THINC: A Remote Display Architecture for Thin-Client Computing

Ricardo A. Baratto, Jason Nieh, Leo Kim

Department of Computer Science, Columbia University Technical Report , CUCS-027-04, July 2004

Abstract

Rapid improvements in network bandwidth, cost, and ubiq- uity combined with the security hazards and high total cost of ownership of personal computers have created a growing mar- ket for thin-client computing. We introduce THINC, a remote display system architecture for high-performance thin-client computing in both LAN and WAN environments. THINC transparently maps high-level application display calls to a few simple low-level commands which can be implemented easily and efficiently. THINC introduces a number of novel latency-sensitive optimization techniques, including offscreen drawing awareness, command buffering and scheduling, non- blocking display operation, native video support, and server- side screen scaling. We have implemented THINC in an XFree86/Linux environment and compared its performance with other popular approaches, including Citrix MetaFrame, Microsoft Terminal Services, SunRay, VNC, and X. Our ex- perimental results on web and video applications demonstrate that THINC can be as much as five times faster than traditional thin-client systems in high latency network environments and is capable of playing full-screen video at full frame rate.

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cucs:027:04

Columbia University Department of Computer Science