On Mon, 2 Apr 2001, Andrew Hendrickson wrote:

Thanks for the feedback, Andrew.  This is exactly the type of dialog I
wanted to see.

> I think that in concept it would be beneficial but only in some areas
> and with some users.

I disagree.  Given that the Top-Cat system can run in tandem with any OS
platform, the concept leverages the flexibility of the PC against the
portability of the Thin-Client "managed environment".
We can use PCs to perform processor-intensive graphics and video
manipulations, and rely on Top-Cat to provide a uniform and portable
"UVM" applications environment.
> I think that your plan is way too broad to be practical.  There must
> be demonstrable benefits to the end user or you won't get any
> penetration.  If you put this menagerie of possibilities in front of
> the average client and ask them to make choices, you're going to get
> stonewalled.

But we would not present broad choices to the end-user... We would
provide a fixed set of tools which can be used from any system anywhere.
We would provide tools for administrative tasks (Banner, et al.), and
simple productivity tools (text processing, database, and HTML editing

> With the options you suggest, you're basically saying
> "you're going to learn an entirely different way of using your
> computer".  This is a showstopper in most areas.

Very true.  That is the hurdle to cross.

> Also, your plan puts a huge load on unnamed development resources to
> make applications currently provided to the desktop available via
> browser, terminal or whatnot. We've had many such projects on the
> table for years and haven't had the resources to dent them.

Then perhaps it is time we started...

> I think scaling down to a more manageable goal of making the desktop
> more unitized (i.e. a computer will have the following things on it.
> . .) and making network storage of user files the standard (along
> with the requisite storage space, desktop configuration and user
> training) would be a far wiser approach.
This would be the alternative approach.  That being said, we have to look
at the history of PC/LAN usage on the UVM campus.  How much closer have we
gotten to providing a standard application base for users on campus over
the past three years?  How successful have we been in providing/enforcing
the use of network file storage?  Will the rollout of another generation
of individually managed, non-standardized  file servers and Personal
Computers (or Personal Cardiac Condition Inducers, as we sometimes think
of them) change any of that?

The PC/LAN can work, this is true.  But when we consider the usage
patterns of PC's at UVM, when we consider the wide range of secretaries,
researchers, professors, and administrators who are expected to make good
use of them, we begin to see the folly of our ways.  We cannot manage all
of these systems... why try?  We need new and _thinner_ tools.

> Andrew Hendrickson
> Information System Analyst
> College of A & S Computing Services
> 479 Main Street, Room 305
> Burlington, VT 05405-0144

Greg MacKinnon
CIT Client Services
University of Vermont