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Are there any operating systems that allow you pass a session/screen between users?

Posted on 2013-12-06
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
Hi,

I don't actually require what I am about to ask, I am just interested to know if such a system exists.  The majority of my experience is with Windows based computers.

Are there any operating systems that allow you to pass a session of applications etc to another user.

Here's the scenario;

A user has x number of apps running on a computer, they want to go home or go somewhere else, and they just pass the entire session over to another user, and the applications continue to run, but under the other users credentials.

Does such a system exist?  Perhaps this is how mainframes work?

Thanks

Gary
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Question by:ITPOL
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6 Comments
 
LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:Ram Balachandran
Ram Balachandran earned 50 total points
ID: 39700681
For windows - client systems dont have that functionality - where as servers has - through terminal server option


1.  Log into the server via Remote Desktop as an administrative user and open gpedit.msc from Start > Run.
 2. Navigate to:
    For Windows 2008:
          Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections\
    For Windows 2003:
          Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Terminal Services\
 3. To disable this, select the option below that is relevant to the Operating System of the server:
    For Windows 2008:
           Restrict each user to a single session
    For Windows 2003
           Restrict Terminal Services users to a single remote session
 4. All RDC users will now be able to log into the server using multiple terminal services session
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Author Comment

by:ITPOL
ID: 39700709
Hi,

Thanks, but I don't think that's quite what I was asking.  If I understand the config correctly, the above just allows a user to have multiple RDP sessions simultaneously.  Whilst I believe that Windows; using an RDP session, would allow a user to "view" another users session.  The session is still running in context of the original user.

Unless I have misunderstood?...


What I am interesting in knowing is whether there is an OS that would allow a user to start any number of applications on a machine, and transfer those running applications, to another user in their current state seamlessly (or as close to) for that new user to continue running them.


Like I mentioned above, I'm not actually trying to do this, I'm just interested to know if such a system exists.
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:TommySzalapski
TommySzalapski earned 325 total points
ID: 39700783
No. None of the mainstream operating systems have that exact functionality. The biggest issue would be with security. If the users permissions didn't match 100%, then it would be a nightmare or worse to try to get everything right.

Now what you could do is run things in a virtual machine and pass the state of that virtual machine around. This is not exactly the same thing since the user inside the VM is the same, but the user running the OS on the host machine would be different. In fact, the operating system could be completely different too. You could take the same Linux VM with the same state and run it on a Mac or a PC or another Linux box.
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Author Comment

by:ITPOL
ID: 39700930
Yeah I can see how security and application design would be difficult, however if the operating system was designed in this way, the applications being written for that OS would follow suit, difficult or not.

The virtual machine idea is an interesting one, this is actually very close to how the Microsoft Med-V software works.
It sort of leans towards how I was thinking an operating system like this might work; if there was a token of some sort that the application was running under, users have/don't have permission to interact with that token, or maybe user's permissions are passed through the token, and things like KVM are delivered/received by whoever subscribes (and has permissions) to them.

I don't know a thing about OS design, and I'm just thinking out loud (out-typed?) really.
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Accepted Solution

by:
TommySzalapski earned 325 total points
ID: 39700981
The token idea is cool. You'd still have to be really careful. If you loaded a file into the memory of the program for example, you'd have to make sure to set some token at load time. You'd end up with potentially a lot of tokens unless you forced all security to be by security group or something. Then you could just have a set of flags for if the application had done something only allowed by that group.

Of course any interaction between applications would then need to pass the tokens (and basically OR the flags together).
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:tliotta
tliotta earned 125 total points
ID: 39703980
It's not a specific function of AS/400s, i.e., there is no built-in option you can select; but it wouldn't be too difficult to create. The Virtual Terminal APIs have allowed this possibility since maybe 1990 or so.

Tom
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