I have had conversations with many of you in regards to thin clients. This fall will be the 10th year of deployment of our current devices. We are testing devices to come up with a good solution for the City to deploy as a replacement. It's difficult to know where technology will go in the next 10 years of their scheduled duty cycle. The secret to success of the last device was to keep them simple, and running no local software on the device itself. Servers are then upgraded to accommodate software changes and to increase performance.
I think what we would like to do is get a stripped version of something like SLED running on a device with 3D and Xgl support. Most thin clients do not contain very powerful video cards, so therefore we have been checking out the 5700 series thin client from HP. You can buy an optional expansion cage which adds a single PCI slot that can hold a video card. The device has 256MB of RAM, and a 512MB flash drive and runs at 1Ghz.
Ideally we would like to have it boot, start up the Xserver and then build a XDM login chooser of available hosts.
I have taken pictures of the inside of the device for those interested. It's completely solid state.
[Looking down from the side ]
[Looking up to the single PCI slot]
[ Cover back on, ports on the back including standard PCI ]