A few days in and the SunRays are proving very popular with the family.
The smartcards to exactly restore your desktop are already (even with only 2 terminals) working well. It is a great way to reduce conflict as you can swap between people and rooms so easily.
Already if you get stuck with something you pull out your smartcard and goto ask for help, slip the card into the nearest SunRay, much quicker help than asking parents to come to you
So far I have not had to give any help for the move from Windows XP to Gnome despite the very different look. They just get on with it, I have seen them finding new applications, play with their preferences etc without any problems. In fact I have got back positive feelings about the Gnome menu structure (Applications/Places/System) which makes a lot of sense.
Interestingly enough our middle son was quite annoyed when both SunRays were being used and so he had to go back to the Windows Xp system. Obviously the Sugar Quill reads better on a SunRay (the very nice Samsung Monitors are probably a key reason).
While we sort out the rooms we have one machine in the living room, the lack of any fan makes this perfectly acceptable.
Personally I am not yet very fond of the keyboard which has an extra 10 keys in a block to the left of the main section. I keep hitting these instead of the Control key.
As the family system administrator I am (as expected) really pleased with the control from anywhere. Setting up email, printers etc is so much easier than on Windows XP. For example we sufferred by having the XP home edition and the separation between users was poor, some software would only be on personal menus after installing, others global and you were not given the choice at install time. If you allow the kids to install games it always means hassle sorting it out.
I will be conducting bandwidth experiments to tryout remote use over the internet. But I now wonder about a bundle for families of a server (not a V20Z but cheaper, less powerful, quieter and in a tower configuration) and 4 or 5 SunRays. It would need to be a bundle including everything and with Linux + the SunRay Server already installed and a wizard to handle connection to the internet with firewall already setup. Probably the SunRay 170′s with the unit built into the monitor would be best. If they could use wifi then even better.
Just imagine, you order a 4 terminal set with your broadband connection. All you need to do is plug the server into the mains and Broadband modem, then setup the 4 terminals (plug into monitor keyboard, mouse and mains power), turn on, complete a few forms to add the users. It could come pre-configured with all the broadband settings. The smartcards would be pre-registered so you just allocate them to the family members and get them to login the first time with the card in place.
But could the price be made competitive? Most families would not buy 2 or 3 PC’s at the same time so this would probably work best on a contract sale with monthly rental. There is scope to bundle lots of other services in with this eg remote backup, replacement server/terminals, party packs [extra terminals for sleepovers etc], and of course remote management/support.