So, you want to send HDMI video around your house? Maybe you want to use your office computer on your living room TV without a proprietary streaming solution like AirPlay or Chromecast? Share a cable or satellite box between your living room and bedroom? Or you’re crazy like me and you want to put all of your computers into the basement, and connect to any of them from any desk in the house?
I have a thin client addiction. You all have seen my 3x Dell Wyse 5060 Hyperconverged Cluster project. And you know that I bought a Dell Wyse 3040. But, I actually bought 3x 3040s, and someone sent me a Wyse 7010, and an HP T620 (yet to be reviewed). And now I bought another. An HP T530. I’d consider this to be an excellent choice for anyone wanting to run Home Assistant, since it has enough power for, an upgradeable M.
Casually tearing down the Dell Wyse 7010 (Zx0) that was kindly sent in by a viewer named Tom! Thanks Tom for making this happen. Tom also sent an HP thin client, but you guys only get one treat per video, and that one needed Torx bits that I didn’t have handy on the bench. tl;dr the CPU supports AMD-V (not that you really have enough RAM to think about virtualization, but you can expand it with ordinary DDR3 DIMMs), the GPU is kinda awful, and it has a Realtek NIC.
In this project, I explore thin client software, and set up a Raspberry Pi to act as a thin client. This is a multi-part project, follow along below for each sub-project. Raspberry Pi SPICE Thin Client The first project in this series creates a Raspberry Pi Thin Client which is permanently bound to a specific VM in Proxmox, and boots directly into the thin client session. You would use this when you have a 1:1 relationship between clients and VMs, such as a computer lab.
I’ve been using Linux for a long time. The first distribution I ever installed was Ubuntu 6.06 ‘Dapper Drake’, on which I ran a phpBB server for my school friends. Security was poor. But shortly after, as I learned about Linux desktops (and first daily-drove a Linux laptop around 2012), I learned about ‘Multiseat’. The Wikipedia article has a cool picture of a very 90s looking desktop tower with 4x CRT monitors, and that image was published to Wikipedia in 2005, and I saw it in middle/high school years.
In this project, I explore thin client software, and set up a Raspberry Pi to act as a thin client. This is a multi-part project, follow along below for each sub-project. A Modern Linux Graphical Terminal Server For the first project, I setup a remote desktop terminal server, allowing many users to connect to a single server and operate indepednent graphical sessions. My test bench was able to handle a dozen simulatneous users, and a proper server should be able to handle many more.
For my last trick, I setup a multi-user thin client where each user account was connected to a specific virtual machine. This is great, but if you have a lot of thin clients you might not want to create a ton of VMs and might instead want each user in the system to have one or more VMs. Well, Josh Patten has written a Python-based GUI to select thin clients which you have access to, and today we are going to turn that into an appliance on both a Raspberry Pi and an actual x86 based Thin Client (running Debian).
After really enjoying my trio of Dell Wyse 5060 Thin Clients, I bought another cheap one to see how it compares, and hopefully to give advice to the many commenters. The 5060 was a great value for $35 but it’s hard to find at that price normally, while the 3040 is always available for that price, physically much smaller, and also worse on paper. It has a quad-core Intel CPU, 2G of RAM, and was advertised as having an 8G SSD but mine is actually 16G.
I’ve made many videos on Thin Clients before, all of them relying on Proxmox and the SPICE protocol. This works well when you control both the client and the hypervisor, and allows a lot of flexibility in the guest OS at the expense of flexibility at the client. If you want to rely on a remote access / Bring-Your-Own-Device type solution, you probably care more about solid multi-platform client support than flexibility in mixing VM OSes and running with no software installation on the VM.
In previous posts, I’ve been building up a thin client / VDI infrastructure based on Proxmox hosted virtual machines, using the SPICE protocol. This has gone well. However, the current setup basically launches the computer into a purely thin client mode, where it’s hardcoded to a specific VM and can do nothing else. There has been some interest in making some kind of launcher to select VMs to log in to, and I decided to find a solution for this.