phatlipmojo writes "I'm a librarian in the process of opening a brand new small public library from the ground up (literally; we don't even have a building yet). The library director and I are considering our options for public computing terminals. Having experienced the frustration of dealing with Dell machines running Windows XP on a daily basis, we're trying to consider other options, and we've been talking about maybe using thin clients. Have any of you used or worked in a library (or similar environment) that uses thin client stations for public computing? What are your impressions? What are the perks and what are the drawbacks?"
"I'm hoping that using thin clients could save us daily time troubleshooting bluescreens^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H computer glitches, allow us a greater degree of uniformity on the public terminals, save us the trouble and expense of putting Anti-virus software, Fortres, and Deep Freeze (or other such utilities) on each machine, and make our machines more difficult for black hat types to mess up on purpose. I'm also hoping we'll be able to offer web access (IE and Mozilla, hopefully. IE at a minimum), Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. And have floppy drives. Plus, it would really comfort me not to pump several hundred dollars per machine into a monopolist's coffers for an OS we're just going to debilitate anyway.
We're in the odd (for a public library) position of money not really being a significant factor in the decision. So, for those thin-client-lovers among you if cost weren't a factor, would you still prefer them to full-fledged PCs?
The other factor here is the tech skills required, because our IT department is me. As librarians go, I'm pretty tech-savvy, but as Slashdotters go, I'm pretty much a luser. So homebrew Linux solutions are really out (plus, vendor support is important for selling ideas like this to the municipal government), but systems requiring basic-to-intermediate networking and troubleshooting skills are in, and I'm not afraid of non-Windows OSes."