New York, N.Y. — International Business Machines Corp. said on that a leading Japanese convenience store chain will install more than 15,000 IBM computers running Linux to allow for Web access in stores, in the largest commercial use of the alternative operating system to date. “This is the largest commercial Linux rollout ever,” said IBM vice president of marketing John Callies.
Convenience store chain Lawson Inc. will have two IBM eServer xSeries server computers at each store to provide information from the Web and communications satellites. Customers will be able to download music, movies and other Web multimedia at Lawson’s more than 7,500 stores.
The Linux operating system, which is freely available to programmers, is considered to be a distant threat to the Windows operating system sold by Microsoft Corp.
According to market forecasts released by market research firm International Data Corp. earlier this week, shipments of the Linux operating system are expected to jump 144.4 percent to 41,200 units in Japan this year.
This 2.4-fold increase would give Linux a 7.8 percent share of the overall server operating system market in 2000, compared to a 4.0 percent share the previous year, IDC Japan said.
Windows NT shipments are expected to decline 5.1 percent to 323,600 units, while shipments of Windows 2000, which just debuted in February, are forecast to total 97,100 units.
In terms of Japanese market share, Windows NT is expected to hold 60.9 percent, compared with 81.3 percent last year. Windows 2000 is expected to hold another 18.3 percent of the market, IDC said.