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Title: Thinstation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Linux kernel, Independent Computing Architecture, Thin clients, Thin client, List of Linux distributions that run from RAM
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Donald A. Cupp Jr.

Tobias Paepke
Stable release 5.4.2 / July 6th, 2015
Operating system Linux
Type Thin client Software
License GNU General Public License

Thinstation is a free and open source Linux implementation of a thin client operating system. It only requires standard 32-bit x86 PC hardware and can boot directly from the network via PXE or Etherboot from a TFTP server, or from local devices such as Hard disks, CompactFlash drives, USB keyrings and CD/DVDs. The minimum requirement is an i686 class CPU and RAM dependent on the intended use, typically 64–256 MB.

Technical specifications

Thinstation is a standalone system, that does not require any modification of the server as long as the server accepts remote client connections. This is true for:

  • Microsoft Windows Server (2000, 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2) using RDP via rdesktop and FreeRDP.
  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 versions for single user login (Remote desktop).
  • Citrix servers using ICA
  • Linux, Unix servers using X (XDMCP), NX (NoMachine, FreeNx, 2X, Neatx), ThinLinc (Cendio), View Open client (VMware), SSH, Telnet and other text terminals.

Even a light standalone desktop is available with Mozilla Firefox and some other basic application like editors and file managers. A web kiosk is a standard solution too.

A Thinstation boot image can be created in two ways(really only one with two paths).

  • You can download the development environment with the DevStation Installer, which will set up a nice build system for you on real hardware or a virtual machine that runs on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, or a Unix computer.
  • You can clone the development environment to an installed Linux Distro of your choice.

Comparison with LTSP

Thinstation resembles Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) but:

  • unlike LTSP, Thinstation is independent of NFS (Network File System) – although NFS can also be supported.
  • unlike LTSP, Thinstation supports non-Linux servers such as Microsoft Windows and Citrix.
  • LTSP comes integrated with several Linux distributions whereas Thinstation is an independent project.


Thinstation started as a fork of Netstation in May 2003, hosted on Thin client

External links

  • Thinstation Site
  • Thinstation Documentation (Wiki)
  • Thinstation at SourceForge
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