IBM fleshed out its client side Linux strategy on Monday, announcing that its network station thin clients can now run the open source operating system.
Big Blue said its Network Station Series 2200 and 2800 with Linux will complement and expand its existing family of Linux certified IBM clients, including the Thinkpad, PC 300, Intellistation and Netfinity servers, enabling customers to standardise their business on the operating system (OS).
Howie Hunger, director of marketing and channels of network stations at IBM's personal systems group, said: "These capabilities allow customers to merge the benefits of open source and server based computing, and they expand the IBM thin client family with an even broader spectrum of solutions tailored to the needs of occur customers."
George Weiss, an analyst at market research firm, the GartnerGroup said that IBM was "more biased to server centric strategy for Linux", but that "interest is developing in Linux across to the client as well".
But he asked: "Can IBM really hope to make a strong business model out of Linux on the desktop, which is predominantly geared around Windows? It could work in very selected budget conscious environments such as government and law courts."
Information for customers and software resellers on how to implement Linux on the Network Station Series 2200 and 2800 thin clients can be found on IBM's Web site at www.ibm.com/nc.
Included on the site are specific instructions for configuring Linux and for introducing terminal emulators, Windows 2000 compatible ICA clients and Linux based applications such as Applixware Office for Linux.
Bernie Thompson, president of Applix's Linux Division, said: "IBM's support of Linux for its Network Station thin clients brings together the cost of ownership benefits of thin client technology and Linux.
"Combined with the portability of and high performance of the Applixware Office suite, IBM can provide a scalable range of solutions from the thinnest client running Applixware Office on Linux up to RS6000 or AS/400 platforms serving Applixware to Linux clients, and beyond to powerful S/390 solutions running Applix Anyware web office," he claimed.
IBM said it would also provide a forum for customers to exchange information about Linux on the Network Station family.
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