How to Share a Single PC with Multiple Screens, Mice, Keyboards

I was thinking…that most PCs out there are seldom used to their maximum capacity. The modern office man could do 80% of his work inside a single Firefox window.

Why aren’t all computers in major companies having their computer processing centralized, with on the desks only the display keyboard and mouse? It turns out that, like often, the question is not new. Mainframe vs. PC was a hot issue a few decades ago but since then economical reasons have won, like they often do. The price of 20 PCs is smaller than that of the whole centralized infrastructure.

1 PC, plenty of simultaneous users

Now, maybe for 20 PCs on a single server that is not creating a financial advantage, but how about a PC for 2 to 5 people. I sure could use my home PC for 5 people doing something as lightweight as webbrowsing! And think of what that would imply for really poor countries.

So my friend Erwin and I found that an old Microsoft project called the MultiPoint SDK — which consists in allowing the use of multiple mice on a one screen — has given way to a recently commercialized PC sharing software server. It is called MultiPoint Server 2010. Pricing? Quite obscure.

The Linux alternative is called Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011.

All this is fairly recent, so don’t be surprised if cybercafés start using only one PC per row soon, and saving maintainance time as well as relevant money. What I find even more cool is that countries with very low incomes will be able to spread the use of computers about twice as fast. This factor is because for every PC you remove, you can’t remove the significant price of a screen…

Now, what are your ideas to save even more in the computer infrastructures of companies and poor countries?

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