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Technology / Software

IBM launches ‘Microsoft-free’ desktop

IBM has teamed up with virtual desktop software provider Virtual Bridges and Ubuntu vendor Canonical to offer a Linux-based virtual PC platform.

The platform is said to run on a backroom server and does not need Microsoft software, as the Windows operating system has been replaced by a Linux offering.

Traditional Microsoft Office software is replaced by a set of IBM office applications featuring open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication and social networking platforms based on Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus applications.

User data is stored centrally and can be accessed from any network-connected device. This means the user does not have to be tied to the office to access their data.

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Inna Kuznetsova, director, IBM Linux Strategy, told CBR that the low uptake of Vista in the workplace was one of the factors behind this announcement: “We hope to drive the perception that Linux is a viable option and a viable alternative for businesses. Embracing Linux reduces the reliance on one supplier, it really opens up the future for enterprises.”

She added that the company is hoping the recession will convince companies to switch to virtualised desktops. “With the current economic conditions, companies are looking to save money any way they can. Less power means spending less on your electricity bill,” she said. “You can save money on storage. It means you are not supporting what you do not need.”

IBM estimates that enterprises could potentially save up to $800 (£550) a year per user on software license costs, $258 (£177) per user on hardware upgrades, $40 (£27) to $145 (£99) per user on power savings and $20 (£13) to $73 (£50) per user from reduced air conditioning requirements as a result of running devices that are less power-hungry.

Kuznetsova added that the platform will not just be aimed at larger companies. “The money saved increases with the number of users a company has, but small savings at small companies are often more noticeable. So there are advantages for companies of all sizes,” she said.

Standard pricing starts at $49 per user for a 1,000 user deployment. IBM has said that additional volume discounts are available through Virtual Bridges.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.