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IT-Director: Linux – a big take off with Lawson convenience stores in Japan

Nov 06, 2000, 15:09 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gryphon)

"In the news at the moment is IBM's announcement of what it claimed to be the largest commercial use Linux so far. The project will provide 2 Linux based eServers in each of Lawson Inc.'s 7,600 stores. Lawson are a chain of "convenience" stores based in Japan. The new system will feed Windows based "Loppi" self service multi-media terminals. Customers will use these terminals to download music and video files, buy airline and concert tickets and perform other on-line tasks. As part of the deal IBM will also supply deployment / installation services and some application migration assistance."

"Does this announcement have any significance for the Linux world at large? Given that IBM vice president, John Callies, claims this to be the "largest Linux installation in the world" and that over 15,000 Linux servers are involved the answer is a big "Yes", or as they say in Japan, "Hai". This implementation simply demonstrates that Linux can be a feasible solution to real world business requirements. The applications here are very "web centred" and as such fit into an idealised Linux profile almost perfectly. At the same time IBM are providing a concrete example of their support for Linux in business, following on from their well documented public announcements of backing. To all intents and purposes this simply illustrates that "sensible" decisions can be made when it comes to platform choice. If you have a requirement that can be fulfilled by applications running on Linux and other Operating System platforms; if the solutions available can receive suitable support from a major supplier; then it becomes just a standard business choice. If it fits, use it. If it does not, use something else. As with all such choices, cost, application suitability and support must be the driving factors."

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