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Microsoft's MultiPoint Threat -- Multiseat Linux Desktop Virtualization
Userful is one of the pioneers of multiseat virtual desktops having first launched their Userful Multiplier software in 2002. Userful's innovative Linux desktop virtualization paved the way for multiseat Windows solutions such as NComputing, and now Microsoft with their soon to be released Windows Multipoint Server 2010. Used in over 100 countries, Userful remains the top selling Linux multiseat solution worldwide, and has enjoyed particular success in the education sector.
"By using Userful Multiplier in their K-12 classrooms, our customers have reported saving over 50% on their desktop hardware costs, an average of 62% on electricity costs, and additional savings on costly Internet drops, switches, network wiring and other infrastructure and support costs." Said Sean Rousseau, Marketing Manager for Userful. "The multiseat Linux desktops allow our customers to stretch their limited IT budget and use those savings to provide better computer access for all students in their region."
Userful Multiplier lets a single PC support up to 10 independent users at the same time, each with their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Configuration is automated, and it provides phenomenal multimedia performance including fullscreen/fullmotion video. Userful provides better performance than thinclients or netbooks, and at a fraction of the costs.
Unlike Microsoft Windows based multiseat virtual desktop solutions which require the purchase of the server operating system, as well as the purchase of client access licenses (CALs) and application software licenses for every seat, Userful is Linux based, so the operating system, and all the application software is Free. This provides significant cost savings, while still providing all the features of a Windows environment through open source software such as the Firefox web browser, the OpenOffice office suite, and even education specific software such as the iTALC school computer management software for teachers. Linux is no longer just for IT professionals, as evidenced by the education ministries particularly in Europe and South America currently deploying large numbers of Linux desktops in K-12 schools. But Linux is still free.
New to version V.3.7, the Userful Multiplier user interface now includes additional internationalizations. Expanding the multilingual support makes it possible for even more countries to take advantage of the cost savings of Userful, and will make it possible for countries with multiple official languages to provide computer access in all official languages using a single solution. In addition, V.3.7 brings improved USB device support, including hotplugging of 2way audio devices. This makes interactive remote teaching and learning easy for rural and specialized classrooms. Userful Multiplier V.3.7 supports all major Linux distributions including Ubuntu 9.10, SLED 11, and Fedora 11. It is available in 64bit and 32bit packages in both RPM and DEB formats, making it compatible with virtually all open source software.
"Userful Multiplier truly redefines the cost of educational computing." Said Beverley Gallagher, VP of Strategic Partnership at Userful. "The upfront and ongoing cost savings of Userful have made it possible for tens of thousands of K-12 schools in both developed and developing regions to provide computer access to millions of children, many for the first time. The new features of version 3.7 will make it possible to provide computer access to even more children around the world."
A free 2user version of Userful Multiplier V.3.7 that turns 1 computer into 2 for personal or trial use is available from: http://userful.com/products/downloads/free-2-user
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