The war between the thin client and rich client rages on. According to a recent item on CNN, IBM intends to push the thin client to new heights with its Workplace product. We all know the stated advantages of served-based computing and thin clients – ease of deployment, lesser support cost, greater portability, and so on. These are good things to have, certainly. IBM is probably being realistic about this product, realizing that Workplace alone is not going to break the Windows stranglehold on the corporate desktop. Personally, I continue to maintain that the desktop is never going away. After all, power and ownership are still big factors with people when it comes to computing – hard drives and memory are way too cheap to NOT make good use of. A terminal hooked up to a server is only going to be able to do so much.
That said, I welcome the new old thing. I’m sure that the swinging pendulum will continue to move toward terminals for a few years, then desktops for a few, back and forth until someone comes up with a truly new paradigm for computing at work or at home. In the meantime, there’s more than enough diversity in the world of computing for both thin and rich clients.