The Network Computer Arrives…Finally!

33 thoughts on “The Network Computer Arrives…Finally!”

  1. It brings back memories of listening to Larry Ellison talk about the network computer at my first Oracle conference and using a SunRay as an email station at a conference a few years later. I ways thought it wax a great idea; and now with the application infrastructure that Google and others have built, finally!

  2. Om wrote: Of course, as time passed the networks got faster, the components got cheaper, but more importantly, the rise of AJAX and the evolution of the open source LAMP stack allowed the idea of web-based applications to blossom BECAUSE?.

    Was that sentence supposed to end like that?

  3. There is this little company called Wyse Technology that has been around for over twenty years who moved from computer terminals to thin clients (a.k.a. cloud clients) that you might not know.

    There’s times where web/cloud based computing is fine, but, call me old fashioned, I like holding my content close to me.

    That said, I’d love to evaluate the ChromeOS notebook to see what it can do. For time to market purposes and lower development costs, using an Intel Atom platform makes sense. But I’d really like to see an ARM-based version – cheaper, longer battery life, cooler, potentially just as fast. Frankly, if all the apps on it are web apps, who cares about x86?

    1. “Holding” content is a great metaphor, because increasing numbers of people don’t want to hold it, they want to use it and set it free for their friends. We are dinosaurs!

  4. PCs started because people wanted to get away from the main frame and terminal and have control of their data. Now we are being told that we don’t want control of our own data. Thirty years from now, the next big thing in computers will be moving off the cloud.

    1. I think it’s going to less than 30 years when people will want to backup locally what they have in ‘the cloud’.
      It’ll be in less time than that that our electricity supply will no longer be dependable, and the server farms will be vulnerable.

  5. I imagine it’s still in the rotation. Bloomberg-TV has been doing an hour on Larry Ellison on their Game Changers program the past few weeks.

    You get to see him introduce the network computer all over again.

  6. Yes somehow I see this coming out and then 2 years later a big new feature of Chrome OS will be apps running locally!!!!

    2 years after that – local storage!!!!

  7. And there was a whole generation before that… X terminals! Network Computing Devices (NCD), at least, made a business out of these for a while in the early 90s.

    1. What you might consider even more remarkable is that the original Sun Ray 1s that we shipped in 1999 are still quite usable, and indeed, can still be seen in offices on Sun campuses. We offered a 5-year warranty on the original devices because they had no moving parts, were low power, and had a ridiculous MTBF. So, it’s not good enough to consider just original purchase price when comparing against a PC. You have to consider amortized cost. If you want to improve your Sun Ray performance, you upgrade the server, not the appliance. We have indeed evolved the hardware over the years (usually because some chips we were using went end-of-life), and we’re now on the 3rd generation. We’ve added lots of interesting improvements along the way, including built-in VPN, lots of support for Windows access, and multi-media support.

      By the way, Sun was for awhile the biggest Sun Ray customer. Most of the user desktops in the company were replaced by Sun Rays. With “hotdesking”, which is what the smartcards were really used for, you could plug your card into any Sun Ray in a Sun office IN THE WORLD and it would cause the Sun Ray to connect to your existing session, even if it was halfway across the planet – with pretty good performance.

      I could write way more (correcting some more of the factual errors above, for instance), but that’s enough for now.

      (Composed on my home Sun Ray, with built-in VPN, connected to a server at the office…)

      KP
      (Opinions mine, not Oracle’s, etc.)

    1. Mac OS and Linux really came from the same source tree, so they’re not really that different. If anything, I’d structure it ‘Microsoft,’ ‘UNIX,’ and ‘…’. UNIX is the basis for so many technologies that are used today, and to gloss over that is serious shortsightedness. Where do you think Android and Chromium have their roots?

  8. Skynet:
    On August 29 it gained self-awareness and the panicking operators, realizing the extent of its abilities, attempted to shut it down. Skynet perceived the attempt to deactivate it as an attack and came to the conclusion that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it. To defend itself, it determined that humanity should be exterminated.

    Before it could be deactivated, Skynet launched the US nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, to which Russia responded in kind by firing many of its nuclear missiles back at the United States and its allies. As a result of the nuclear exchange, over three billion humans were killed in just minutes. Governments around the world collapsed and anarchy descended.
    ————————————————————–
    Isn’t anyone else worried about cloud computers becoming part of a larger network? The government already monitors every aspect of our daily lives. I kind of like the idea of unplugging and still having a local machine with MY data.

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