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March 4, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

The Santa Cruz Operation Inc has expanded its product range in the retail market to include not just back-end server software, but also a cut-down client version of Santa Cruz Unix that runs on point-of-sale systems. The company also intends to launch a worldwide retail developer programme on April 1, and for UKP8,000, OEM customers, value-added resellers and systems integrators will receive support services, Santa Cruz Open Server Enterprise, an Open Server Development System, and a configuration tool kit that enables them to integrate the Santa Cruz Open Server systems and point-of-sale clients in a variety of configurations. The tool kit also includes five client licences free-of-charge. While Open Server needs too much memory – between 4Mb and 8Mb – to run on Intel Corp 80386 or 80486-based point-of-sale systems, the new client software has been stripped of some of its features, such as custom installation tools and access rights, so that it requires only 1.2Mb of memory – it still supports TCP/IP, diskless operation and network administration, however. But the firm does emphasise that it is not a pre-packaged ready-to-deploy operating system that offers customers a cheaper way of buying a two-user Santa Cruz Unix licence. The product will be sold solely to the retail market and needs to be customised for individual requirements: a user could be a newsagent with one point-of-sale system or an international company with branches and systems all over the world.

Back-end server market

Santa Cruz’s aim is to build on its current position in the back-end server market, of which market research firm Inteco Inc reckons that the Santa Cruz, Calfornia company has a 33% share the company claims it has sold 100,000 servers or 1m licences since it entered the market in late 1989, and reckons that many retailers that bought point-of-sale systems in the early 1980s to automate their businesses are now wanting to upgrade ageing kit. It is keen to tap into a market that is estimated to require 200,000 servers in Europe alone. It also hopes to provide retailers with a successor to current offerings, such as MS-DOS, which doesn’t have multi-tasking capabilities, to Digital Research Inc’s FlexOS, for which there are no applications, and to proprietary embedded operating systems that are notoriously difficult to integrate with back-end servers. Its new system is described as a multitasking, integrated environment, on which customers can develop applications with standard Santa Cruz tools – they only need add retail peripherals to their server. Santa Cruz says it currently generates approximately 13% of its total revenues from the retail market, and customers include Eckerd Corp, Dixons Group Plc, and Petrofina SpA.

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