The Return of The Thin


I have recently acquired an old HP T5510 32/128 “thin client” device – a dedicated remote-graphical-terminal, manufactured in 2004 (not my pictures, I’ll get those up in due course):
hp_t5510_fronthp_t5510_backhp_t5510_inside

With the addition of a VGA monitor, USB keyboard and mouse, and an Ethernet cable, this device can connect to remote RDP and Citrix services. Well, it could – the onboard WinCE 4.2 software is so old that it really won’t connect to any even vaguely recent RDP/Citrix server…

The device was manufactured in 2004, and by 2009, with the release of Windows Server 2008R2, the world had moved on. WinCE 4.2 cannot handle SSL certificates with anything later than SHA1 and 1024-bit RSA, and cipher suites that were deprecated or withdrawn between 2010 and 2014. WinCE 4.2 also cannot support RDP Network-Level-Authentication. All of which means that connecting to even a 8-year-old Windows 2008R2 RDP service, or an equivalently aged Citrix service, just won’t fly.

This is a real pity, as the hardware is well capable of doing so, but HP abandoned the T5510 (and it’s sister models) from a software perspective rather too soon. WinCE 5.0, 6.0 or 7? No chance. The situation is even worse since 2015, when HP split into separate companies: HP (consumer) and HPE (business/enterprise), at which point the maintenance resources for the old thin clients disappeared, or got lost in the chaos.

Which leads into a possible rejuvenation project: install a super-slimmed down custom Linux onto the onboard flash card, with FreeRDP 2.0 installed (yes, it needs to be the very recent “beta” 2.0 build, otherwise the same problems as with WinCE 4.2 crop up).

From an initial perusal of “Linux-From-Scratch“, it looks like this might be rather more work than I had anticipated…

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2 thoughts on “The Return of The Thin

  1. I’ll be impressed if you can fit much into the small 32Mb foot print on that on-board SSD, although now thinking about it that should be enough to get a basic boot going and use NFS for a remote root file system. Still definitely quite a challenge you got there!

  2. Although it would be ideal to use the original 32Mb DOM, I am not beyond installing a larger DOM if needs be – but I definately don’t want to turn this into a fat client with all the maintenance heartache that that can involve. The intent is to keep this completely turnkey if at all possible.

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