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26 September 2001

Uniterm Electronic Design and Manufacture, said to be the only South African computer terminal manufacturer, is set to launch its second Thin Client into the IT circuit.

According to the company, the new Uniterm Linux-powered Thin Client was designed and introduced to stem competition from products manufactured in the East. For the past decade, all of Uniterm's intellectual property has been Unix-based. Its first generation Thin Client product developed four years ago made use of a highly professional flavour of Unix which was not open source (free Unix).

Further enhancements have also been implemented in the design of the flash disk. The traditional disk-on-chip technology found in most other brand Thin Client products has been superceded by advanced embedded Linux technology and a Uniterm-based resident flash array. This flash array is available in sizes from 8 to 128 Mbps. Uniterm says that Linux users can now also easily embed any Linux application directly into this platform making it an especially attractive option for point-of-sale users and other organisations. Because of the obvious cost advantages, Linux is fast becoming the world choice in modern computing.

The advantages of Thin Client computing are only just being realised. Considering the costs to maintain and run PCs, termed Fat Clients, the Thin Client reduces the cost of desktop administration, standardises the desktop, reduces time-to-market and eliminates the need for upgrading PC hardware. Added benefits are enhanced network and data security and the client is completely immune to viruses. The user can run any Windows-based application using NT servers running Citrix ICA or RDP in WAN or LAN environments. The company's newly launched Tarantella client software supports web-enabled applications delivered by Windows, Linux, Unix and IBM's OS400, HTML and Java, adding software muscle by making it easier to deliver server-based applications to a variety of client devices.

Uniterm says that it launched its first Thin Client, the Easinet, four years ago in a hesitant market, not yet sure of the benefits of Thin Client computing. The Easinet features embedded QNX and is operating successfully in a number of organisations in South Africa. Angelo Borros, CEO of Uniterm, says: "At last enterprises are beginning to realise the advantages of Thin Client technology. We aim to give our customers an immediate cost benefit at the time of purchase. Up until now the customer has been told that the total cost of ownership over a period of a few years would be an effective cost-saving. We now realise the cost-saving should be immediate."

Being 'home-grown', Uniterm claims to be in a favourable position to provide the best prices in South Africa and direct technical service if desired. Uniterm is not dependent on lengthy and timeous negotiations regarding import costs and says that product is available when and where one needs.

Uniterm has recently formed a division within the company called Uniterm Direct where customers can have access to information, service and ordering facilities by phone or on-line. Uniterm's energetic Sales Director, Malcolm Mackay, states:"Because Uniterm is a design and manufacture company it is only natural that customers seek technical assistance and information regarding sales and aftercare service. We aim to provide a total commitment to our customers and provide them with day and night access to any information they would deem necessary.