Article by Nicola Manica

ThinOX4PC new version – From embedded OS to general purpose OS

After the first release that attracted a lot of interest in the market, we have decided to release a new version with a number of product improvements, both from the point of view of new hardware support and from the point of view of the implementation of new features.

For those who don’t know ThinOX4PC, this is a product that allows the use of the Linux ThinOX distribution, for PC, which can be used in permanent mode and then installable on the hd or in live mode via a USB stick.

For those who have already tried the first version, the use and licensing methods remain the same, with the need to use ThinMan (the remote device manager) for licensing and advanced configuration management.

The new version also marks a small change of philosophy in the development of ThinOX: if so far distribution has to deal with limited resources, in particular with the small size of thin client flash memories, today, with regard to ThinOX4PC, we have decided to change course and directly add a large amount of drivers. This will be the big difference between ThinOX4PC and ThinOX. Following this philosophy, around 300 MB of drivers, including network adapters, graphics chipsets, and pci cards, have been added. In addition, the various add-ons will be inserted directly into the firmware. The total size of the ThinOX4PC firmware has grown to a bit below the Giga data, so you must use disks (both in USB mode and in installed mode) of 2 Gigabyte or more.

From the point of view of the support to new hardware the novelties introduced with version 10.2.0 are:

  • Kernel upgraded to version 4.8

    The new version of the kernel allows accelerated use of new generation graphics cards, such as Intel Braswell and Skylake cards. This version will no longer use vesa drivers, but native ones, with a remarkable increase in performance. The new kernel also overcomes the limitations of new audio chipsets, which with this release work properly.
  • Network adapter drivers added

    Approximately 150 MB of network drivers have been added, including support for network cards with Intel chipset, Realtek, Broadcomm, Qualcomm,…
  • Wifi network adapter drivers added

    Wifi cards, including external ones, have increased as well. Supported chipsets include various cards: Intel, Atheros, Realtek,…
  • Automatic diagnostic tool added

    – The experience of the first release released to the general public has allowed us to understand how to be much faster in the event of failure to support some device. We introduced an automatic device diagnosis tool when started in USB mode, listing the devices in the machine and saving them to a file (MAC.json) inside the first partition of the boot device. The first partition is the one also visible from a standard Windows PC, so just start your PC in live mode and wait for the boot phase to complete. Once completed, you can turn off the machine and insert the key into a Windows machine to find on the first partition the file to be sent to Praim support.

    – Also on the first partition there is an executable file for Windows, which allows the same analysis directly on the machine on which you want to try ThinOX4PC. Just start the machine while it is connected to the internet, insert the USB stick and run <file>.exe and follow the instructions. The necessary information will come directly to Praim support.

As for the new features, basically tied to the whole ThinOX world and not specific for ThinOX4PC are:

  • VMware Horizon View Client upgraded

    We updated the client to version 4.4. For the news introduced in this release, please refer to the Official Release Notes.
  • New network configurator

    In this release, a new configurator for network card management has been introduced. Some settings, such as DNS, are no longer specific, but become global. There is a configurator for each network card recognised in the system.
  • New wifi graphical configurator

    As for wifi cards, it the possibility of discovering and graphically configuring the connection to a wifi network has been added.
  • Fallback and support for multiple network adapters

    By introducing multiple network adapters at the same time, ThinOX also adds the ability to use a fallback wifi connection in case of ethernet network failure.
  • New graphical configurator for certificates management

    A new graphical certificate configurator has been added, allowing from the the thin client side to add multiple certificates at once, and from the ThinMan side to view the certificates currently on the device.

 

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