With Mac OSX Lion in the works there are many features being thrown around. One that caught my attention right away was Apple finally wising up to the need for a 1st party solution for multiple remote users. This is the same function you can get from a Windows sever and network accounts, the ability for a single machine to host several users at once from remote terminals. All programs run on the server and users just view the screen.
The iPad has already been demonstrated as viable VNC client systems. Connecting back to and controlling a computer while viewing the full screen remotely. What many of you with personal computers (especially Macs) may not have tried is connecting to user account that is not currently using the computers display. Most computers can create a virtual display, which is how the Windows servers work.
Now a little story. Three times a year we run computerized testing for our students. During one of the latest sessions I had a computer cut out. Overall not a super big issue save for one class which is completely full. Instead of having a student wait for computer to become free I used a bit of software called VineVNC which allows a MacOSX computer to maintain a VNC session on a normally inactive user. After getting Vine going I switched the active user over to the testing account for use by the student. During the exam I used my iPad with iTeleport to connect to my Admin account through Vine, getting full access to my monitoring and admin tools, without disturbing the student. I could view all the students screens, remotely pause exams, all while prowling the room.
As personal computers become more powerful they are better able the deal with the demands put on them by several users. In the case of the iPad this means one could have several students using PC only software (like Flash) through virtual sessions on a single classroom computer.
Hopefully Lion, with its built in server and multiple remote users will be able to do this without extra software.
Link to Vine
Link to iTeleport