Wyse unveils Linux thin client

Wyse Technology has released a new version of Linux for its thin client terminals, and a new terminal to run it.

Wyse Linux version 6 and the Winterm 5150SE are intended for what executives at the hardware company say is a burgeoning market for Linux-based thin desktops.

"Enterprise IT groups may want an alternative solution (to Microsoft operating systems)," says Michael DeNeffe, senior director for the Wyse Winterm business line. "Or they're mandated to use open source software. They may also need an operating system that's more secure than Windows XP and more recently, CE.Net and XP Embedded. Finally, there are the (open source) licensing savings."

DeNeffe cited IDC research that showed 20 percent of all thin clients run Linux.

Thin clients are small boxes, sometimes with a built-in display screen, that typically simply display applications that actually reside on servers. Simpler and with fewer parts than conventional PCs, thin clients shift application deployment and support from hundreds or even thousands of PCs to a much smaller group of servers. Thin clients typically run compact operating systems, such as XP Embedded or Windows CE, and now Linux variations.

Wyse Linux version 6 is based on the most recent Linux BSD kernel, version 2.6.5. DeNeffe says Wyse will be the first to ship an operating systems based on this release. The new flavor by Wyse is more modular in design, so customers can select all or part of the operating system's components, depending on the features they need.

Version 6 also supports the open source Mozilla browser for the first time, as a downloadable option. The standard Wyse browser is Netscape.

The new operating system also supports Independent Computing Architecture 8, the latest version of the widely used Citrix Systems Inc. protocol for displaying server-based applications.

The new WinTerm 5150SE is the first Wyse product to use the Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Geode GX533 processor. The new Geode works with double data rate RAM, memory that can run at 133 MHz instead of 100 MHz.

Also new are two USB 2.0 ports, along with two serial ports for connecting to legacy devices such as cash registers. Thirty-two megabytes of Flash RAM run the Linux version 6 and local applications. The device comes with 128M bytes of standard RAM.

The 5150SE is available now, priced at US$399, not including a video display.

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John Cox

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