In a recent post Brian Madden asked the Terminal Services community at-large for its opinion on which features should be added to future versions of Windows Terminal Services. Ericom Software, the company I work for, is the creator of PowerTerm WebConnect, a product that builds on and enhances Windows Terminal Services. Moreover, we regularly engage with the Microsoft Terminal Services team to discuss how our product can best work with current and future versions of this platform. So, obviously, this topic is of critical importance to us and we give it much thought.
You might think that we would prefer that Microsoft would not enhance Terminal Services because some of the new features they provide overlap existing functionality in our product. For example, Longhorn Terminal Services enhances RDP with Seamless Windows, a feature we have also been providing for the past two years. Yet this is not the case – our whole approach is to build on the Microsoft platform and take advantage, to the greatest extent possible, of its built-in capabilities. We do this for a very simple reason: it enables us to concentrate our resources on those features Microsoft does not provide. In this way we are able to leverage Microsoft R&D as an addition to our own, thus being able to take on a larger competitor.
For example we utilize standard Microsoft RDP as the remoting protocol instead of developing our own. So, whenever Microsoft comes out with a new version of RDP we automatically gain all the improvements they have done to the protocol. In RDP6, for example, we got for free 32bit color, new improved compression, multi-monitor support, PnP device redirection and more. So, the more new features Microsoft addes to Windows Terminal Services the better it is for us.
For this reason, in our conversions with Microsoft we continuously ask them to add even more features to Windows Terminal Services. In response the Brian’s post I provided two such features that are prominent in my mind. Since no one else suggested these features, I think it may be worth while to explain my reasoning for suggesting them in follow-up posts.