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multi-seat computer Answered

does any one know how to setup a multi-seat computer? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiseat



9 years ago

A linux system will support multiple users on "dumb serial terminals" by default. As Gmoon says, X windows should also support multiple independent displays with little work. The thing I'm not sure about is the keyboard/mouse, and the KM to monitor mapping. The setups I've seen with more than one mouse tend to sort of "or" the mouse inputs together. (Whoopee! The world has rediscovered timesharing!)


9 years ago

Hmm. "Multi-seat" is such an odd name; I'm not sure I've ever even heard it. "Multi-terminal", sure. "Client-server", yes, etc.

It's difficult to answer, as there are hundreds of different ways to set something like this up. Everything from dial-up dumb terminals on up....

First, many of us run servers on our local networks, which handle anything from web servers to data storage--services which are available to the other computers on the network. Is that what you need?

If not (and assuming you want more than a dumb text terminal), the windowing interface used by Unix and Linux, X Windows, is by nature networked. Linux X terminals run the executable on the server--only the user interface is run on the local terminal. An X terminal can be setup on pretty minimal hardware.

(The nomenclature of X Terminals is a little odd--since the client (terminal) is providing the "window", it's referred to as the "X windows server"; while the executable on the server is referred to as the "X windows client"....yeeaaah.)

As networking is an integral part of X Windows, any computer running X can execute X programs on a remote server. Even a MS Windows machine running Cygwin-X can view remotely-executing programs.

Here's one simple tutorial on X Windows terminals, search for "X terminals" and you'll find lots more...

i'm not looking for a 1 computer, 1 cheap computer setup. i looking for a 1 computer, 2 monitor, 2 keyboard, 2 mice setup but setting up networked X terminals with really old hard wear looks like an useful skill so i'll check it out

To run more than one monitor and keyboard, etc off of one computer, a simple switch box can be used, unless you must have all the monitors active at the same time. Then, as stated by others, a network is needed.

If you look further in your link, it tells you how to set up the multi-seat Linux computer. Corporations use various remote access solutions that call for licensed software like Citrix and require a server and network connectivity. You see a desktop with applications loaded on the server and work from a remote regular PC or a special dumb terminal. Depending on your use there may be other software that may fit the bill.

I would bet this kind of knowledge is not passed on freely and those that have done it professionally know it is a pain to set up and maintain. Usually the server guys/gals and system admins are the only ones to touch it. For home use, it is far easier to set up separate PCs. The multi-seat is for when you have a specific application that needs to be run in a secure or controlled environment like access to a company database. Again, whatever your use is, there may be a web-based browser alternative. Good luck.

Citrix! Now there's an all too-familiar name! The amount of password reset's I've had to do for that aren't even funny.

It is still amazing that you could do a lot of things with only dial-up. Painfully slow by standards today, but it worked.