Software Switches One Computer Into Many
A Canadian company is offering two free software packages that allow a single computer to support two workstations. Besides supporting multiple computers, the software provides computers with a range of office applications.
The Userful Corporation is giving away the software as part of a promotional package, explains the firm’s marketing head, Sean Rousseau. He says that the firm has extended its offer, allowing people to sample the free product and then buy it for their businesses or organizations. “It is a full-fledged product. It’s not a beta,” he shares.
Userful is mainly targeting libraries and schools for its promotion. Rousseau notes that the company represents some 20,000 “seats” in schools and in many libraries in the
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The Calgary, Alberta-based company offers two products, Userful Multiplier and Userful Desktop. Userful Multiplier allows any Linux-based computer to support up to 10 workstations. Userful Desktop is a full software package that provides more than 40 applications in more than 30 languages. The Desktop software is part of the free offer and includes a two-computer version of Multiplier. “We have the ability to turn one computer into 10 computers. We’re just giving away the two-user version,” Rousseau maintains.
Userful Desktop enables users to operate a range of features such as an operating system and office applications such as spreadsheets, word processing, graphics applications and databases. Rousseau notes that the software uses Open Office, and that it features more than 40 applications such as Firefox and Thunderbird. He adds that his firm leverages open-source software.
Rousseau maintains that the software allows secure, managed desktop use in public areas such as libraries and universities. It also features a Web-based application that permits users to completely configure all of the workstations on a computer network. He says this capability is similar to what a system administrator would do in a typical network but, he adds, the software is very simple to use. “We originally designed it for librarians and school teachers to administer,” he says.
Another feature is Userful Manager. This Web-based management portal allows users to customize all of their systems. It also is a secure desktop, offering lockdown and secure Web filtering capabilities such as remote monitoring and administration.
Rousseau maintains that Userful Desktop is very secure and that it is very difficult to hack into or to plant malware onto a public workstation running the software. The free software giveaways represent the latest, most updated version of Userful Desktop. He adds that the firm provides its customers with regular software updates. “When people buy our software, they buy all the updates, all the upgrades—all the support—everything,” he says.