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Dual User Windows PC 323

Posted by michael
from the double-your-pleasure dept.
cojsl writes "Anandtech reviews the Jetway Magic Twin small form-factor PC that allows two simultaneous users on one Windows PC. The article mentions a mobo only option too."
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Dual User Windows PC

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:52PM (#8886095)
    I mean UNIX did it!
    • Actually,
      I can't help thinking
      "Share violation reading file winword.exe - this file is in use by another program. Windows will reboot now in order to free the file winword.exe for your usage
      [OK]
      "
  • by Seng (697556) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:53PM (#8886107)
    I'm guessing not real well...
  • It's not IMPOSSIBLE to do, but I'm interested to see how they did it.

    Offhand, the only ways I can think of are using Citrix or Terminal Server (on a server box).

    Pretty neat though, none-the-less.
    • Windows XP is truly multi-user. I'm sure there's a little setting in there for multiple monitors. As is, multiple people can all be logged in at the same time, all running their own programs.
      • Yeah, I sure do wish Linux could do that! We're always playing catch-up with Microsoft!
      • Re:Terminal Server (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kimgh (600604) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:45PM (#8886670)
        I have Win XP Pro, and, while 2 users can be logged in at one time (one at the console, the other over a network), they both cannot be working at the same time.

        I don't call that "truly multi-user."

        By contrast, my Mac, running OS X, is truly multi-user: I can connect to it over the network while someone else is at the console, and we both can do stuff.

        • Re:Terminal Server (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:56PM (#8886813) Homepage
          I don't call that "truly multi-user."

          But that's just how Microsoft chose to license it (XP workstation). There is nothing inherent in the OS, that prevents them from working in parallel. In fact, NT Servers (XP and 2000) allow multiple people to login. I'm using Remote Desktop [rdesktop.org] right now to access one from my FreeBSD box.

          Also, rumors are, the limit on the number of simultamious users can be increased by careful editing of the registry, but I can not find the link right now...

    • Re:Terminal Server (Score:4, Interesting)

      by w3weasel (656289) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:06PM (#8886257) Homepage
      sadly, this is a kludge... specialized motherboard required... meaning the MoBo is actually siamese twins sharing non-critical chips (err.. organs).
      • meaning the MoBo is actually siamese twins sharing non-critical chips (err.. organs).

        I predict, in the very near future, a blockbuster Hollywood buddy movie about one of these conjoined mobos: Stuck on BSOD.. Starring Matt Damon as the Chipset and Greg Kinnear as the Floppy Drive. Bound to make a mint, no chance that it will bomb...

    • by pseudochaotic (548897) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:17PM (#8886385)
      It's not IMPOSSIBLE to do, but I'm interested to see how they did it.

      Yeah. Wouldn't it be great if slashdot linked to an article or something?
    • Re:Terminal Server (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dnamaners (770001)
      Looks like as noted above that this is a softwear & XP trick, and not actually directly related their pc in particular. They specify that it needs their proprietary softwear, a 2 head VGA card and a mouse and keyboard splitter. Id bet they rout the input of 1 set of devices to each user and controll XP login with it.

      Sort of neat but to me it seems like a bit of a curiosity rather than a true tool. I'd place it on par with neato bundled remotes and LCD panels on some boxes. That sort of candy can
  • Big Deal (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Terminal Services and Remote Desktop have been able to do this forever. Nothing new here.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I want to be able to use multiple computers via one user interface...
    • Don't KVM switches and/or ssh/VNC/Terminal Services/PC Anywhere/etc. pretty much solve that problem?
    • by esac17 (201752)
      That problem is easily answered when considering 1 or 2 computers run off one interface (VNC, TS, telnet, ssh). But the problem comes when one wants to manage their whole lab infrastructure or every computer in their home from one interface. Windows 2003 comes with a neat little MMC snapin called "Remote Desktops" that lets you manage all of your TS sessions. The problem with that is that there is one process for each computer, and if you can imagine, 100-1000 mstsc.exe processes can consume quite a bit of
    • If you want 'virtual monitor spanning' here you go.

      If you have windows machine as the main one VNC2VNC. Works with anything that I can get VNC on, although the scroll wheel doesn't work. I use it to control my Beige g3 from my Northgate keyboard (on XP).

      If you have two OS X Macs, Teleport [abyssoft.com] does a fine job.

      Both of these solutions require two cpus and two monitors, but they work pretty well for this.

  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:54PM (#8886117) Journal
    I wonder how licensing will work for software installed on such a computer.

    Will software makers insist that multiple licenses be bought for software that will be used by two users simultaneously?

    And speaking of things being equal, I feel a Grammar Raid coming on...

    "Magic Twin looks like a pretty unique solution..." the article says. Why do people insist on qualifying the word unique? Something is either unique or it isn't. An object cannot be "somewhat unique" or "almost totally unique." The word means one of a kind, and without equal. Something either has equals or it doesn't.

    Grammar Slammer Bammer slam Igor tomorrow, for sure!
    • by Mr. Bad Example (31092) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:00PM (#8886195) Homepage
      > An object cannot be "somewhat unique" or "almost totally unique." The word means one of a kind, and without equal. Something either has equals or it doesn't.

      That's the most perfect description of a superlative I've ever seen.

      • > An object cannot be "somewhat unique" or "almost totally unique." The word means one of a kind, and without equal. Something either has equals or it doesn't.

        That's the most perfect description of a superlative I've ever seen.

        And my addendum is the worstest joke on the subject, ever.

    • by FreeLinux (555387) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:19PM (#8886408)
      There are already a few misguided posts on the matter so hopefully, I can clear this up for you.

      Microsoft and many other software makers already address this licensing issue. On this machine Microsoft requires either two licenses for Windows or one Windows license and a Terminal Server Client Access license. For MS Office a license is required for each per seat instance. SO, two users in Word requires two licenses.

      This same licensing system is also required by many/most other commercial vendors. Anyone familiar with Terminal services or Citrix should be familiar with this licensing model. If they aren't Microsoft will enjoy speaking with them.
    • No need to wonder, most consumer retail licenses prohibit concurrent users.

      So, it looks like dual purchases.. if you want to stay legal...

      And if you dont care about being legal, why bother with this at all, just get windows server and run terminal services.. instant multiple user setup.
    • by pla (258480) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:32PM (#8886538) Journal
      I wonder how licensing will work for software installed on such a computer.

      For a better question, I wonder if anyone (other than Microsoft) will care.

      Not a troll or flamebait - Really, how many home users actually went out and bought Windows or Office? For a business, a few hundred bucks might not mean much (particularly in comparison with getting caught running an unlicensed app). For a home user, many people balk at even paying $50 for their tax software, nevermind something as mundane as a word processor and spreadsheet (and the rest, that I have yet to see anyone use outside a work environment).

      People get Windows with their machines. They get Office from a friend or borrow the install CD from work. Legality simply doesn't matter, end of story.

      Or, for an already-common analogy, how many people paid extra fees to use on a dual-CPU box (most commercial software includes provisions limiting its use to on a per-CPU basis as well)? Answer? No one. Even businesses usually overlook that one, for "mere" duals.
  • by Amiga Lover (708890) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:54PM (#8886118)
    from the review the units abilities"

    1 PC can be used by 2 users at the same time

    2 users can browse the internet, send and receive email at the same time

    2 users can access all software installed on the PC at the same time (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Data Base, games, etc.)

    2 users can play games against each other with a dual-port VGA card


    I know many softwares of mine have claims that only one person may use it on one machine at one time. What does this mean? If two Excels are loaded on the same machine at the same time where is the licensing happening? No check over network will find any but it's own self running when really it's running for another user anyway on the same machine and that would still end up being a violation of the licensing of a product.

    MS would not be amused.
    • This seems pretty simple to me, if the license says it can only be in use on one computer at a time, then both of you can use it. It's not like multiuser computers and compatibility execution environments didn't exist when the vast majority of licenses were written. If it says only one copy of it can be in use at a time, well the copy in memory which is executed is definitely a copy, from a technical standpoint, so both of you cannot use it. Finally, if it says that only one instance can be running at a tim
    • Anandtech didn't seem to care about potential licensing problems (at least they didn't mention it):

      We set up 2 users who were checking email, writing in Word and adding data to spreadsheets. We had no problem getting our single-user installation of Microsoft Office to work just as if these were separate PC's. We also saw no perceptible difference in performance when we ran the 860Twin as a single user or with 2 users working. We can only assume that the time-slicing mechanism used to enable Magic Twin w
    • I'm curious if you can run two simultaneous copies of Photoshop. For some reaason, Adobe only allows one instance at a time...
    • The difference here is that you pay for a license to use it on your computer. It's just multiple instances on the same computer - there's no network in use here, and the 2 end users are sitting AT the same computer, which just happens to have more than one monitor. Licenses distinguish about running over a network by saying that the application is being displayed and interacted with on one computer, but is hosted on/executed on another, interonnected by some kind of network. A dual head VGA card and two key
    • I remember reading that the original arguments in favor of software licenses was this:

      Computer code is protected under copyright, every time you run a program, it is being copied from your hard drive (or other storage medium) into the computer memory. So, you are not allowed to do this (you are not the copyright holder) by default, and by agreeing to the license you are allowed to make the copy (just like the GPL, conceptually).

      From the above post:

      I know many softwares of mine have claims that only one
    • What do your licenses say about them?
  • Thats a great idea. Never seen anything like it. I have similar problems. For example, while my sister visits barbie, I wouldn't get kicked off,we could both be on it and not know it. Playing two intensive games at once might not work though. Its a great idea. All I can say
  • by eric76 (679787) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:54PM (#8886121)
    How about the blonde who had one of these with a KVM switch to handle both screens?
  • by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:54PM (#8886125)
    The user of the windows box and the admin trying to fix it working together as one. I see it everyday.
  • Taking a step back? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mizidymizark (669232) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:55PM (#8886129) Homepage
    Is it me, or is this returning to the days of dumb terminals? I think this is practical for some of the suggestions they had, ie. 2 children doing homework, but this is hardly a revolutionary idea.
  • Ad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gyorg_Lavode (520114) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:55PM (#8886136)
    What's it mean when there is an advertisment for the box being reviewed right beside the review?...
  • by TechnologyX (743745) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:55PM (#8886139) Journal
    How will it know which virus to run first?
  • Sooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by OverlordQ (264228) * on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:56PM (#8886147) Journal
    what happends when you BSOD twice? Do they cancel each other out and the computer works again?
    • Re:Sooo (Score:4, Funny)

      by say (191220) <sigve@wol[ ]idah.no ['fra' in gap]> on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:19PM (#8886412) Homepage
      Well, minus multiplied with minus becomes a positive. So I guess it would cancel out. On the other hand, Windows would probably BSOD when trying to multiply something. So, we get (--)-, which is -. A BSOD. Now, if the bluescreen subroutine (known internally in microsoft as "void releaseDateFixer(void)") also BSODs, you would be back in the graphical interface again. To crash the BSOD routine, you would probably need to do something as cruel as... plugging in a new printer or something.
  • by spidergoat2 (715962) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:57PM (#8886151) Journal
    These are nothing new. The PCBuddy has been around for a number of years. We don't pay much attention to this stuff in the USA because PC's and parts are cheap. These devices are popular in third world countries where resources are streched.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:57PM (#8886153)
    Two users on my PC at once? I already have this. Not only am I using it, but Bill Gates apparently has free range over the thing, as does Bonzi Buddy. I bet if I run AdAware, I'll find a half-dozen other unknowns sharing it with me as well!
  • by nizo (81281)
    It kept saying low cost, but no prices (or resellers) were mentioned, and the manufacturer decided that everyone had to have shockwave to view their website :-(
  • an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:58PM (#8886164)
    the PC model is kind of really not that good of an idea, all things concidered. I am sure those of who are network admins or some such at companies know that individual PCs on the desks of the employees is headache central.
    Why not take the terminal server model into the homes? There would need to be only one machine, it could sit in the closet w/ the cable modem or whatever, out of the way. Perhaps with a CD changer or virtual disk mirrors to keep it from really needing to be accessed. Then there could be wireless heads around the house, one for each member of the family, say. Then everyone can use the computer at the same time and need only one copy of the OS, anti-virus, et cetera. It'd be a lot neater to handle.
    • Citrix or Unix (whatever variety), then use XTerminal thin clients or Citrix thin clients.

      Duhhh! Welcome to the 1980s.
    • Why not take the terminal server model into the homes? There would need to be only one machine, it could sit in the closet w/ the cable modem or whatever, out of the way.

      AKA, the "Network Computer", or "NC". Two problems with that model: Vendors wanted direct control for licensing and software distribution considerations. There still aren't enough high-bandwidth Internet connections for that to become popular. Plus the schemes proposed were pay-per-use, which consumers apparently hate.

      I kicked around the
  • Soooooo.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0ntab (632466) <pr0ntab AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:58PM (#8886165) Journal
    Does the hard drive look seperate for each user? Or are they piggy-backing onto the Fast User Switching / Built-in Terminal Server feature of XP to provide user seperation?

    The article is _light_ on detail for a five page pseudo-advertisement.

    Fuck.
  • Betwin Buddy [newworldtelnet.com]

    Buddy betwin - Betwin B-680 - Enables 2 Users or more to share 1 PC

    Sometimes one computer just isn't enough. With buddy betwin, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a second PC. This device lets you connect a second keyboard, mouse and monitor to your existing computer to create a second, fully functional PC. Share drives, printers, scanners, software, and even surf the Internet at the same time using only one modem, one telephone line and one Internet Service Provider account. St
  • Maybe the first SFF, but I remember seeing a PCI card available in some catalog somewhere that would allow you to do this with any PC. Anyone remember the name of that one?
  • by NitroWolf (72977) on Friday April 16, 2004 @04:59PM (#8886183)
    It's not unique. This has been around for more than a decade. I remember an add on card for sale in CompUSA that allowed this exact thing.

    I never bought one, because I never had a need. But this is no unique, in so far as allowing to people to use the same box via a mouse and keyboard. It's kinda nice to see this functionality updated, but it's certianly not unique.

    However, it leads to some legal question for software licenses.

    Most EULA's say you can run "One instance of the software on ONE machine at a time" - how does this apply to this machine? If you run two instances of a software package on the same machine, are you in violation of the EULA? My gut reation is yes... but will they really care?

    Depends. If it's not popular, this obviously won't be inforced, but if this is something that becomes more popular, will we start to see software that won't let you run multiple instances of it at once?

    The article says you can play head to head VGA games against each other... but how does that work if you're only running one instance, or are you running two instances?

    This just doesn't seem all that practical for game playing. For productivity apps, though, this could be killer for cube rats. IT could deploy one machine for two cubes, cutting your hardware budget, and support in half!

    Lots of questions, both technical and legal need to be worked out before this could really take off. Couple that with the fact that previous attempts at this didn't seem to fly, for whatever reason, it makes me wonder if this isn't already a dead technology.
    • I think you need to define "one instance", and you need to find out whether "run" is included, as in "run one instance..."

      The reason that's important is you could INSTALL one instance and RUN multiple instances on one machine at a time. Most applications (MS Word, Excel, etc.) allows multiple instances to RUN on one machine, but not necessarily allow multiple instances to be INSTALLED on one machine.

      In those cases, in any case, we know the intention is really, one user per license per machine. In many a
    • You're right this isn't unique, in fact they had a mini-computer called the Virtual PC Buddy B-210 [active-hardware.com], but the main difference between the Jetway machine and the PC Buddy, is that the PC Buddy could share it's resources with up to five people, instead of Jetway's two.
    • For productivity apps, though, this could be killer for cube rats. IT could deploy one machine for two cubes, cutting your hardware budget, and support in half!

      Hardware budget in half? Not if you still need two screens and two sets of input devices. And the computer itself will be more expensive than a normal one, so the gain would be less than the cost of a single machine.

      As for support... well, software support is what costs money, or so I believe. It comes down to whether it's proportional to the num

    • Well, given the price of a good bookshelf system nowadays I would say that from a space-efficiency standpoint you're just as well off with two separate machines. And so far as IT goes, when you need to upgrade a system you now have two workers idle instead of only one, and if the hard drive blows chunks you also have two workers idle instead of only one. My feeling is that this would be great if computers cost $3,000 instead of $300: it's a solution to a problem that disappeared long ago. It's dead tech,
    • by Myself (57572) on Friday April 16, 2004 @09:10PM (#8888275) Journal
      Yeah, it was called the Buddy, and the old incarnation sucked. It was a PCI board which was essentially a video card plus a PS/2 keyboard and mouse controller. The video capabilities were terrible (sync rate limited to 60Hz, IIRC), and the second keyboard was prone to random resets and other problems.

      The new incarnation of Buddy [ipc.com.sg] seems to address all those problems by using standard hardware. Buddy and BeTwin (they look like the same software) appear to work with any PCI video board that'll coexist with other video hardware, and since they use USB keyboards and mice (and audio, if you want), the proprietary controller problems should be gone too.

      The new Buddy doesn't stop at 2 stations, either. It'll happily run up to 5, which might have a chance of using some of the absurd CPU power available in a modern PC. They have a trial version up for download, I might have to check my hardware compatibility and tinker with it later.
  • by SmackCrackandPot (641205) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:00PM (#8886188)
    ... that's got to be a bargain!
  • "Imagine a Beowulf cluster of this!"

    (Not "these", in this case)
  • Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by redune45 (194113) <slashdot AT redune DOT com> on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:10PM (#8886291) Homepage
    It appears that it doesn't even do the dual user function out of the box
    From the article "What Do You Need for a Twin PC?.... Dual Head VGA - the 860Twin comes with just a single VGA connector, so you must add a Dual Head VGA card for Twin PC operation."

    So I would buy this box, then have to immediatly buy a new graphics card, thus making the one it came with useless?

    Hard to see the advantages of this thing outweighing two seperate machines.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:10PM (#8886299) Homepage Journal
    this was an ad.

    not a single thing was said about how it works. How does the 2nd keyboard direct its keystrokes to the 2nd display ? Is the 2nd display an RDP client, or is it a 2nd monitor of window session 0 ? Are the two users running as different XP logins ? what does the magic twin software do ? new keyboard driver ? new mouse driver ? new audio driver ?

    Without knowing how this thing works, it's a non article.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Slashdot called it a "review". Anandtech called it a "first look". Two different beasts.

      To me, it is just an informative piece, no reason to put it on slashdot with just this single link. There are other links people have given that are also useful...
  • by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:12PM (#8886313)
    This website [zipzoomfly.com] does a pretty good job explaining the technology involved and also provides some pricing.

    Happy Trails!

    Erick

  • by code addict (312283) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:13PM (#8886334)
    Am I the only one that thinks this sounds like a mini version of a mainframe w/terminals? Maybe that's the next trend in computing, one PC per household, with multiple terminals for each family member!

    First we have unix on mainframes, then Windows on PCs, and now we're moving back to Unix on mainframes again... ;)
  • could developers.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zogger (617870) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:15PM (#8886357) Homepage Journal
    ..use this? Be compiling and what not on one side, running the compiled code or working on writing on the other? Seems like one practical use. Or having one of the sides be for casually being on the net, while the other side is more open in admin mode for working, or are they both as vulnerable?

    no, didn't RTA.
  • Also via a PCI card (Score:5, Informative)

    by phoebe (196531) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:15PM (#8886363)
    Applica [applica.com] have been doing this for a bit, they also sell 4-station cards so that 5 users can share one PC!
  • It wasn't enough to steal Windows from Xerox. Now they have to go and steal ideas from *nix. Hasn't that been standard in *nix environments for awhile?

    Does this mean that when purchasing a Windows liscense users will now have to decide whether or not the need a liscence and a half? Or just the single.

    Oh I'll have the single please. And crack it later

    What will this do to Grandma and Grandpa computer user? Imagine your grandparents out getting their first PC.

    The technobable alone is staggering.
    I know wha
  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:17PM (#8886381)
    this is one of the most useless ideas out there. I don't see any reason for people to purchase hw so they can use the same Windows box. PCs are sufficiently cheap right now that you're better off buying two and hooking them up over ethernet. You can still share files, share apps, etc. but crashes will affect only one user rather than two. Windows is not a multi-user system... it was designed for one user, and when it comes down to it XP is just a hack for multiple profiles.

    A real solution, that's already been mentioned here, is having one Linux box and setting up multiple desktops with VNC. That's if you absolutely must combine your systems or want to have apps installed on one setup. You can have as many dumb terminals as you want hooked into that machine.

    Making a machine multi-user is a software problem not a hardware one and this idea will FAIL.

  • by morcheeba (260908) * on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:18PM (#8886396) Journal
    From their MagicTwin XP software install manual [210.201.178.73]:
    We can only guarantee that the program will properly run on a completely reinstalled Windows XP system, using the latest hardware drivers and system requirements,
    without third-party software and hardware.
    .. so as long as you don't try to run any applications on it, you'll be fine! The software is fully tied to Windows XP, so no chance of running other operating systems. It looks like there is only one copy of Windows XP running, but then Page 13 has this quote:
    Microsoft Windows License Request: After you have read and accept the Microsoft license terms, the MagicTwin software will explicitly ask you, the licensee, whether you have obtained a sufficient number of Windows licenses. If your choice is "NO" then at every restart the software will notify you of this issue.

    Page 8 tells you to turn off the system standby in XP's power management. Guess they don't have that working well. But they do warn the second user if the first user decides to shut down the system.
  • Actually sun's SunBlade 2500 workstation can be used by two users simoultaneously, with two keyboards and two graphics boards sharing resources! (Solaris 9 and up only)
  • that one user will end up sending email to the other via an AOL server in Chicago, when they could have easily used "net send ..." ?

    • that one user will end up sending email to the other via an AOL server in Chicago, when they could have easily used "net send ..." ?

      Since "net send" doesn't understand the idea of a truly multiheaded system, the desktop it shows up on would occur pretty much by chance (or, more likely, always on the primary head).

      Irrelevant, though, since the two users would need to occupy nearby physical locations - At best, you could probably put this in one room and run the second head through the wall into an adjac
  • you still have to go to all the work of removing the viral OS, configure *nix and get it working properly. Just because it's a SFF doesn't make me want to run out and buy one.

    However, a Russian Beowulf cluster of these, and all your base are belong to us!
  • Im really curious to see how they handle head to head gaming...
    Although they didnt mention it in the article, i can imagine that some sort of clever networking setup was required, for both "machines" to be recognized by any modern game.
    My best guess is that the primary "slice" runs as a NAT server for the secondary, but this is simply speculation. Anyone have more info on this?
  • by nightsweat (604367) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:32PM (#8886532)
    I thought with the usual Microsoft security holes that Windows users already had people sharing their PC.

    Yes! that's my 100th attempt at Karma whoring! Thank you, thank you!
  • Shouldn't we always say MS Windows, since there is the X Window System, the window managers, and other windowing systems around?
  • In short, see http://cambuca.ldhs.cetuc.puc-rio.br/multiuser/ [puc-rio.br]for the XFree86 patches.

    I have this working (and working quite well) with the following hardware configuration:

    Asus A7V600 in an Antec Sonata case
    AMD Barton 2500+, 1GB RAM
    3 40GB ATA disks

    First user:
    Matrox AGP G450 dual, with two heads, using Xinerama, PS/2 keyboard and rodent

    Second user:
    ATI Radeon 7000 PCI, one head, and with a USB keyboard and rodent

    (OS is Fedora Core 1, with a patched X server)

    It's fast, stable, quiet (the Sonata is a re
  • and reformatted with ext2fs and then run some multiuser Unix-like system like Lynux? Then you could have a multiuser system without the specialised form factor stuff. Kewl!
  • Downtime? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Onikuma (699576)
    It would seem to me that two users = twice as likely to crash.
    And this is windows we're talking about. Imagine the downtime *shudders*
    No thanks.
  • NOT a new concept... (Score:3, Informative)

    by i-Chaos (179440) on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:42PM (#8886643)
    Many, many years ago, I came across an article in a Hong Kong magazine regarding a piece of software called "Betwin," which does the same thing. Googling will find you links like:
    Buddy [getabuddy.com] and Another version called Buddy Betwin [newworldtelnet.com]

    Basically the same thing...
    Nothing new here, move on...

  • by lga (172042) * on Friday April 16, 2004 @05:49PM (#8886729) Homepage Journal
    ...but I see no need for a special motherboard.

    I have a laptop which obviously has it's own keyboard, trackpad and LCD - that's the first user. I also have a second monitor plugged in, and a USB keyboard and mouse. It seems to me that if the software could cope with it, a second person should be able to use the computer at the same time.

    Unfortunately I haven't got the second monitor working under Linux, (crappy drivers from VIA) otherwise it would be simple to run another X server linked to the external devices. Windows runs the second monitor OK, but it doesn't have any way to run it independantly of the main user.

    I have ended up using an old SGI Indigo to run programs on the laptop over X for the second user, which doesn't always work with modern X programs.
  • Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by DunbarTheInept (764) on Friday April 16, 2004 @07:23PM (#8887620) Homepage
    I already did the same thing with plain old X-windows on a linux *LAPTOP*. Windows is so behind the times. (With X, you can define the two outputs of the video card (VGA out and the LCD screen) to be different screens altogether, and define one to use the laptop's keyboard and laptop's touchpad, and the other to use a usb keyboard and mouse, and violla, localhost:1.0 is user 1 on the laptop, and localhost:2.0 is user 2 using the usb keyboard, mouse, and the external VGA monitor.)

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