FRAMINGHAM (04/21/2000) - Maxspeed Corp. and Corel Corp. are teaming to offer a package that combines the administrative simplicity of thin clients with the reduced software costs of the Linux operating system.
Under an OEM agreement announced this past week, Corel will bundle its Corel Linux operating system and WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux with Maxspeed's desktop devices, which include thin clients, PC sharing devices and terminal-like desktops.
What's interesting about the Maxspeed-Corel combination is it lets users set up a single PC running the Corel Linux operating system that can be accessed by multiple thin clients.
Because thin clients require far less administration than PCs, the stations would be ideal for retailers or those with call centers that have multiple sites where end users are running a fixed number of applications. Those applications could be loaded on the PC and shared and maintained in a single location.
"If you take Corel Linux - which is easy to use and has lots of productivity interfaces that a lot of people are familiar with - customers can use the tools and not have to know what the operating system is," says Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with IDC, a market research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Kusnetzky points out that the combination of inexpensive and reliable hardware from Maxspeed and Corel will for some customers present an attractive alternative to PCs running Microsoft Windows.
But, he says, thin clients definitely are not the best answer for all users in a company. For users who need to tailor their systems' software, or run processor-intensive applications, the traditional desktop will still be the best choice.
For transaction-type applications, thin clients will be an important tool because they give users access to what they need and require very little maintenance. Also, software upgrades can be done on a single machine as opposed to hundreds, or even thousands, of clients. As point-of-sale machines and terminal replacements, these desktops could be a logical choice.
Familiar with Linux
The Maxspeed-Corel offering will be available later this spring, but it won't be the first foray into the Linux market for either company. Maxspeed announced in February it would support Red Hat Linux on its +One Station, which sells for about $149. The device allows an end user to connect to a PC and share its resources, essentially having two desktops use one PC. The +One Station connects to any Linux-based PC, using standard Category 5 cable. It also supports 3-D graphics. For its part, Corel was one of the first companies to tailor a major productivity application for the Linux market.
In addition to its +One Station, Maxspeed also has the Maxspeed Station, a thin-client device for use with a host PC, server or workstation, and the MaxTerm Universal Terminal, a desktop that has a 233-, or 366-MHz on-board processor for running applications locally.
Maxspeed: www.maxspeed.com; Corel: www.corel.com