IBM Scores Two More Linux Wins

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-25 Print this article Print

Movie theater chain Regal Entertainment Group and Brazilian retailer Casas Bahia are both rolling out IBM Linux solutions.

IBM has signed up two new retail customers to Linux. Big Blue on Wednesday will announce that movie theater chain Regal Entertainment Group and Brazilian retailer Casas Bahia are both rolling out Linux solutions. "The state of the economy means that retail firms are increasingly looking at cost as a vital component of their IT decisions. The costs are generally lower for Linux implementations than with any other environment, and the reliability and uptime is better," said John Sarsgard, IBMs vice president of Linux Solutions in Somers, N.Y. "The total cost of a Linux implementation is, in my opinion, also significantly lower than for other competitive solutions, which is why more companies are choosing it." This is borne out by Regal executives, who said they chose Linux because it is an open, affordable operating system that gives them a lower cost and relative ease of programming with the Java projects they already have in place.
Regal Cinemas, which was previously running old electronic cash registers that were not tied to the system or to the back end, is now using 2,400 IBM SurePOS 500 point-of-sale systems running Red Hat Linux at its concession stands, which are linked to an IBM eServer iSeries server at its headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.
It is also testing a new, in-theater, Linux-based kiosk that will enable movie patrons to purchase tickets or retrieve tickets purchased from an online service. For its part, Casas Bahia is moving to more than 1,500 IBM 4694-207 and 205 point-of-sale systems running Red Hat Linux in its 320 stores. The company was previously running a DOS system, but felt this lacked an upgrade path, was difficult to grow and had outdated user interfaces. The point-of-sale screen is also used to display advertisements, but the DOS system did not have the necessary resources to update the screen images. The company also wanted a system that would allow them to implement the whole POS functionalities, officials said. The IBM Linux solution delivers an improved GUI, increased security, stability and the ability to run new applications. The company also intends to migrate to a Linux-only store environment over time, the officials said. Linux also gives Casas Bahias developers the possibility of using a Tivoli agent in the point-of-sales systems to optimize the management and software distribution, company officials said. While both Regal and Casas Bahias have had previous business relationships with IBM, these deals expand those significantly. IBM, which recently entered into a multiyear alliance with Red Hat that includes services and expanded support for servers and software, will provide customer support for these latest deals. The latest retail wins for IBM follow deals with Sherwin-Williams Paint stores, Boscovs Department Store, global convenience retailer 7-Eleven and Wolfermans, a gourmet baked goods company in Kansas.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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