Posts Tagged ‘thin client’

Sun Ray restored

Friday, October 29th, 2010

It’s been ages since I wrote (or complained) about Sun Ray Server Software (SRSS) on OpenSolaris in combination with KDE4. That was because I wasn’t using it and my Sun Ray terminal sat idle. But a bit of house-rearranging has made the device useful again, and I spent an hour futzing with it today to get things working again.

SRSS is a bit complicated — it’s officially delivered only for Solaris 10 and it exists separately from the client devices, so just because you have a Sun Ray doesn’t mean you can do anything with it. Certainly there’s issues on OpenSolaris (or OpenIndiana). I seem to have 4.2 running — it’s a bit unclear whether there’s a version 5 available, and last time I blogged about SRSS it was enthusing about the new addition of Porter-Duff compositing, which made the Plasma Desktop beautiful on the thin client again.

A good official(-ish?) source of information on SRSS is the wiki which has a section on getting this stuff to work on OSOL as well. Plus notes for build 134 or later, which is what KDE4 requires. Two blog entries I found very helpful were Chris Gerhard about build 130 and later and the Grey Blog on 2009.06. Both point out some tweaking that’s needed to get gdm to like the thin client — otherwise it starts on the thin client and stops about 60 milliseconds later.

After adding the requires symlinks and font paths, gdm starts up normally.

From there, I can now display KDE4 on my FullHD TV downstairs while the server hums gently in the attic. It’s nice to be able to move around in the house and have the desktop available everywhere. Session resume is also supported, so if I switch off the Sun Ray and switch on again later, my desktop is there.

Another benefit of having a desktop available in the living room is that it enables pair programming when random developers stop over, but that’s a topic for another time.

We have the technology ..

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

We have the technology, we can fix it. The nice thing about showing people things that are broken and then sitting down to figure out what’s wrong is that the things get fixed. Holger helped out with understanding some of the rendering issues on the Sun Ray server, we tracked down some more suitable default themes (but there’s so many cool themes out there it’s hard to find a boring flat one), pushed graphicssystem RASTER into startkde, and ended up with a KDE4 that looks like this. Thin client heaven? I think not, but it’s a little better than when it started. Just a wee bit, though, even something totally flat like Heron (wish list: semantic tagging of plasma themes so I can search for “flat and boring”) totally borks the plasma panel.

Aaron was, probably rightly so, kind of annoyed with my cheap shot about ugliness on feature-limited X servers.

Still, it’s important to flag the problems, show them to people. The cheapness was more related to me complaining to the wrong people, but now at GCDS I could show them to the Sun Ray folks — and I’m very happy to have met Bob, Brian, Ken (?) and others from Sun — and collect information. It looks mostly like Qt has two problems: the fallback for non-porter-duff compositing is not very nice, and BGR colormaps are not supported. That’s the guesses from the Sun folk and they sound plausible enough — I’ll be trying them out when I get back home and can spend an evening re-compiling Qt all the time (instead of like here at GCDS where the evenings are for discussion and food).

.. and then we can fix it.