Re: Thin clients on wifi
I still run a lot of stuff over X both at home and at work (obviously through SSH X forwarding).
My primary go-to system is a Thinkpad T43, 2.0GHz Dothan Mobile Pentium with 2GB memory running Ubuntu Trusty Tahr and Gnome-flashback. It runs very well as an X server connected to other systems, both more and less powerful.
What kills X is the appalling way that some applications, particularly Java ones, are implemented. Too many client applications render the screen locally, doing thing like all of the font handling locally, and then sending the rendered screen to the server.
Now I know that this is the only way that a client application can guarantee that certain fonts are available, and rendered as they expect, but it's seriously ugly in use, and it breaks the ethos of X11, where very efficient network primitive operations are sent across the network rather than the screen bitmaps.
Certain things, like video, are clearly not suited to X, but properly written X applications can be exceptionally snappy.
I think back over 20 years to running IBM X-Station 130s in a live operation (actually the IBM UK AIX Support Centre) from RS/6000 320H servers, about 10 X-Stations per server, over 16Mb/s Token Ring, and it was not X that slowed things down, it was the processing power and memory on the servers running the clients (isn't the X computing model confusing sometimes!). At the time, this was a very realistic proposition, and I'm sure that the increase in processing power and network speed could make thin-clients technically feasible again, but there is no cost benefit any more.
With the rising popularity of delivering apps. through HTML, I can see future thin clients being <£100 android tablets with keyboards (and maybe mice), possibly built into desks rather than sitting on them!
A stick like this could be useful in a scenario like this, but once you take into account the cost of whatever you are displaying it on, and the keyboard and mouse, the tablet option I described above looks much more attractive. The real benefit of these systems would be in a household that does not want to have a desktop PC, but may occasionally want more than can be done on a tablet.