The idea has come up a number of times to have a server version, as well as a desktop version. Why? Well, a server version could provide a lot of things for a LAN that would be missing on the desktop side. It would be simple for people who do not know too much about computers to have two CDs, one labeled "server" and the other labeled "desktop". Some possible things that a server version could have:

If the server was designed as a thin client/LTSP server then the greater part of software (and the maximum of requests in terms of computing power) could be put on the server (which could be a modern PC) allowing the client to be as light and old as you can find in the average CSO.

This way buying (or receiving as a gift) a single modern computer and some network cards the CSO could revitalize in a single step a bunch of old iron.

Skolelinux ( has been pursing this approach, Their idea is to take older/cheaper computers, use them as diskless machines and work from a central server. It is a great way to maximize hardware but it has one major drawback: If you want to do it on any kind of meaningful scale, you need big servers.

Remember that we are talking about running multiple instances of OpenOffice here. In talking about reasonable hardware, the Skolelinux folks mentioned a 1.5-2 GHz server with 2-3 GB of memory and tons of harddrive space. Since each thin client requires significant amounts of bandwidth, you often need to have modern network hardware (switches, cards).

This is much cheaper than buying lots of modern low end machines but it's prohibitively high for organizations that are running off donated, antiquated hardware; hardware they have had for a long time and can't replace, and for organizations that don't have the infrastucture. If there's interest in adopting Skolelinux's work toward a system like this, I'm fully behind it but my effort is going to first go into a useful workstation distro.

We should consider looking at the work over at CivicSpace. They're using Drupal and some of their own modules to build web sites designed to build communities for non-profit organizations.