Here in the office we have a problem with people who work 32 hour work weeks – it basically means that one workstation is unuseable for one day per week per 32 hour employee. This means we have troo many computers. As space is at a premium, we need a solution that allows employees to sit down behind any PC, log in, and be faced with their own desktop, email settings, bookmarks, etc etc.
At first though one would go for roaming profiles, but as profiles here are around 1 GB large, It would take too long to copy the whole profile from the server in the morning and to the server at shutdown time. Also it’s not unheard of for one person to log into two computers at the same time, which brings problems when they log off the PCs in the “wrong” order. Also, reading the samba documentation and commentary, people who try to implement this all seem to think it’s a bitch to do.
Then there’s an Active Directory server. I don’t know Active Directory and I don’t feel like installing one of these things and administering it (hey, I like LINUX servers!). Apparently though this is supposed to be a viable option.
Then there’s thin client setups. Unfortunately we all need to run photoshop. A server running 8 concurrent copies of photoshop is going to cost me much more than I want to spend on this project.
So I started looking for ways to store your domain profile on USB flash drives. The XP user manager doesn’t allow you to edit or even acknowledge domain profiles, so I can’t just set the clients to read and write to a USB stick.
After a lot of looking around I found these alternatives:
IBM’s Soulpad technology, which saves the state of the OS as well as the rest, looks cool, but it’s only in technology demonstrator, ie. not available. In the article comments is an interesting description of how to emulate the technology using VMWare on an iPod.