NZ firm puts Linux on desktops

Desktop Linux has made a small inroad into New Zealand business with the news that BGH Group is installing 67 Linux thin clients into offices around the country.

Craig Pope, BGH’s IT manager, says the engineering and distribution company started looking for new desktops for its Bay Engineers subsidiary after finding it difficult to replace the ASCII terminals in use. Linux was chosen because of the “huge” price difference compared to Windows, he says.

Some thin clients will be used as POS machines, Pope says. Others will run the KDE desktop software with the Evolution email and workgroup client, Mozilla browser and OpenOffice suite.

“It’s very good actually, easy to use,” says Pope, adding that migration was simplified by similarities with the Windows software previously used. “The training is taking some people 10 minutes.”

The thin clients also run financial and distribution software from Auckland company Quanta Solutions. Quanta’s sales and marketing director, Grant Lester, says choosing Linux made the price “very attractive” and each computer could be equipped with only the necessary software. “They wanted limited functionality for their users,” he says.

Quanta is also supplying the new systems, sourced from local Linux integrator Asterisk.

Pope says BGH, which is headquartered in the Bay of Plenty, started looking at thin clients in June and began the migration in July. The rollout should be finished by the end of the month, he says.

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