March 2001


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Greg MacKinnon <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 16 Mar 2001 10:24:31 -0500
text/plain (47 lines)
On 16 Mar 2001 09:47:28 -0500, Chris Moran wrote:

> jsut need vncserver installed and users would just need to run a script in
> their directories to set up the x environment. I believe users could
> install it themselves or themselves, but why bother?

As noted by Mike, VNC has many security holes.  These can be worked
around, but only with a great deal of client-side configuration.  Good
and secure thin-client solutions are available in the commercial sector
(see, but these are 1) very VERY expensive in
hardware and licensing costs and 2) Run on a limited number of server
Although X-clients do not run well over dial-up lines, they are MUCH
less costly to a company.

> on another note and previous conversation:
> I just thought to throw another option into the fray... even though I
> think it's too late. I don't like ftp voyager or explorer.
> The reason I bring this up now is that, well, FTP Voyager has been a pain
> in the but over here (DMDL) not installing or maintaining its install
> correctly, which wouldn't be a big deal if we actually liked it and found
> it worth the trouble... so I'm looking at putting BestFTP on the lab
> machines. I asked about multi-license costs... it would cost about $200
> for the lab, of about 15 machines... BUT, for a Educational site license
> it is only $500.

Although I do not deny that there may be better FTP clients available to
the world, FTP Voyager makes sense from a training perspective.  CIT has
rotated supported FTP and Telnet clients several times over the past
five years.  As a result, we have a wildly mixed client software
environment.  This greatly affects 1) portability of job-skills accross
the University 2) portability of skills from computer lab to computer
lab.  Despite the blemishes of Voyager, is it really worth the technical
support burden to migrate?  I think we should be focusing on the next
generation of SECURE FTP and SECURE Telnet clients instead of switching
standards once again without adding any new functionality.

(to see what I am talking about, see the standards committee project
and my documentation on the use of SSH:
These pages also contain some info on securing X-windows clients and