The Thin Client - History of the Desktop

Slideshow: The Evolution of the Desktop Computer
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The Thin Client - History of the Desktop

Thin clients are descendants of the terminals in the 1970s and 1980s and refer to a client-server computer environment. Stripped of any capability to store data locally, and often equipped with very basic hardware and a barebones operating system, such computers were very popular in the 1990s especially in business environments such as ordering systems where data input was all a computer needed to do. The term "thin client" dates back to 1993, when Oracle created the term and used it until 1996, when it was replaced by "NC" or Network Computer, which was Oracle's vision of a thin client architecture for the future. Eventually, the NC concept, which targeted a price of about $1,000, failed due to immature software as well as a lack of supporting business factors. In many ways, the NC was very much the desktop version of what we would describe a "cloud client computer" to be today. The idea of a thin client is very much alive today and is trending toward zero clients, which do not rely on entire operating systems anymore, or so called web clients that often use a web browser as their OS interface.

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