back to article Amazon lets you rent Ubuntu Pro. Yes, it's Linux on the virtual desktop

Amazon WorkSpaces, the company's persistent desktop virtualization product, now offers Ubuntu as an option. It's another piece of validation for penguinistas, although it will doubtless fail to convince those industry commentators who still think it's funny to joke about the "year of Linux on the desktop." Strictly speaking, …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Year of Linux, Fusion in a decade.

    In anticipation of both, why not spin up Fusion Linux

    One of the dwindling 11% Centos users here, with Mate on Centos 7, on a Thinkpad X220 preferred over a Thinkpad X1 Carbon with a RHEL 8 personal use/free licence, which has mostly been gathering dust over last few months. The X220 pre-island keyboard and Mate Desktop is "just right"

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Year of Linux, Fusion in a decade.

      I'm using Linux Mint on an X220, and a very nice combination it is.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Year of Linux, Fusion in a decade.

      [Author here]

      Hey, whatever works for you.

      A large part of a very-soon-upcoming Reg story was written on a Thinkpad X220 too. It's a lovely little machine. I bought mine 2nd hand in 2017 for about £150; it's on its original battery, AFAICT, and as of Friday, it still runs happily for the duration of a train ride from Prague to Brno – circa 3 hours – working all the way, on wifi.

      I don't use MATE though. Its handling of vertical taskbars is as broken as it was in GNOME 2, and for me, that is a deal-breaker.

      FWIW, yes, I used to have free use of RHEL, too, and back then I ran Fedora as well. Almost everyone in the company did. :-D

  2. ChoHag Silver badge

    Nearly there

    So we have Linux on someone else's desktop.

    Next year then?

  3. Code For Broke Bronze badge

    Honest question (not trying to be a jerk like usual): what is the value proposition of these virtual desktops when the rock-bottom spec is still going to cost substantially more in a year than a similarly spec'ed real PC? I hear "reduced help desk, better image/update control" - ok. I think the damn terminals or people running the software to connect to the VM on their personal rig is likely to "cost" about the same in terms of support and hardware?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      First a sort of a disclaimer -- about a decade back, I briefly worked for a consultancy that heavily pushed virtual desktop solutions at its clients, and most of said clients ran them.

      So, it wasn't my choice or anything, but all the same, that's what I must base my answer on as my most extensive personal experience.

      There were several reasons. Different clients had different drivers.

      One was: a fleet of badly outdated desktop OSes, some even running Win9x well into the 21st century sometimes. Many were underpowered and slow. Upgrading the OS would be vastly labour intensive and possibly expensive in both software and hardware upgrades.

      But almost anything, however old and slow, can run a remote desktop client. So, they pushed out remote desktops to everyone, and any old junkware clunker of a PC that could at least boot up would let them connect -- and once they'd logged in, everyone got the same performance.

      Another reason: upgrading the client software (OS, apps, drivers, whatever, all of the above) is a significant management hassle. Put all the apps on a terminal server and you only have to update that 1 box.

      Some clients want the terminal server in their office; fair enough, we could remote onto it like anyone else.

      (In that case you really want at least 2, ideally a set of 3 or 4, so you can keep working if 1 goes down.)

      Of course, then, maintenance windows become extremely hard to find, but that's a different issue.

      Or, outsource running the servers too, and then their maintenance becomes the hosting company's job.

      Maintaining a fleet gets even worse if you have lots of mobile workers, or remote workers, or people who are sometimes both and so have maybe a home-office PC *and* a travelling PC.

      If it's all virtual, then this goes away. No data syncing issues. No remote-node-to-server connectivity issues: the server is also the client, or at least sits next to it in the rack.

      LAN protocols (file sharing, print sharing, etc.) are not designed for WANs and often do not run well over WANs. Remote desktop protocols these days are highly compressed and designed to cope with intermittent connections. If the link is lost, the remote app doesn't panic, crash and corrupt the file -- whatever the remote app is.

      It's inefficient, it's a bit of a bodge, but it *does* work and it does make some issues just go away.

      Amusingly, while I worked at that company, it was in my contact that I never mention or discuss Linux or FOSS with clients. :-)

      What they didn't know is that sometimes, I used my laptop with Linux to run an RDesktop client at work. The machine they gave me was, true to the company's methods, an abysmally old, slow, underpowered dog of a box. I spent a day or so cleaning up and updating the client box to make it work slightly better, and in that time, I used my own. With a full-screen RDesktop session, nobody could tell. :-D

      1. Code For Broke Bronze badge

        Thank you! That was well more than the reply I hoped for.

        I love the recursiveness of operating a desktop from inside a desktop. I remember the first time I RDPed to a PC from a connection already on RDP. I had to tell the wife and kids about that, I was so tickled.

        I can see how some might fall in love with this game of mirrors. But it still surprises me to image someone basing and entire consultancy on the idea. It make me realize that maybe I could make a business out of some of my more quirky ideas.


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like