Multiseat Linux and Your Business

*Warning* (If you are old enough to remember mainframe computers some of this might cause flashbacks.)

So what is Multiseat?

Long before there were cloud systems there were seldom more than one or two workstation computers in a given business. In fact if you go back far enough the original Unix and Linux systems were all “Multiuser” which meant one system plugged into many terminals if you were lucky enough to have an administrator who understood multiseat configurations.

Otherwise you had to take turns. Why the history lesson?

Because the same issues being solved today through cloud system implementation are, at least in some instances, still solvable through the multiseat implementation. Lets take a moment to discuss the logistical implementation of a ridiculously expensive graphics systems computer. Chances are the hardware could be costing you enough that you can only afford one or maybe two, and you now have a few decisions to make.

1. Buy it and people take turns…
2. Buy several less expensive computers so everyone can be productive to a smaller scale.
3. Go in to debt trying to afford more of the machines than is practical.
4. Read this article and divide that one computer over 6 seats, 6 monitors, 6 keyboards, 6 Mice, 1 hard drive…

To clarify, I do not mean taking turns. I mean utilizing a very old technique that still happens to be built in to Linux, where by you can share that one machine over 6 desktops. We see this in classrooms more often than businesses but with the right administrator you could realistically make this happen.

Imagine now if you now have two or three serious computers, and suddenly the whole office can be working on the projects like those kids over at Cern. (Who in fact also use Linux)

You’re thinking something like “That rocks but how do we do it?” and the answer is, well not so simple…

You need the 6 monitors, keyboards, mice etc but once you have them proceed from here: Bear in mind Xorg is what we are changing so this should work on plenty of different Linux as Xorg is on almost all of them. (Don’t switch your business over to Mandriva that is old news! Just go grab Linux Mint 17!)

Equally useful, Arch Linux shows how to do it here:
Freedesktop.org shows how here:

You get the idea now envision doing this on a low end machine with cloud based operating systems. Now take something to make the headache stop. #Cheers

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1,454 thoughts on “Multiseat Linux and Your Business”

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