Citrix to Release ICA Version 8 Clients Next Year

Citrix's next version of MetaFrame Presentation Server, expected in the first half of next year, adds several new features to the already impressive list of functionality. To make use of these new capabilities, a major new client platform is needed.

Citrix's next version of MetaFrame Presentation Server, expected in the first half of next year, adds several new features to the already impressive list of functionality. To make use of these new capabilities, a major new client platform is needed. To that end, Citrix will be introducing version 8.x of their ICA clients next year.

Most of the new server features will require the new version of the ICA client, including SpeedScreen multimedia acceleration, dynamic session reconfiguration, and session reliability. The new ICA clients will also support bi-directional audio, which means that the voice recognition capabilities of Microsoft Office and Tablet PCs can be used with MetaFrame-based applications. Soft-keyboard support has also been added for tablet-based clients.

Citrix has also overhauled ICA's compression algorithm, and the new ICA clients will allow ICA sessions to consume less bandwidth than ever.

The coolest new feature is, without a doubt, Citrix's ICA client distribution package for Win32 platforms. Based on MSI technology, a single package can now be used to install the Program Neighborhood client, the PN Agent, the PN Connection Center, or the ICA web client.

The Java ICA client is also slated for some long-awaited upgrades. Even though version 8.x of the Java client still lags behind the Win32 client in terms of functionality, the new client adds several key features that were notably missing in the past.

For starters, the new Java client now supports client printer autodetection. The MetaFrame server will even automatically configure a postscript or UPD driver for each printer. Performance has also been improved. Version 8.x of the Java ICA client can now make use of Citrix's SpeedBrowse browser acceleration technology, and it's virtual channels can now dynamically grow and shrink based on demand.

In the convenience department, the new Java ICA client now makes use of the root certificates that are part of the JVM--gone are the days when you had to manually install certificates for the ICA client itself.

Lastly, the best news for users of the Java client is the fact that it will now make use of the "built-in" TS CAL when connecting to Windows 2000 Terminal Servers. This was a major problem in the past. For example, a user connecting to a Windows 2000 Terminal Server from a Windows 2000 workstation with the Java ICA client would still consume a TS CAL from the licensing server, even though their Windows 2000 workstation had a built-in CAL. Of course this functionality only applies when connecting to Windows 2000 Terminal Servers, since no platforms have built-in TS CALs for Windows 2003 Terminal Servers.

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