The IT Pro generation gap strikes again

Wot, never heard of thin clients?

Study Readers are usually pretty quick to tell us when we use jargon in our surveys that we haven’t defined, and quite rightly so. We work in an industry that is riddled with language abuse, and marketeers who take liberties by redefining long-established terms and inventing buzzwords to make old stuff sound new.

In our latest reader survey, though, this comment from one respondent was a bit of an eye-opener:

"I’ve never seen the term 'thin client' before ... not everyone with IT responsibility is expert in the language of IT."

Ouch! We consider ourselves suitably chastised.

In our defence, we weren’t completely negligent in that we did realise that the term was a bit ambiguous. In the survey, we therefore distinguished between:

  • Software based thin clients (e.g. Citrix receiver or similar)
  • Hardware based thin clients (i.e. dedicated thin client devices)
  • Browser-centric devices (e.g. Chromebooks)

But as a bunch of old-timers here at Freeform Dynamics, who grew up in a market where companies like Citrix, Wyse (now part of Dell) and HP have been talking about thin-clients matter-of-factly for years, it never really occurred to us that this would be an alien term to anyone.

If you have been caught out by the generation gap in language yourself, let us know. Another term, for example, that seems to be used differently depending on your age, is "API", and the way some people talk about certain cloud options sounds a lot like traditional hosting.

In the meantime, if you do actually know what a thin client device is, and want to help us educate those who need enlightening on their pros and cons, we'd appreciate your input in our survey.

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