booting off a CD or USB drive - but this video lets you see what the install experience will look like if you install to hard disk.
Plugable UD-160-M and DC-125 can now be shipped worldwide for early adopters
While we continue to sell primarily on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, we've now launched a special site which is focused on products which we're able to ship to worldwide to addresses in over 190 countries.
Visit the Plugable Worldwide Shipping Webstore to check out the ordering options.
We know you have to "see it to believe it" when it comes to USB thin clients -- and because of that, we need early adopters who can post about their experiences and spread the word. So we're happy to ship out as many units as possible now through our existing channels.
That said, units ordered and shipped now can't reflect the lower "volume buy" price of the KickStarter units, and won't include some of the KickStarter extras (like the CD that will be included in all KickStarter packages $10 and up). But the hardware itself, and all the hardware accessories included in the package, will *not* change from now to what would ship with the KickStarter.
Our kernel patches for improved USB graphics stability have made it to both kernel 3.4.0 and 3.3.8.
Manual updates no longer required. Just install F17 and go.
The Fedora update system has begun pushing out the 3.4.0 kernel update which has all of the udlfb (DisplayLink USB driver) fixes that we've implemented for the thin client scenario, including our main plug/unplug cleanup patch. We've been running with these updates for 2-3 weeks now, and we've been very happy that we've not been able to generate any problems, even with lots of stressing of unplug / replug of the USB thin clients.
Our work from here can focus on performance and porting.
The lowest cost, easiest to maintain 3270 terminal
In a way, USB multiseat is a modern throwback to mainframe or X terminals. So it makes sense that community would immediately see the possibilities.
IBM and their customers still have huge deployments of clients which can make use of a 3270 terminal. And the Plugable thin clients + Fedora 17 make for easy deployment and a crazy low price for additional terminals. Just install the x3270-x11 package on the main box:
sudo yum install x3270-x11
And start plugging in Plugable thin clients to gain extra terminals.
The same applies to any other network client that runs on Linux: X, VNC, Windows Remote Desktop, etc.
One of the most common questions we get is "what about other distros" like Ubuntu.
The low-level drivers for the all the hardware in the Plugable DC-125 and UD-160-M are built into the Linux kernel for all distros. But for automatic USB multiseat to work, there are a bunch of higher level components required that either vary or haven't been ported to other distros. So while we expect support to migrate to other distros in the coming months, only Fedora 17 works today.
Key to making USB multiseat completely plug and play in Fedora 17 is the systemd component (developed by Lennart Poettering and others at Red Hat). Like a lot of things in the open source world, actually getting it adopted by other distros is non-trivial.
In short, this is all open source. Those distros can either port systemd or add similar functionality to their systems (like Ubuntu's upstart). That has not happened for any other distro yet. To get a little more background on porting systemd, here are some wiki entries:
The other most common question we get is why not a network or wifi thin client.
One of our "tricks" here to achieve a fundamentally better experience and lower price point is to rely exclusively on USB 2.0 as the connection between the thin client and the server box.
This is what allows these thin clients to be fully plug-and-play, low latency, and low cost.
There are lots of network thin clients out there. They're great, and have many advantages in terms of flexibility. But compare them to our USB thin clients - you'll find we're a half to a third the price with better performance and less hassle for many circumstances (especially when all the thin clients can be in the room with their server).
Thanks again to all our backers! Projects can grow quickly on kickstarter (even in the last days) with the right attention - thanks for helping to spread the word however you can!