A long time heard demand from the community is to have a desktop environment that seamlessly integrates with Zentyal Server. Today the boards were created to be able to discuss Zentyal Desktop (ZD). We think ZD is so important that it gets a whole section with similar sub forums as Zentyal Server.
I volunteered to coordinate the community discussion about ZD. To get things started I want to set a starting point from where the discussion can develop.
A few months ago the first round of discussions already kicked off with the THINKTANK: zentyal desktop topic
, started by ichat.
With the results of that topic and some further brainstorming I came to the following points that IMO need to be addressed in order to come to a ZD that can compete with a Windows desktop in an SMB/Office/School environment.
Have a look at the following and please comment. Keep in mind that I deliberately did not point to direct solutions, but rather defined scenario's that need to be addressed. I probably did not cover all so first I would like to see more scenario's that absolutely need to get addressed too. When this discussion is done we can go on with filling in the solutions for every scenario.
Practical considerations for a 'Zentyal Desktop'
In order to be able to create a Zentyal Desktop (ZD) the first thing to do is identify the borders of the project. What do we want to accomplish? What is the minimum hardware that the ZD should be able to run on. In what kind of situation should the ZD be able to do its job.
The essential part of what ZD should contain is applications that connect to services by Zentyal Server. ZD should implement thes application in a way that they are easily to configure at initial use. Beside applications to use Zentyal Server services, standard office applications should be available. To be decided which applications for what service/task.
Global choices for ZD:
- Security: security updates on a regular basis.
- Lightweight? This directly affects the hardware requirements.
- TCO as low as possible: main aspects are license costs, maintenance and management. Central management is a must.
Aplications to include:
Now this is something that we can discuss about until eternity
However, there are several types of applications that are an absolute must.
Office (word processor, calculation sheet, presentation software, (pdf)document reader)
Communication: email, PIM, instant messaging, softphone, IRC, …
Multimedia: CD/DVD burning, Music player, video player, image editing, image viewer,...
/option: create a webbased feature in Zentyal Server to configure the desktop? Is it possible to configure ZD from Zentyal Server WebGUI??
Different types of users/computers
First we should identify what kind of users there are. For what I can see there are 3 basic types of users:
1. Desktop: A stationairy user that is only connected on the Internal LAN through either WiFi or Cable.
2. Mobile: A Mobile user that connects both on the LAN through WiFi or Cable and connects from remote places over the internet to the LAN.
3. LTSP client: A local user that gets his desktop by PXE boot over the network. The image can either be a thin image or a fat image, depending on if you want to run applications on the server or local.
Extra consideration to explore:
To limit LAN traffic, a local copy on the (thin)client of the image could be used. At each boot a check should be done if the latest image is used. Especially with fat client images this might be an extra option that reduces traffic at boot.
Implement NX client to reduce traffic even more. Then connections over WAN are possible too. Be aware that the compression algorithms of NX are powerfull, but also stress the server more.