Koolu - a Linux thin client which goes easy on the environment

July 18, 2007
A thin client is a client computer in a client-server setup which depends on the central server for processing activities. Its primary job is to convey input and output between the user and the remote server. The advantages of using thin clients in a small to medium network are many such as saving on space, lower power consumption, better utilization of computing power and so on.

Koolu is an Australian startup which offers Linux based thin clients and appliances. Koolu is the brain child of Jon Maddog Hall who is one of the leading Linux and Open Source proponent.

Koolu provides thin clients in the price range of $199. And its net appliance is priced at $299. Both the thin clients and the net appliance enjoy a very small footprint to the extent that they could be held in the palm of ones hand. The net appliance is more or less a standalone PC which comes with a modest 500 MB RAM, a 40 GB harddisk and Ubuntu pre-installed. Where as the thin client has just 256 MB RAM and no hard disk. Other than that, both the thin client and the net appliance have the same hardware specifications.

Hardware specifications of the devices are as follows :
  • Processor: AMD Geode LX 800 (500MHz@0.9W)
  • USB 2.0 ports - 4 Nos
  • Dimensions - 13.5 (Width) x 13.5 (Depth) x 3 (Height) Cm
  • Memory - 256 MB for thin client and 512 MB for web appliance. Can be upgraded to 1 GB
  • AMD LX 800 Integrated Graphic
  • Sound - Realtek ALC203_LF AC’97 (2-Channel Support)
  • Ethernet - Realtek RTL8100C-LF 10/100 MB LAN
  • Fan Less Solution / Dust Resist
  • Is energy efficient and uses less than 10 watts.
The 4 USB ports, the LEDs and Sound related ports are situated in the front. And the RJ-45 jack, VGA, Line Out, 12V DC IN and Kensigton lock hole are situated in the back.

Thin clients are nothing new and there are a couple of projects around such as Pxes and LTSP.org which help you to convert your old machine to work as a thin client. But the advantage of Koolu is that all the configuration has already been done and all that the end user has to do is plug in the machine and start using it. More over, the Koolu team claims that since their machines consume relatively less power, they are more environmentally friendly and you can recover the cost of the machine in 2 years by saving in energy bills.

You can buy Koolu online directly from the Koolu official site.


  • Koolu is not Australian nor the brain child of Jon "maddog" Hall. It is Canadian (based in Ontario) and Andrew Greig is the CEO. Jon "maddog" Hall is the CTO of the company.