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Re: How is typical home computer used today?

On Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:39:41 -0700
Paul E Condon <pecondon@mesanetworks.net> wrote:

> On 20141208_1214-0600, Richard Owlett wrote:
> > In a thread titled "Re: 9p/plumber to replace D-Bus?"
> > berenger.morel@neutralite.org wrote:
> > [[🔎] 3d6a00a1c8bddc88b517b4e19cc681dd@neutralite.org">https://lists.debian.org/[🔎] 3d6a00a1c8bddc88b517b4e19cc681dd@neutralite.org]>
> > 
> > >
> > >Le 08.12.2014 14:18, Marty a écrit :
> > >>[SNIP]
> > >>Multi-seat PC and other
> > >>anachronisms probably have to go away.
> > 
> > Exactly what is meant by "Multi-seat PC"?
> I was thinking about a similar question while reading the Plan 9
> postings: What is meant by 'PoC'? Let me try to answer your question.
> 1. 'PC' is, I believe, an abreviation for 'Personal Computer'
> 2. 'Multi-seat' is several seats, which could only imply several
> persons occupying those (several) seats.
> Ergo, a confused expression open to multiple interpretations,
> and no exact meaning whatsoever. 
> Can you help me with 'PoC'?
> > I'm working on defining a heavily customized personal installation
> > of Debian. One of the *STRONG* underlying assumptions is the the
> > machine would only ever be used by a specific individual. One of
> > the underlying motivations is personally understanding the the guts
> > of Linux.
> > 
> > >[snip]
> Peace.

Proof of Concept. A bit short of a prototype.

There are two different concepts here, almost no home *workstation* will
be used truly multi-seat i.e. with more than one person connected
simultaneously to it. A home computer may have multiple users, but
generally not simultaneously. A simultaneous-multi-user computer is by
definition a server of some kind. My home contains one of those, but
most peoples' won't. They are becoming more common, with cheap Windows
versions aimed at home server use, with a particular emphasis on media
playing and backup of workstations. The tiny and very cheap Raspberry
Pi and other similar devices are being used as servers, but generally
for very limited purposes, and certainly not as multiple-user

There is a sort of half-way house, whereby a second user can login
to a workstation without the first user logging out, but the same
keyboard and screen are used and the first user cannot do anything
while the second user has control. I don't know how commonly used this
is, Windows has had it for many years, but few home computers have
enough resources to do this efficiently. Second and subsequent users
have a poor 'user experience'. Server versions of Windows can allow
multiple simultaneous remote users, but again, this is not likely to
happen in the average home.

I think the main point being made is that computers are now
sufficiently cheap that we don't have to all crowd around one machine,
that where there are two or more people in a household who use a
computer more than very occasionally, they will have their own

I don't see that *n?x is at a particular disadvantage when it comes to
single-user machines, though we might wonder why the system complexity
seems to be increasing so quickly. We certainly don't want to get away
from decent networking and multiple accounts, as a lot of the problems
and disadvantages of Windows over the years have arisen because of its
slow evolution from the non-networked, single-user, single-task DOS.
Unix gained a lot by being networked and multi-user right from the
start. It is also occasionally useful to have multiple consoles
available, which is probably the nearest that a home computer comes to
being multi-seat, though I have to say I don't make use of that more
than a couple of times a year, and I run sid.


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