HP\'s four-in-one Linux solution
HP last week offered a new take on the idea of low-cost and shared computing with the launch of its Linux-based 441 solution. HP\’s 441 is a single PC which supports four people working simultaneously by using four graphics cards running four monitors and four USB ports for keyboard and mouse inputs. Each user is logged into a seperate session on a Linux PC (Mandrake). What makes it different though is that this is not a thin-client solutuon in the traditional sense: It does not use a network connection, and the savings are gained through using only one PC for four separate users, unlike conventional thin client setups in which each user needs a complete PC.
Each CPU is a 1.8Ghz Celeron, with 256 RAM, four graphics cards, six USB ports, a CD-RW, and a stiffy drive.
The central PC runs Mandrake Linux and KDE 3.1 which can be quickly configured to run as a standalone PC or a network client or as a server.
Also included is the mozilla browser in multiple languages, the Evolution mail client, OpenOffice 1.1. as well as a range of GPL educational software, a curriculum management tool and other learning aids.
However, because 441 is not a traditional LAN there is a limitation on how far the monitors can be moved around. The USB limitation is 12m. However, the company says the major benefits of the 441 is that because there are fewer PCs to manage the maintenance costs are significantly lower.
A 441 setup will sell for around R12000 which will include the central CPU and the four terminals as well as the software setup. Each system ships with a three year warranty on the hardware components.