I came across this software called Multiseat by a company called Userful. It lets you leverage the power of one physical CPU for up to 10 virtually separate users. As we know, CPUs and processors are getting ever more powerful, while much of what we do (email, browsing, etc) doesn’t really require the full strength. With this software, you can have only one physical computer for your home/office – everyone still works independently, running programs, opening files on their own display and inputs. This is especially valuable in commercial/public sector works where the computer is used to run small and simple programs – like a inquiry terminal in a library, or an Internet kiosk in an airport, for example.
This could dramatically reduce the costs needed, be it hardware or software. On the environmental note, this would certainly also consume less resources (be it electricity or in production of hardware) than having the full configuration. There seems to be some issues with software licensing though – can you only buy 1 copy of the software, or do you still need to buy by the number of people using? Perhaps that’s why it seems on their website they only have it for Linux so far.
Personally I’d hope it’d come onto the mainstream Windows too – and the bonus would be to develop wireless connections between the CPU box and the input/output (monitors, keyboard, mouse). One central wireless home server/computer for everyone’s needs. Perfect!