Sherwin-Williams adopts Linux

Sherwin-Williams is deploying IBM PCs running the Turbolinux operating system to replace SCO Unix-equipped systems throughout its...

Sherwin-Williams is deploying IBM PCs running the Turbolinux operating system to replace SCO Unix-equipped systems throughout its 2,500 stores across North America.

In an announcement last week, the paint manufacturer and retailer said it is moving to Linux and IBM to upgrade its point-of-sale and in-store operations, while minimising its transition costs from established Unix systems.

Under the multimillion-dollar deal, IBM will install about 9,700 of its M41 NetVista desktops, along with monitors, printers, cash drawers and related products, in Sherwin-Williams' stores, said Peter Neilsen, a Linux executive at IBM Global Services.

The Turbolinux-equipped systems will run all store functions, including customer transactions, inventory and software applications used for paint mixing and tinting. One PC will be configured as an in-store server at each location.

Bill Thompson, director of IT at Sherwin-Williams' Paint Stores Group, said that the new systems will allow an easy transition from The Santa Cruz Operation's (SCO) Unix systems.

Blake Stowell, a Caldera spokesman, said the company is disappointed about losing Sherwin-Williams' Unix business. However, he said the paint company remains a customer and "hasn't closed the door on Caldera".

Sherwin-Williams and Caldera are engaged in talks about using Caldera's Volution management application within the new systems being deployed, he said.

Sherwin-Williams' IT staff designed and developed the systems and has ported the company's proprietary applications to Linux from Unix. The company's IT staff will work with 500 to 1,000 IBM Global Services employees who will assist in the deployment, which will begin in July and be completed in the second quarter of 2003.

Jonathan Eunice, an analyst at Illuminata, said the deal is important because it shows "the mainstreaming of Linux" inside a large retail operation.

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