The best thin client is still free

A couple years ago, I wrote about why thin clients are a waste of money.  It’s not just that. One of the latest features of the Horizon View client is H.264 decoding.  When used with NVIDIA GRID cards and Blast Extreme, user experience is significantly improved with this feature enabled.  However, good luck finding a Linux-based thin client that supports H.264 decoding.  What’s required for this to function?  An x86/x64 workstation and the latest Horizon View client from VMware.  That’s pretty much all of the requirements.

Since I couldn’t find any reasonable vendor option, I built my own.  Instructions and configuration files are on GitHub here.  Here’s what it does:

Dependencies, dependencies, dependencies.  The Linux based Horizon client installation is anything but simple.  Sure it’s easy to run, but the dependencies are the problem.  I listed out all of the ones that I installed after a lot of Googling to get all functionality working.  As a basic Linux user with minimal scripting, this is why I don’t use Linux more often.

Boots Fedora 24 x64.  Within x seconds, the VMware Horizon View client launches with parameters.  By default these are:

  • nonInteractive (hides any error messages)
  • serverURL (auto-connect to specified connection server)
  • desktopName (auto-connect to specified desktop pool name)
  • nomenubar (prevents minimizing and changing settings)
  • once (closes the Horizon View login screen after connecting to a VM)
  • allmonitors (dual monitor support)

An additional script runs 1 minute after login.  It monitors the Horizon View client process every 5 seconds.  If the process is killed (user logs out), it reboots.

That’s it.  Simple and free.

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