Thin Client for Java

I am new to Ignition. I am blown away by this product.

I work for a company that has a large installed base of another HMI package. The costs are out of sight with it.

Since Ignition is server based, what are my options for thin client? What does it take to run the necessary Java in a thin client environment?

Can you suggest any prepackaged thin client hardware that might be runing Linux with necessary Java and browser. Naturally I am looking for fanless, flash or SSD based solution.

At some point we might consider booting from a server, but not initially.

Thanks for any help.

Dennis Womack

Good question - we are actually working on creating a custom Linux distro optimized to do the minimum amount of work necessary to run an Ignition client, which is:

  1. Run a basic windowing system
  2. Run Java SE 5 or 6

Not quite sure when it’ll be ready however… of course if you’re familiar with linux there is nothing stopping you from seting up linux on an industrial touch-pc yourself.

On the Windows side, the lowest we can go is XP Embedded (no CE) because we need to run JavaSE, not JavaME.

I know that some of our integrators have had success with Wyse terminals runnning XP embedded.

Hope this helps,

1 Like

I am looking for something like the JackPC or similar from

I have inquired of them as to the availability of java SE 5 or 6 running on their platform.

Take a look at their stuff.

My application for Ignition is initially a dashboard showing critical production data.


The JackPC looks pretty cool, but a bit anemic. 128MB ram is going to be rough running the Ignition client. Their EX-PC looks a lot better, but of course it is larger and presumably more expensive.

How much RAM would you reckon would be necessary for web client in linux?

Reckon is southern thing.


Well of course it is going to depend on the complexity of the project, but lets assume the most basic of projects for a dashboard.

Honestly I’m not sure without some experimentation, because I don’t have an intuitive sense as to how lean a stripped down Linux installation will run. I would like to see 512mb, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you could get away with less.

Sorry for the equivocation, this ultra-low end is somewhat new territory.

I am currently testing an Atom unit from Habey. Passively cooled with heat pipes that are embedded in a fined die cast case. It also has the NVidia ION chipset. I also used a OCZ Vertex 30GB solid state drive (smallest I could find, but only $80 after all the rebates). I used a 2GB memory module. The whole package was around $490 with shipping.

Currently testing with Ubuntu 9.10. By using UNetbootin it installed in around 8 minutes (of course all the service packs took longer to download and install). It will boot up and be ready to run in about 15 seconds (5 of that is waiting on the BIOS).

So far it seems to run very well for a client. You will notice it is a little slower than a desktop at unpacking the jar files, but once the interface is up it seems to do well.

Some links:
The Habey PC from newegg: … -_-Product

The OCZ SSD from newegg: … 6820227393

The RAM from newegg: … 6820231163

Check out the other stuff from Habey (some looks very interesting, they have a passively cooled Core 2 Duo):

The next items to try are KUbuntu. I have read it is supposed to be a little more optimized than Ubuntu. I also want to try SUSE, since they have a configuration website where you can build your own image with any additional packages you may need (like the java runtime). Anyway, I am still new to Linux so I am sure there are more people around that can comment on which one makes the fastest client for use with Ignition.


That looks like a great little box for running the Client - or heck, even the Gateway for a Panel Edition installation.


Thanks for sharing your experiences. It helps.


Do not know if anyone is following this, but so far my experience with Kubuntu is less than impressive. I have had some issues getting things to work that I got working fairly easily in Ubuntu (things like VNC, XRDP, SSH and Java). The command line APT-GET did not seem to work very well. The graphical installer seemed to work OK. KUbuntu is nicer looking, but seems to use the same amount of resources, so I am going to switch my client back to Ubuntu.

Does anyone have any Linux recommendations for a Ignition client that may be better than Ubuntu? The main items I am looking for is small, fast and easy remote administration. So far, it looks like Ubuntu has been the easiest to work with. May eventually try Damn Small Linux, but for right now I am burned out on installing different versions of Linux.


Ubuntu server edition?

If you want off the shelf I think that’s about a small as you get. Koppnix map be a good solution as well. Never tried it.

Other then that I think your looking at a build your own.

(Ducks from all the other Linux users touting their fav’s)

We just finished an install with Ignition running on Windows 7 on a Dell desktop, and four Wyse thin clients with Hope Industrial touch screens as the clients. All you have to do to the thin clients is load Java (takes about 5 minutes total for each client), and that is it. The clients come with 1GB of flash RAM and they run great.

To: scott_stc
Do you have a model number or part number for the Wyse thin client you used?
What OS is the thin client running?

Thanks for the report, it really helps.


We use the Wyse C90LEW thin client, with the Hope Industrial HIS-ML17-STAE, 17" touch screen monitor. All we had to do was load java and the touch screen driver onto the thin client (no big deal). We set the screen resolution of the project in Ignition to 1024x863. This is a real easy setup and works great.

To: scott_stc

The LEW is Embedded Windows based, have you tried one of the Linux versions? Did the unit come with Embedded Windows and a license for it?

Have you tried to use one of the Wyse Linux based thin clients?

Thanks, I am gathering knowledge.


Dennis, you are correct, the C90LEW comes with Windows Standard Embedded. We have not tried it with another OS. If the standard OS works, and works well for that application at hand we try not do vary from that. Although it may be fun for you and I to mess around with different things, it is not in the customer’s best interest for us to install something that either is non-standard, time consuming to obtain, needs tweaking before installing, etc… All of these things add to potential downtime for a customer if a component takes a dive.

Large installations mean lots of different components…thus greater potential for component failure. Too much downtime can severly damage an integrators reputation. Just something to think about. Simple, yet fully functional, its a good standard to design by when your reputation is always at stake.

To: scott_stc

In my case we are the end user, and we have hundreds of PCs on the factory floor to manage.

Windows has been a major source of irrattion. Now there is a new virus that is particularly nasty, Stuxnet.

My quest is for an appliance that does not run Windows, but does run Java, and will be a web client to Ignition.

I have attached a pdf regarding the virus.

stuxnet_08.2010.pdf (395 KB)

I am looking to use the Wyse C90LEW thin client for Ignition clients. I see it was being discussed here and I have a question about it. Has anyone tried installing the Ignition Gateway on one? I am looking to install the full gateway and enable a Panel Edition license on it. My project would look to connect to the main (full licensed) server but if it can’t connect then it would launch the local Panel Edition project. I am just wondering if the Wyse C90LEW would be sufficient for that. My only worry is that the local Ignition gateway would be running all the time when it is only needed in the rare case that the main gateway can’t be reached.

The customer is just not used to server based HMIs so their question was “how do we run the machine in manual when the network is down”. I figured a Panel Edition backup was the best way.

Alex - that thin client looks good to me. I would opt for the one with 2 Gigs of RAM instead of 1. Running the gateway all the time shouldn’t cause much strain on the thin client. Your architecture resembles the emergency model. For your situation, I would keep the local (panel) projects simple so that you don’t have to keep updating the project on every station with every minor change.

Dennis - that worm looks pretty specific to Siemens S7 products running on Windows. Could you describe what happened on your network?

Nathan: Thanks looking at the Java thin client stuff.

We have not had an infestation of that particular worm. We only have Modicon and AB in our plants. The Windows security issues are the reason I have been looking into Ignition on Linux and for a Linux thin client.

There has to be a better way and I believe Ignition is a part of that.