For Thin Clients, Linux Is In

Recognizing the growth of Linux-based thin clients, Wyse redoubles its efforts in the Linux space, releasing Version 3.2 of its Linux operating system.

Thin-client vendor Wyse Technology Inc. is gearing up for an extensive push into the Linux space, starting with the release Monday of Version 3.2 of its Linux operating system.

While the San Jose, Calif., company has always offered Linux-based thin clients, Wyse is now making a more concentrated effort behind the open-source operating system, including creating a dedicated team of marketing and sales employees and engineering to focus on Linux, said Junaid Qurashi, product manager for Wyse Linux 3.2.

"Linux has really grown, and has become 20 percent of the worldwide thin-client marketplace," Qurashi said.

He said that numbers from International Data Corp. show that shipments of Linux-based thin-client devices grew by 43 percent in the fourth quarter 2003 over the same period a year earlier.

Customers are encouraged by Linuxs growing presence in the enterprise and its scalability, said Qurashi. In addition, while the initial investment in moving to a thin-client environment can be high, running Linux enables businesses to greatly reduce the licensing costs on the operating system, he said.

Wyses thin-client devices also run Microsoft Corp.s Windows NT Embedded and Windows XP Embedded and Wyses own Blazer operating system.

In a thin-client environment, the key features in a desktop—from the applications and operating system to memory and processors—are centrally housed in racks in the data center and linked to the keyboard, mouse and monitor on the employees desks. Proponents say that thin clients improve manageability and security by putting the guts of the computer in a single location.

For Wyse, such market numbers indicate good opportunities. Wyse Linux 3.2, offered in Wyses 5000 series of Winterm thin clients and tweaked for the embedded space, includes greater manageability through the companys Rapport software, better security for such environments as VPNs, and support for the Mozilla 1.6 open-source Web browser, Qurashi said.

The Java Runtime Engine 1.4, which had been optional on Wyses high-end systems, is now standard, he said.


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