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Hardware Thread, Softxpand Miniframe in Technical; Could you make your opinions on the Softxpand and ncomputing solutions public? If not PM me I too are looking ...
  1. #91

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    Could you make your opinions on the Softxpand and ncomputing solutions public? If not PM me I too are looking into these solutions and may try to get both on evaluation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliG View Post
    Could you make your opinions on the Softxpand and ncomputing solutions public?
    Both are neatly superseded by this:

    Poor Man's Multi-Touch: using multiple mice with Xorg | en bug | ao2.it

    No need to bother with multiple desktops, just have one big desktop on multiple monitors (as many as you can get dual-head video cards into a PC - 8 seems a realistic target) and multiple mice pointers and keyboard focuses. Then just open RDP sessions to a terminal server machine (which can even be a VM on the same machine, if you like) and now pupils can open and edit their own files and pass windows between screens. It's a really cool feature for collaberative working, and it's handily also the cheapest option.

    NComputing: our two-year-old system still chugs away okay in the staffroom. I saw the latest version on LG's stand at BETT, including an NComputing terminal snazzily integrated into an LG monitor, so I'd think those are worth a look.

    Licensing: Windows Multipoint Server out this summer, solves all those tedious licensing problems:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/mul...t/default.aspx

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  3. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliG View Post
    Could you make your opinions on the Softxpand and ncomputing solutions public? If not PM me I too are looking into these solutions and may try to get both on evaluation.
    My opinions are pretty much detailed in this thread. It's a good system. It works. Not to sure on the licensing requirement. I found SoftXpand to be a better fit than nComputing.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks
    Licensing: Windows Multipoint Server out this summer, solves all those tedious licensing problems:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/mul...t/default.aspx
    This is the one to watch. Solves all the licensing problems of the other systems without any overhanging questions. I hear the relase date is more this side of Easter

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    SoftXpand MiniFrame

    Hi All,

    I am the MD of MiniFrameUK and am happy to make this clear as I have nothing to hide. Any of you can "Google" SoftXpand and find my direct phone number if you need clarification on any item. I have recently read this forum and would like to clarify a few points. Ric suggested that sellers should tell end users what licences are required. This we have done consistently since first selling SoftXpand over two years ago, the answer is one copy of XP Pro. Also in answer to Rics post we do not alter the XP operating system, SoftXpand is an application which runs on XP like any other application.

    XP Pro OEM is a device license and a SoftXpand system has only one device. Like all of you I would love to have a definitive answer from Microsoft but unfortunately this is not forthcoming. There was a quote in this forum that Michaela Wardle from Microsoft stated that she was in touch with MiniFrame but unfortunately this was not true.

    We at MiniFrame have looked into this issue in great detail and taken extensive legal advice and are 100% convinced that one licence is all that is required. Due to the market penetration of Microsoft, they are considered in law to be in a monopoly situation, and as such are bound by anti trust laws, which state that they must treat the competition in the same way that they would treat their own products. You may remember that they have already paid very large fines in both US and Europe for this very reason. I can however, understand why Microsoft refuse to answer the question, as I believe the only correct answer would not be to their advantage. It may not be a well known application but do look at Microsoft MultiPoint Mouse where 25 students each with their own mouse simultaneously engage on a single PC.

    Microsoft should not be concerned with SoftXpand, as we have chosen to develop the application based on their operating system rather than on Linux. It is also interesting that they are not losing out. Let me give you an example. We recently installed 6 x 6 user SoftXpand systems into a school in Leeds. As we were leaving, the ICT coordinator informed us that, had they not chosen SoftXpand, they would only have been able to afford PC's for 20 students. In this instance Microsoft have lost the sale of 14 copies of XP, but by supplying 36 copies of Office, instead of the 20 they would have bought Microsoft have gained an extra 16 copies of Office. Microsoft have gained, we have gained, the school has gained and more importantly the pupils have gained. Also because a SoftXpand system saves 83% of the carbon footprint of typical stand alone desktops the whole world has also gained. A number of the head teachers at schools using SoftXpand have commented to me, that due to a more efficient use of ICT within their school this has also improved their Ofsted report.

    I agree with the Green Organisation that SoftXpand is the ultimate green PC, and this has now been recognised by the Carbon Trust, so that purchases of SoftXpand are now eligible for a Carbon Trust 0% loan. As a grandfather, I would like to leave the world a better place, and I honestly believe that SoftXpand is an IT technological advancement that will help to save the planet from further destruction.

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    Licencing is like income tax - we all hate paying it - but there is an "sort of" fairness about it

    I suppose the reason why this licencing issue won't go away for you until you get get a definitive response from MS is that it just does not 'feel' correct - that is attaching 6 users to one version of XP....

    And your failure to get a satisfactory response from MS just confirms this unease...

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    SoftXpand MiniFrame

    Hi Nut-Ed,

    There is no confusion or un-ease. Microsoft have been aware of SoftXpand for a long time as shown by the quote from Michala Wardle. They know there is no problem with SoftXpand but they are in business for one reason only and that is to make money. Why should they make a statement to say it is ok? I completely understand their silence. Also why do you feel uneasy having multiple users connected to one PC. Microsoft do it with 25 users in MS Multipoint Mouse so if they are happy with this situation, I am happy to be saving a lot of schools a lot of their budget or allowing them to improve their PC to student ratio. Microsoft's job is to maximise their profits just as mine is to maximise the profits of MiniFrame. Schools should not need to be concerned about Microsoft or us; they should be providing the best value for money solutions that will improve the IT teaching in their schools.

    One head teacher in Derbyshire recently sent the following. "We have now been using SoftXpand for over 2 years. The skills of the children have improved significantly; teachers now plan to use ICT more frequently and we have saved money in so much as we need the ICT technician a lot less. We would recommend people look at this system as we have seen huge benefits in such a short amount of time." This is typical of the comments we receive from our clients.

  7. #97
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    Is there not already the multiplexing guidance from Microsoft clearly stating that if you combine multiple requests through a single device you still need the same number of licenses as users or an applicable per processor license?

    You would still need something like a TS license, server CALs and multiple office license for each system to be covered. I don't know how this is going to be affected by multipoint server though.

    With something like multipoint mouse are the users not still all sharing the *same* windows session though, so there is still only a single authenticated user.

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    Hi DMcCoy and everyone else,

    I have the feeling that this discussion will go on for ever. Why would anyone want to consider server CALs and multiprocessor licenses when there are no servers involved and there is ony one processor? SoftXpand is not a server. It is a PC, but unlike most PCs where the majority of the electrical power is used to heat up the environment so we can whack up the air conditioning to cool us down again, SoftXpand directs its energy into processing. Unless you have seen softXpand in action and understand how it works it is difficult to understand the reasoning for the single XP license. If you want to find out more you can download a free trial. I think this would answer many of your questions.

    When I was at school, which is a long time ago, if a teacher asked a pupil a direct question and they refused to answer, it was normally assumed that the student knew he/she was wrong and did not want to admit it. I think Microsoft have been quite vocal by their silence.

  9. #99

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    @RogerAnscombe: Thanks for the PM and your valuable input so far. Perhaps you could clarify a couple of things...

    Firstly, you mention Microsoft Multipoint Mouse - I think you mean Microsoft Multipoint Server 2010 as that is the MS product with similar funcitionality to yours. However, it clearly states the following on the documentation for this product (see here):

    Under Microsoft Volume Licensing Academic Programs, Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 Academic is required on the host computer, and both a Windows Server CAL
    and Windows MultiPoint 2010 CAL are required for each user station.
    That quote suggests to me that each 'station' is treated as a separate device (hence the multiple CALs).

    Secondly, you mention that you have many happy customers who are running these systems with a single XP Pro license and that MS should be happy that they have bought more copies of Office than they would have normally. Both Windows XP Pro and Microsoft Office are 'per device' licenses. Surely if you only need one Windows license, you will only then need one Office license? Similarly by using device CALs for Windows Server you will only need a single CAL (in contradiction to the MS quote above). I believe this is what sits uneasy with many EduGeek members.

    From a 'common sense' point of view, the fact that Windows will only allow you one user session out the box (i.e. it locks out the console when you remote in) should indicate that it's something that isn't meant to be done.

  10. #100

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    The unfortunate phrase in the EULA

    Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product’s user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.
    Read into it what you will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe View Post

    unlike most PCs where the majority of the electrical power is used to heat up the environment so we can whack up the air conditioning to cool us down again
    This quote is getting a bit boring - the latest thin-zero clients take low single figures of wattage, similar to a multi-VGA card + USB extender...(pro-rata / user), so if power consumption is the battle ground lets operate on a level playing field....

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe View Post

    When I was at school, which is a long time ago, if a teacher asked a pupil a direct question and they refused to answer, it was normally assumed that the student knew he/she was wrong and did not want to admit it. I think Microsoft have been quite vocal by their silence.
    It is absurd to assume this by MS's silence - they can't comment on every product that comes out, they offer pre-requisits and it is up to company's to ensure their products comply. For example here are well documented registry hacks to lift the single user limit of XP - of course doing this would clearly be against the spirit of MS's licencing policy, but MS haven't commented on this, because just the act of commenting would higher the profile of the hack and make the problem worse....

  12. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe View Post
    I am the MD of MiniFrameUK
    So if we're currently looking at multi-seat computing equipment, why should we buy your system - what advantages does it offer compared to its most obvious rival, Microsoft Multipoint Server? Is it cheaper, faster, more up-to-date? Multipoint server looks pretty good to me - I understand the licensing is the same as for standard Server 2008, so at education prices that's around 100 + 30-ish per CAL for each workstation, which is pretty good. Plus it's also basically Windows Server 2008 R2, which is pretty much Windows 7, and while Windows XP is good it is starting to get on a bit - does your product only run on Windows XP?

    --
    David Hicks

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    Multipoint server looks pretty good to me - I understand the licensing is the same as for standard Server 2008, so at education prices that's around 100 + 30-ish per CAL for each workstation, which is pretty good.
    Edu VL prices nearer 60-ish + 15-ish for CAL's (MPS-CAL + SVR-CAL) - of course exact pricing depends on your VL reseller and VL agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    what advantages does it offer compared to its most obvious rival, Microsoft Multipoint Server? Is it cheaper, faster, more up-to-date?
    To be fair I really like SoftXpand. Being XP based is actually something of a bonus if you're not ready to move to Win 7 yet. It's easier to use and is more manageable than Multipoint Server currently is - you can adjust the maintenance mode countdown timer for example. It also supports mapping USB pen drives which Multipoint Server doesn't.

  14. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    dhicks (9th March 2010)

  15. #104

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    ...what advantages does it offer compared to its most obvious rival, Microsoft Multipoint Server? Is it cheaper, faster, more up-to-date? Multipoint server looks pretty good to me - I understand the licensing is the same as for standard Server 2008, so at education prices that's around 100 + 30-ish per CAL for each workstation, which is pretty good.
    What, you mean apart from the obvious advantage that you don't
    have to worry about Microsoft Licensing, so it should cost considerably less....

  16. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Edu VL prices nearer 60-ish + 15-ish for CAL's (MPS-CAL + SVR-CAL) - of course exact pricing depends on your VL reseller and VL agreement.



    To be fair I really like SoftXpand. Being XP based is actually something of a bonus if you're not ready to move to Win 7 yet. It's easier to use and is more manageable than Multipoint Server currently is - you can adjust the maintenance mode countdown timer for example. It also supports mapping USB pen drives which Multipoint Server doesn't.
    Hi David,

    You will probably notice that I am very new to this forum. I do know that my colleague, Colin was previously banned for trying to sell so I do not want to fall into the same trap. My reason for joining was to try to bring some facts about the licensing issues as the forum had become a rumour mill. I personally believe that SoftXpand is the best value for money but I would not expect you to believe that until you have seen it working. Please give me a call on 01629 700270 and I will see if we can arrange a demonstration for you.

    Ric,
    If you want me to answer, I will be more than happy to do so.

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