Amazon Web Services announced it added support for streaming Linux applications and desktops to its AppStream services, which was previously only available for Windows. The claim made is that it will significantly reduce the total streaming cost.
AppStream 2.0 has been running since late 2016 and enables users to stream GUI applications or entire desktops to a local PC using a Windows client or web browsers. Although running apps remotely has some disadvantages (latency, dependency on fast connections and some problems when connecting to local resources), it has its merits.
The benefits include isolation from the local PC and certain security risks, running Windows apps from any OS and full access to the remote environment. In the event one has demanding applications tasked with intensive data processing or needs powerful GPUs, renting a PC from AWS may turn out to be cheaper than buying hardware, especially for occasional users.
Another use case is for software vendors who want to offer a Windows desktop application as a service. The vendor handles system requirements, application installation, updates and data storage for users to have an easy time navigating to the app using a web browser.
The dominance of Windows in the desktop market is so high that the demand for streaming is mainly for Windows apps. Up to this point, the assumption has been that Windows apps are the only ones worth streaming. Now, however, it’s time for Linux to find its place alongside Windows.
Use cases outlined include delivering software as a service, remote Linux development environments, CAD applications with high-performance needs and remote Linux learning.