We're about halfway through updating all City workstations to the new release mentioned in previous blogs. Some changes were merged into this build which made self configuration work in some cases where it previously had some problems and now the entire process can be handled remotely. In cases where the device was still powered on during the update period, we can remotely reboot them and force them to pick up the changes. This build allows us to see the users USB connected devices and exact monitor make and monitor remotely which will be a big help.
Our Police Department is the last area of the City not using RDP and is still using Citrix. Previously the ICA client was running on the GNOME server and then using X11 to the workstations. This worked fine, but we wanted to reap the benefit of the client running on the local thin client which then eliminated one hop in the middle. The workstations then use RDP to talk directly to Windows. As anticipated, this eliminated all of the Citrix canvas processes from the server; they were chewing CPU during repaints. Post change, here is a screenshot of around 220 users logged into GNOME. It wasn't slow previously, but it's definitely better now.
We met with the IT Governance committee last week and spent a good amount of the meeting talking about email issues. We showed them Groupwise 2012, and then mentioned that other options are available and showed them Zimbra 8. They were excited at the feature set of Zimbra in comparison of Groupwise and agreed that we should explore moving off Groupwise in favor of other email vendors. While no final decision has been made, we are researching options and will be meeting with the Office Administrators in a few weeks to get their feedback. We have been on Groupwise since 1994, and it's looking like we might be moving in a new direction.
I have been looking at the Ubuntu based thin client release from HP with an eye to the future. Our custom modifications would need to be installed and tested, but they are highly modular and should install pretty cleanly. The modifications are mostly just Glade/Python screens which have proven to be portable. I would expect this to be ready by the fall and put into production around October or November. I'll blog about this process as it starts.
Our in house support portal is running like a champ, and as time allows I have been reworking one of the clunky parts of the original deployment. I mentioned in the past that I tend to feel it important to get technology deployed and not over-engineer things so that it takes too long to actually gets software in the hands of users. Every five minutes a daemon polls the server farm and gathers information about CPU load, user counts and stuck print jobs. It was then using this data and kicking off a perl routine to build bar chart images which are then just loaded into the portal. GTK really should have native, supported bar and pie charts readily available in Glade. Since that isn't the case, I built a proof of concept using just regular label and image widgets and am happy with the results. The "LibreOffice" column below is the test area and will soon have code to load all of the widgets correctly and create a functional pie chart. Note the hover tooltip that will be available over the individual slices. Once the code is written, I'll replicate it quickly in all places that have bar charts and it should work much better.