IBM to offer new point-of-sale OS from SUSE Linux

IBM to offer new point-of-sale OS from SUSE Linux

SUSE Linux AG and IBM are now offering SUSE's first-ever point-of-sale (POS) Linux operating system combined with IBM's retail services and support.

In a deal announced late last week, the operating system, called IBM Retail Environment for SUSE Linux, will include an operating system based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, along with other software needed by retailers. The POS operating system is designed to be compatible with IBM's SurePOS cash register machines, eServers and middleware to allow retailers to create a scalable, secure operating environment across their entire business, according to IBM.

The POS offering will be available in the first half of this year. Pricing hasn't yet been disclosed.

"Point of sale is the moment of truth in retailing, so retailers want to make sure they have the reliability and stability for which IBM is known in retail POS," said Tom Peterson, general manager of IBM Retail Store Solutions. "At the same time, retailers clearly are seeing the benefits of open-source Linux. This new IBM offering is designed to allow retailers to continue receiving the stability and reliability of IBM POS, along with the benefits of Linux."

Juergen Geck, chief technology officer at SUSE, said the deal is another example of SUSE's willingness to customise its products to reach different market segments. "It's really about getting our standard product components to a point where they can capture all these scenarios," Geck said.

The special version of SUSE Linux includes the easy-installation and centralised management and deployment capabilities needed in retail businesses that rely on POS systems to run critical sales and inventory functions, he said.

IBM spokesman Greg Thompson said SUSE's wide and established market share in Europe was a key strength in sealing the deal between the two companies, as IBM works to expand its 30-year POS presence around the world.

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