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Client

 

A computer system or process that requests a service from another computer system or process, a 'server'. A client is part of a client-server software architecture

For example, a workstation requesting the contents of a file from a file server is a client of the file server.

'Thin Client': A simple client program or hardware device which relies on most of the function of the system being in the server. By the mid-1990s, the model of decentralised computing where each user has his own full-featured and independent microcomputer seemed to have displaced a centralised model in which multiple users use thin clients (e.g. dumb terminals) to work on a shared minicomputer or mainframe server. Networked PCs typically operate as 'fat clients', often providing everything except some file storage and printing locally.

By 1996, the reintroduction of thin clients was being proposed, especially for LAN-type environments. The main expected benefit of this is ease of maintenance: with fat clients, especially those suffering from the poor networking support of some operating systems, installing a new application for everyone is likely to mean having to go physically to every user's workstation to install the application, or having to modify client-side configuration options; whereas with thin clients the maintenance tasks are centralised on the server and so need only be done once.

Also, by virtue of their simplicity, thin clients generally have fewer hardware demands, and are less open to being sabotaged by 'ambitious' Lusers.


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