Caldera is claiming a major win over Microsoft?s WebTV platform, with a deal to supply Web browsing and email technology for a satellite Internet network.
The software house will provide its products for integration in an initial 170,000 set-top boxes, to be used on Onsat Network Communications' upcoming system.
Onsat will offer ISPs a mixture of software and services including satellite Internet link-ups and Internet caching software from Inktomi. As part of this offering, it will also deliver Intel based set-top boxes running Caldera's DR-Webspyder.
David Stephens, president and CEO of Onsat Network Communications, said the company will offer its services to ISPs anywhere in the world. He said the company?s satellite Internet link-ups will help ISPs add bandwidth quickly, at half the price of traditional offerings.
A South African company, Startec, will use this approach to provide Internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa, where desktop PCs are rare and landlines are hard to come by.
Onsat said it would aim its set-top boxes at consumers in various markets, but also at businesses. Banks, for instance, could use the technology to set up private networks.
A number of unnamed Taiwanese vendors will provide the set-top hardware to Onsat.
Caldera?s DR-Webspyder browser runs on top of DR-Dos, Caldera?s MS-Dos compatible operating system. According to Roger Gross, president and CEO of Caldera subsidiary Caldera Thin Clients, the browser runs well on an Intel 486 platform, and is currently being optimised to work on even older 386 technology.
?That really redefines the network computer,? said Gross. ?We?re talking about the $100 computer."
Initially, however, set-top boxes running DR-Webspyder will be priced $250 and up.
Caldera bought DR-Dos from Novell, which had obtained it in the acquisition of Digital Research. Caldera is currently suing Microsoft for anticompetitive practices, claiming that Microsoft illegally tried to scare away users from using DR-Dos by embedding misleading error messages into Windows.
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