Tuesday, August 22, 2006

GNOME By The Numbers

Federico mentioned in one of his blogs about the high number of users of GNOME from thin clients and on multi-user systems.

As software developers, some of you possibly had not considered a few things when designing, debugging and testing on single user systems:
  • Most business environments are open around 250 days a year. (52 x 5 - 10). We have approximately 750 users. Let's assume that a known issue is in a software package, but considered minor because it only happens once a year. If this issue requires a call to our support staff, we instantly have 3 calls a day. (750 / 250)
  • If a condition is left in a software package that locks a NFS drive, or other issue that requires a reboot, we have to schedule this and then kick people off the server during a time that was not pre-scheduled. It's not just an issue of rebooting your local computer. There are multiple users on servers 24 hours of the day, and it's always a bad time for someone.
  • If a software package is leaking memory, and let's assume that it's 50MB a day. Your first thought might be that 50MB is no big deal, and cheap and certainly not a problem. For instance, on our Evolution server, we are running about 210 concurrent users. A 50MB a day memory leak then suddenly becomes a bigger problem.
  • File handles can become a problem if they leak. It really helps to consider hundreds of people running a software package rather than just one person. At a certain point there will be problems and tuning issues with Linux with file handles. Often, this shouldn't be required because it's just an issue of them not being closed and released.


marnanel said...

We have 750 users?

Andrew Ziem said...

Developers should check for such problems using automated regression testing.

Our Gnome terminal server has only 18 users online at the moment, but we are moving towards 40 in the next year or so. For a small list of other Linux terminal server deployments, see LTSP Success Stories.

Mark said...

Hi Dave Richards, I like your blog but I only read syndicated feeds now (using netvibes.com). Could you enable an atom or rss feed for your blog?

That would be awesome. Thanks.

Dave Richards said...

Feed should be available now:


JPforte said...

Hi Dave. I just moved to Belleair, a few blocks away. I have many installations using LTSP throughout the country with 40 or more users. Would be glad to do some consulting with the City of Largo.

our website is http://magna.net/ and we install servers and produce software for timeshare resorts. That software most likely is not appropriate for CofLargo. However, I would love to help any City out that uses linux.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
I am trying to incorporate LTSP on SLED10 for my school district I have 62 LTSP 150's and a nice IBM server, I've managed to get most of the stuff running now, but could always use an experienced resource to discuss things with.
I have read your blog and was wondering if you've heard of http://en.opensuse.org/SLICK
I have one of the original cd's for this project, it can fit in a small drive. if you would like to see it place a note in your blog or something. JT